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According to Leo Laporte (on the podcast Security Now), Mac users are now targeted by malware because most of the larger base of Windows users use security software.

Here is the exact quote:

LEO: No. And the numbers game is that, as Windows users get more sophisticated, and 80 percent of Windows users now run security software, that 20 percent remaining is roughly equal to the penetration of the Mac in the marketplace. So now the Mac is at parity in terms of insecured users, unsecured users, so of course it's going to attack. I mean, it's actually, you could just watch that number as it went up to 70 percent, which is now roughly equal to 20 percent unsecured Windows users. Okay, I guess it's worth the effort.

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    This question needs to be a whole lot more specific. Define 'without security'. Total Apple users or Apple users 'without security'? Windows does not come with an antivirus, but will in Windows 8. – fredley Nov 25 '11 at 11:12
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    How could I rephrase it ? – Manu Nov 25 '11 at 11:27
  • "Without updates" is another factor that shouldn't be overlooked. I've found that some users disable this feature (resulting in security updates not being downloaded and installed) because the constant pop-up messages drive them crazy. – Randolf Richardson Nov 25 '11 at 11:28
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    The quote isn't a paragon of clarity, but I can see that's not Manu's fault. I've re-opened it, but I echo Fabian's concerns. If you are going to answer it, please clearly state your interpretation of "unsecured users" and/or "security software." e.g. Firewalls? Virus Scanners? Microsoft Update? Not running as administrator? Similarly, for market penetration, explain which markets. (Servers and laptops have different market players.) – Oddthinking Nov 25 '11 at 13:57
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    Without security software isn't such a big deal if you aren't a total dolt about how you operate your computer. I run security software on my PC, but not once in the last 3-4 years has it detected anything. Stop downloading/visiting such shady sites, and you probably won't have any problems with viruses. – Kibbee Nov 25 '11 at 19:39
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Assuming percentage of "unsecured" users from the quote are correct, Leo Laporte is basically saying that 50% of OS X users = 20% of Windows users.

Based on Gartner's data, current global market share Windows is 94%, while that of OS X is 4.5%.

Taking Leo Laporte's "unsecured" percentages, "unsecured" OS X users are 2.25% of total, while "unsecured" Windows users are 19% of total. Claim that these numbers are equal is beyond ridiculous.


This is based on market share, which are new sales, while one would be more interested in installed user base. In which case you'd have to take two things in account: firstly OS X market share used to be lower, thus installed base is likely to be also lower than current market share. Secondly there is significant piracy in case of Windows, non-existent in case of OS X, as later only runs on Apple computers. Thus real life difference would probably be even bigger. However, there aren't ways to measure installed base which would be reliable enough.

  • Actually you would also have to take into account how long users stick with their computers. If apple users keep their systems a lot longer than windows users then apple will have a larger share of the installed base than steady-state sales would suggest. And there are some ways to measure installed base if the computers are internet-connected. – matt_black Jul 10 '12 at 23:19
  • @matt_black: given that MS supports it systems for 10 years, while Apple only supports theirs for 5 years or less, that wouldn't look better for Apple either. – vartec Jul 11 '12 at 10:46
  • but the average apple user keeps his hardware much longer than the average windows user. – matt_black Jul 11 '12 at 10:49
  • @matt_black: I wouldn't be so sure, especially given how Apple doesn't give a damn about backwards compatibility. Meanwhile there is still significant number of computers with XP out there. Keep in mind, that there lot of corporate Windows users, why there rather few corporate Mac users. – vartec Jul 11 '12 at 10:52
  • anti-apple prejudice isn't usually based on knowledge just unthinking dislike. Apple not caring about backwards compatibility is the flip side of moving faster technologically (which benefits users) and it isn't as true as you might think anyway since Apple have managed major feats of compatibility while upgrading CPUs and the OS. Plus people choose Macs, IT departments choose PCs. And, relevant to the original question, people don't junk their old kit as fast as IT departments. – matt_black Jul 11 '12 at 11:34

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