Straight Talk on Mac Security Risks

Are Macs impervious to malicious software? No. Have Macs been the subject of catastrophic attacks? No again. Should Mac users be vigilant anyway? Of course.

It's time for me to fess up: I've been as complacent as most Mac users when it comes to taking precautions to safeguard my data and the integrity of my system. Although my Windows PC is swaddled in antivirus, anti-spyware, and firewall software, my Mac has been fairly undefended, up to now. I just haven't felt much urgency to put up barriers against threats that don't seem to exist.

But at Macworld Expo last month, I stopped by the booths of several security software vendors and began to wonder if they are pushing products people don't need, or if they know something I don't. After all, Mac users are just as vulnerable as anyone to the social engineering used by many computer exploits to install themselves. (While Mac fanatics will insist that they're more sophisticated than the Wintel rabble, there are plenty of innocents in Apple-land as well.)

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