Better Windows security keeps Apple safer: Gartner

Research group Gartner has said that Mac OS X users are now safer from a mass attack -- such as Blaster on Windows -- than they were two years ago, partly because Microsoft has closed so many holes in its ubiquitous platform.

Apple Mac users, who seem to be virtually immune from viruses, should still take care when installing software or applications from untrusted sources, according to Gartner.

In March 2005, in a report titled "Don't Assume Your Macs Are Immune to Security Flaws", Gartner vice president and research fellow Martin Reynolds warned businesses reliant on Mac systems to beware of "spyware infestations" and highlighted the potential of a hybrid virus that would attack both OS X and Windows.

On Friday, Reynolds said that 18 months on from his original prediction -- although OS X was far less likely to be the target of a hybrid worm -- Mac users were still vulnerable to keyloggers and other forms of spyware.

"Two years ago, a hybrid worm would have been a huge threat -- but the worm writers aren't that smart. With Windows largely closed up, mass attacks have stopped," he told ZDNet Australia in an e-mail interview.

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