I'm sure by now you'll have seen those "Hello, I'm a PC/Hello, I'm a Mac" adverts out there and if their wildly inaccurate generalisations do your brain in as much as they do mine you'll also raise a smile at Symantec's latest findings...
Windows is more secure than Mac OS X, that's the nub of it. How does the Norton Antivirus coder come to such a surprising conclusion? By cold hard stats.
Its '11th Internet Security Threat Report' explains that during the second half of 2006 Windows was found to have 39 vulnerabilities which took the Redmond giant an average of 21 days to patch. By contrast Apple's OS X was troubled by 43 vulnerabilities and it took Job's lot a massive 66 days on average to sort them out.
_damned_lies _and_statistics Being lies damned lies and statistics naturally these figures can also be made to read a different way. When approached from a potential danger perspective Symantec admits 12 of Windows 39 vulnerabilities it classified as either 'High Priority' or 'Severe' whereas just one of Mac OS X's 43 vulnerabilities was High Priority.
That said, this still makes for interesting reading since given Symantec's notorious distaste for Microsoft it can hardly be accused of bias. In addition these figures are remarkably close considering Microsoft's dominance of the personal computing space (Windows still runs around 95 per cent of the world's computers) and particularly in business where hackers concentrate their efforts...
I can only suggest Steve Jobs consider a new advert:
"Hello, I'm a Mac. I'm no more secure than a PC and if I'm truthful about it I have no decent gaming hardware but that doesn't matter because no one writes titles for me. Still, I'm wonderful if you're a professional composer or art designer. You'll pay a hefty price premium of course but did I mention I look great?"
It may not be the catchiest promotion ever Steve, but at least it's honest.
Update: Seems I'm not the only one losing patience with the Mac ads ;)
Symantec 11th Security Threat Report (Caution PDF link)