CEO Of Anti-Virus Company Claims Apple Is Ten Years Behind Microsoft
April 27, 2012

CEO Of Anti-Virus Company Claims Apple Is Ten Years Behind Microsoft

Michael Harper for

The recent news of the Flashback trojan which is infecting an undetermined number of Macs all over the world is causing some security experts and anti-virus makers to question the Mac´s security systems.

In a click-worthy and eye-catching headline, the Computer Business Review quotes CEO Eugene Kaspersky, of his namesake Anti-Virus software company, as saying Apple is “10 years” behind Microsoft on security. According to Kaspersky, “I think they (Apple) are ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security. For many years I´ve been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows.”

Kaspersky says Macs are a new target for security threats now that they have a larger market share. He says his company has already seen an increase of Mac targeted malware.

“Cyber criminals have now recognized that Mac is an interesting area. Now we have more, it´s not just Flashback or Flashfake. Welcome to Microsoft´s world, Mac. It´s full of malware,” said Kaspersky in the interview.

Kaspersky says Microsoft´s sheer experience is what gives them the edge on all things security, and if Apple wants to excel when it comes to these matters, they should look no further than their neighbors to the north.

“They will understand very soon that they have the same problems Microsoft had ten or 12 years ago. They will have to make changes in terms of the cycle of updates and so on and will be forced to invest more into their security audits for the software.”

Kaspersky isn´t completely off-base in his claims. Microsoft has learned plenty of lessons when it comes to protecting their computers from security threats. Their XP operating system was famously riddled with high-profile security attacks, which spurred Microsoft to issue a Service Pack 2 update with intensive security patches. In fact, some believe the company was so focused on these security updates that development on their next operating system was dramatically slowed. That operating system was the infamous Vista.

Though notoriously tight-lipped, Apple hasn´t been ignoring these recent threats or letting their security go by the wayside. When they announced plans for their new operating system, Mountain Lion, Apple introduced a new security feature called “Gatekeeper.” By default, Gatekeeper will restrict any and all apps from running unless they were purchased in the sterile and tightly-maintained sandbox of the Mac App Store. More advanced and advantageous users can flip this switch off, enabling all apps to run, but it is clear this new security feature is built with the intention to restrict any malware from running on Macs.

It´s also important to remember Kaspersky earns a living by selling anti-virus software, and claims such as his “ten year” statement could only be good for business, should they be true.

Apple should always take care to protect their machines and their users from malicious software, but the claim their security efforts are on par with those from 2002 ignores the efforts Apple has already taken to right the situation.