Monday, March 13, 2006

Yet Another Love Letter To My PowerBook

Still more news about an end to the Macintosh’s viral invulnerability. Nothing new just a rehash of the oompa loompa threat and a contest rigged to make the Macintosh look like a hackers paradise. The result of the contest was quickly refuted. Apple has nothing to worry about, the reputation for the Macintosh is still bullet proof. It's not that the Mac is so much better then the PC it's that the PC is by nature very unstable. Writing the operating system for any bios, processor, mother board and hardware combination from multiple vendors leaves many more avenues for exploit then an OS written specifically for one hardware vendor. This isn't to say the Mac is bullet proof just that there are fewer threads to tug at. Granted that it may only take one thread for the whole shirt to fall off but again the Macintosh is built from ground up to a higher standard then a commodity PC. The difference is like comparing basting glue to overlocked threads at the hem. It's like comparing a shack with a 5 button Simplex lock on the screen door to a bank vault. It’s like comparing steel exterior security doors to thin paneled interior doors reinforced slightly with plywood.

Sure hacking or more correctly put ‘cracking’ is a recent problem. It’s like petty thievery, it’s become a crime that probably won’t ever go away. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more at stake then just one person’s lawnmower and some trimmers. One attack affects thousands of computers and collectively, each year billions of dollars are lost to these electronic thugs. Clearly the punishment should fit the degree of damage. Unfortunately writing virii for the PC is like breaking into a shack, trivial. Children do it for kicks. Law enforcement sees it as a nuisance due to the frequency and ease. Breaking into a bank vault takes much more skill and forethought. There is premeditation and planning when breaking into a bank vault. If a thief steals a $100 weed wacker from a tool shed or $100 from a bank vault you can bet that the police will be looking for the safe cracker not the person who tried 123, 124, 125, 134, 135... for 20 minutes.

That's the real problem here. Until the PC is more secure it won't matter what lock you buy. No one takes it seriously for security. That's why the Mac is gaining popularity as a target. It's exactly that challenge that now makes Apple 'fun' for malicious hackers. However, I still trust my PowerBook more then I ever trusted a Dell, Compaq or eMachine even with Symantec Antivirus. There are fewer threads to pull, fewer places to drill and pop the tumbler. It will take more then a screwdriver to pull the pins off the door hinge.

The day will come that a virus does hit the Mac with a vengeance. Apple will address the problem. It will be very interesting to see the difference in how Apple handles hacking when compared to Microsoft. Maybe then law enforcement will see the problem for more then just a joy ride on someones computer but as a targeted planned attack.

In the mean time, it’s not the virus and popup problem that drove me away from the PC. It was constantly getting the blue screen of death. I got sick of DLL Hell and that problem is squarely Microsoft’s fault. One that Apple has avoided. Fewer threads to pull.


Blogger RicketyFunk said...

So this is probably not directed at me or my recent computer turmoil at work but "Shit, Luther!"

You said it man...

I' about ready to throw lots of money down on a G5 for my home recording projects too.

Mar 14, 2006, 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

I started out with a ZX81 then a Commodore 64, Apple II+, MacSE, PowerBook something or other... I forget... it was gray and had a trackball. Then a Performa 6200 that Apple upgraded to 6300 motherboard after 2 years because there was a class action threat over bad chipsets. Salem State forced me to go to Windows 6 years ago and I hated it. I now use a PowerBook G4 12". It's small but bulletproof. I'm a happy man again.

Mar 14, 2006, 7:35:00 PM  

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