Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exposing the Soft Underbelly of Cyber Security

Once upon a time there was a computer and electronic communication market that was dominated by Microsoft. The Apple Mac was an obscure specialty item, a computer for people who liked foreign films and lived on the coasts. It was of little concern to the erstwhile computer hacker out there trying to inflict maximum damage to the computer user community as a whole.

As a result over they years, Apple has earned a reputation as being a safe computer to use. Consequently many Apple users employ almost nothing in the way of security or anti-virus software. And that's a problem. Because as Bob Dylan once said, "the times they are a changing."

The advent of the iPhone and the iPad has turned Apple into a major player. A very major player at that! On the current market, Apple is worth more than Microsoft. And just as iPads and iPhones have become the most sought after electronic accessories of the last couple years, Apple Computers have also taken a dent out of the PC market share. All of this has got hackers taking notice.

In World War II the British thought by invading Italy the could penetrate the "soft underbelly of Europe," on their way to taking back the continent from the fascists. They were wrong. However today hackers could very correctly identify Apple Computers as the soft underbelly of cyber security.

Most Mac and Apple users remain blissfully unaware of what could be and probably already is, a gathering security threat. But can you blame them? After all, Apple makes no mention of security whatsoever on the websites for either the iPad or the iPhone.

Ironically it is Apple's recent successes that have made its user base vulnerable. The company now seems to find itself facing the difficult choice of either educating its customers and initiating steps to combat increased security threats, or doing nothing but sitting back and resting on its disappearing myth of invulnerability to cyber attacks. In other words, ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.

There has already been one high profile iPad hack this summer. Certainly more are on the way. If Apple wants to prevent any serious outbreaks of malware and adware infections from affecting their users, it would be wise to act sooner rather than later. Because in today's hyper-security conscious computer world, it's fair to consider the Mac a soft target.

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