Every now and again we’re treated to a headline that claims OS X or iOS are at the top of the list for reported vulnerabilities. That might scare some people to believe that Macs, iPhones, and iPads are just like their Windows and Android cousins (distant cousins, second class, once removed, non-kissing variety).
As is often the case, reality isn’t in the headlines. Public malware for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad can be counted on the fingers of your hands and likely with uncounted fingers left over. Of the thousands of malware episodes in the computer industry, almost all of them belong to Windows or Android devices.
In simple terms, that means Windows PC users and Android device owners have far more security issues than Apple’s customers. Multiple orders of magnitude more. So, why do people still buy Windows PCs or Android smartphones and tablets? Don’t those people care about their security?
This disparity may have something to do with customers everywhere turning a deaf ear to the news headlines and the consequences of owning and using an insecure device. Here’s an example from Arjun Kharpal of CNBC.
The headline reads ‘5 Billion Android Apps Open To Hack.’ That sounds serious.
Some 96 percent of malware — or malicious software — employed by hackers target Google Android, according to U.S. firm FireEye, which analysed more than 7 million mobile apps on Android and Apple iOS between January and October 2014.
Wait a minute. Google Play app store and Apple’s iOS App Store– combined– have about 2.5-million apps, so where does the ‘7-million mobile apps‘ number come from? Who knows? Maybe out of the billions of apps downloaded, all they could track was 7-million. But it’s like the U.S. national debt; a number so high that it makes no sense to the average person so they pay little attention to the consequences.
Therein lies the rub. Consequences are nominal until something bad happens to you while using your Android smartphone or tablet or a Windows PC. And chances are good that whatever happens to you during a hack or security breach you won’t even find out about it.
It’s insecurity through obscurity.
Apple’s customers know the company has more secure platforms than Windows or Android and that enters into the decision to spend a little more money for a Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Non-Apple customers may know their devices are less secure, but don’t worry about it because the impact is more likely indirect, rather than a direct and obvious assault on their personal security and privacy.
In other words, if you can’t see it and feel it, did it really happen?