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Why Apple Needs to Focus on Security

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Apple (AAPL) computers were long thought to be the bastion of a secure computer. That is, until this past April when 650,000 Macs were infected with the Flashback Trojan virus. Now, the coolest computer company in the world is feeling a little vulnerable.

Hackers found a flaw in Java that was patched, but Apple had originally held off on releasing the patch for its computers. It has changed this policy and are now updating Java the same day as its maker, Oracle (ORCL). Of course, it only offered an update that fixed 11 out of 14 vulnerabilities.

Microsoft (MSFT) has had security issues in the past and will likely keep having them, but that’s what makes it good at dealing with these problems. It works closely with security and anti-virus companies to deal with these issues.

Apple has very little experience in this regard and found its guard down. Its sandboxing feature restricts an application’s access to OS services, which has served users well for a long time. But, the feature isn’t airtight.

The security company Sophos released a study that found for every Mac user that downloaded their antivirus software, one in five of those users had malware.

Apple’s security was never in question when it had a minuscule market compared to Windows-based systems. But as Macs continue to grow in popularity, so does its vulnerability.

Even its marketing has changed in the wake of the Flashback attack. The Apple website no longer contains the old line about Apple computers not getting viruses, a mainstay of their “Why you’ll love a Mac” section.

If Apple’s security were to be compromised again, that would cause serious havoc on the sales and further damage their reputation. The secretive approach will no longer serve Apple and its products. It will now have to work with outside companies to secure itself and its products. In this case, tight lips sink ships.

Mountain Lion, Apple’s upcoming OS for Macs, is set to ship in July.

(See also: iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)
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