"Bad data is worse than no data as it induces one to proceed in the wrong direction with a false sense of confidence." Unknown
The last few days I have been involved in some spirited debate with regard to the new iPad. People who have them are generally "in love" with the device. People who write techonolgy reviews for a living, not so much. The inability to multi-task, absence of support for Flash (sorry, no Farmville on your iPad), no USB port or camera for video conference are the common complaints that render the iPad little more than a beautiful and expensive gizmo to show off and establish your status as someone "cool".
Of course this has once again stirred the MAC vs. PC debate. The battle cry of MacNoids everywhere (other than "it's so easy to use") is "I love my Mac because I don't have to worry about Viruses and spyware like on a PC".
I was browsing Facebook today when I came across the gem at the top of this post. There is an antecedent to that maxim, penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, and placed on the lips of Sherlock Holmes:
"It is a capital offense to form theories before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts."
Now I'm not here to suggest you should NOT own a MAC, nor am I suggesting one platform is superior to the other (MAC vs PC). What anyone contemplating the purchase of an Apple product NEEDS to know is the data you may have read or heard that "MAC is more secure than PC" is BAD data and you would do well to proceed with caution on BOTH platforms. As the MAC footprint grows, so too do the threats and malware targeting OSX.
I repaired two PC's in the past week that were poorly maintained and severely compromised with rogue security software. Some might say this is proof the PC is less secure. That's called "twisting the facts to suit the theory". In each case the problem was not the PC (the hardware), it was not the operating system. The problem was a combination of exposing the system to known dangerous parts of the Internet (P2P networks and torrents) while failing to run regularly updated security software from a reputable provider, failure to properly update the operating system against known vulnerabilities, and failure to recognize social engineering at it's finest (fake security pop ups previously discussed on this site). Of course all three contributing factors are the responsibility of the User or Owner of the computer, but taking personal responsibility is not popular or in fashion with so many people. Easier to blame it on that pesky Bill Gates! If not for the failures noted, there would have been no repairs necessary.
As I have stated before, anyone who will fall for a phishing scheme, or who can be tricked into installing rogue security software, can be tricked regardless of their preferred computing platform. New vulnerabilites in OSX, Windows, and Linux are discovered every day.
The moral of the story? Don't proceed towards Macintosh with a false sense of security based on the "data" you've read or heard... proceed with an abundance of caution every single time you sit down to see what your Facebook and Myspace friends are up to, irrespective of your preferred computing platform! YOU are resonsible for the health and protection of your computer, not Steve Jobs, not Steve Ballmer, not Linus Torvalds.