Why is a Mac More Secure Than a Windows PC?
If most Mac owners don't use an Anti-Virus, why do they have fewer viruses?
Billions of dollars are spent each year on Anti-Viruses and other Internet Security programs, yet almost none of it is from Apple Mac owners. Based on that, you might think that Macs would be less secure, but that's not the case. Even without anti-virus software, they rarely have to deal with viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, trojans, and all sorts of nasty security problems.
While I can name quite a few reasons, there is one particular feature of a Mac that stands out above every other reason. There is a built-in feature in Apple's MacOS that specifically prevents you from installing programs from unknown publishers. Here's how it works.
When you buy a new Mac, the default setting in the system preferences ONLY allows you to install Apps that come from the Apple Mac App Store. Since every App in the Mac App Store needs to be approved by Apple before it is included in the store, you are guaranteed that you will NEVER get a virus from an Apple approved App. This is the same reason why iPhones and iPads don't require an Anti-Virus. By adopting strict standards to the App Store, they effectively eliminate the biggest cause of viruses... installing Apps from untrusted sources.
Since some publishers choose not to put their Apps in the Mac App Store, Apple gives owners a second option, which also allows you to install Apps outside the App Store, as long as they are from a "Trusted Publisher", which is a list of Apple Approved publishers like Adobe, Microsoft, Intuit, FireFox, Google, etc.
Technically, there's also a way to install Apps from an untrusted publisher, but it's not easy, and that' the point.
Some people consider Apple's approach a bit heavy handed, because its harder for independent companies to sell Apps outside the App Store, it definitely makes the Mac more secure, and I wish Microsoft would adopt the same standards for Windows.
Joe Crescenzi, Founder
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