Will Steve Jobs' Death Force Apple to Face Security Issues?
Steve Jobs' death yesterday (Oct. 5) was shocking but not surprising, as the Apple founder had been battling cancer for years.
The man was visionary and brilliant, and the personal computer industry would not have been so successful without the original Macintosh and the iMac.
But one man's stubbornness and single-mindedness can affect a company, and so it was with Jobs' refusal to admit that Macs needed security software.
Some of the earliest viruses were written for the Macintosh, yet it wasn't until Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard that Apple began incorporating anti-virus protection into its operating system. Apple's iOS has been on tens of millions of iPhones since 2007, yet it wasn't until this summer that Apple deigned to let an anti-virus software app into the iTunes App Store.
Even today, most Mac OS X and iOS users don't think they need anti-virus protection, and Jobs did nothing to dissuade them of that view.After all, perfect machines are invulnerable, or so many of the Apple faithful believe.
But Mac OS X's slowly building market share has made it a more attractive target for malware writers — three serious Trojans have attacked Macs in the past six months — and the huge base of iOS users is also ripe for the picking.
Anti-virus software makers have been producing Mac software for years but have found few takers, even though Apple sells some of it online (though buried deep in the "utilities" section), and rumors say Apple requires security software on its own machines at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
To be fair, iOS is designed to be tough for hackers to crack, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion was praised for its security-minded design when it came out earlier this year, though deep flaws have since emerged.
Here's hoping the new regime under new Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out and admits Apple's dirty little secret: Macs, iPhones and iPads are vulnerable to security threats too, and deserve anti-malware protection just as much as any other operating system.