When it comes to the Windows vs. Apple debate, you’ll usually hear about cost comparisons, features, software and user-friendliness. However, in today’s age of growing identity theft, fraud, ransomware and other malwares, cyber security should be an important consideration when choosing a new computer or laptop. If you are in the market for a new computer, or looking to upgrade your current system, here are some differences between Mac computers and Windows-based PCs.
1. Exposure to Malware
When it comes to malware, Mac computers are less likely to be exposed than Windows computers simply because they make up a smaller portion of the market. Windows comprise about 90 percent of the world’s computers, so they’re a much bigger target for malware developers. This doesn’t mean they are built with any less security than Mac computers — according to Info Security Magazine, “There’s nothing inherent in how OS X is built that makes it much more resistant to viruses.” Rather, Windows are at a higher risk of hacker attack — upwards of a million new threats each day by some estimates — because malware developers are looking to target as many machines as possible.
2. Antivirus Protection
If malware makes its way onto your Windows computer, you may be able to stop it using Microsoft’s built-in antivirus software, Windows Defender. Mac computers don’t come with antivirus software already installed, so if you happen to catch a virus before you can install it yourself, your information may be compromised. However, this doesn’t mean your Mac is less able to defend against a virus once you have the proper software set up.
3. Software Blocking
Macs may not come with antivirus protection, but they do have another way of keeping malicious programs off your computer: Gatekeeper. This is a utility built into the operating system that automatically blocks software from being installed that does not come from an approved developer. Allowed software contains a digital signature that your computer detects before allowing it to install. This same signature also prevents the software from being modified. Windows users have access to a similar utility, called Device Guard, however this is designed for a trained administrator on a computer network.
If someone steals your computer or removes a drive and the disk isn’t encrypted, your files are vulnerable. Mac computers have full disk encryption through the FileVault app. Windows 10 has a similar app called BitLocker, but the Pro edition is needed to enable all of its features. BitLocker isn’t available on Windows 10 Home edition, either.
5. Login Security
Unlike the latest iPhones, which allow you to open the devices with a fingerprint scan, Apple has not integrated any biometric technology into its computers. Microsoft, on the other hand, does have this option. Provided that you have the required hardware, Windows Hello gives you the ability to login using a fingerprint scanner or a webcam instead of a typed password.
Before You Buy
While Apple and Microsoft take different approaches to computer security, both companies regularly update their operating systems to help ensure their computers are safe to use. Regardless of which you decide to buy, here are some ways to ensure your computer is as secure as possible:
- Don’t disable automatic operating system updates. These often contain vital security patches.
- Use secure passwords containing a mixture of upper case and lower case letters and numbers. The longer your password is, the harder it is to crack.
- Never use the same password twice.
- Never click on links in emails or messages from people that you don’t know, or that you aren’t expecting.