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Analyst's Prescription For Security Ills: "Get A Mac"

A 29 percent increase in a tally of malicious code motivated a security vendor Wednesday to recommend home computer users head to Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac to avoid attack.

In its semi-annual report on the state of the security landscape, U.K.-based Sophos noted that the total number of pieces of malware detected by its anti-virus software jumped to 180,292 by the end of June 2006 from 140,118 the same time last year. The vast bulk of them target Windows-based computers. That, and a dramatic increase in the ratio of Trojan horses to other malicious code, gave the company's analysts advisory ammunition.

"You have to wonder if you're not knocking your head against a wall" using Windows, said Ron O'Brien, a senior security consultant with Sophos.

Macs aren't immune to vulnerabilities, he added, but exploits continue to be rare against Apple's operating system. Even the February disclosure of the first-even "zero-day" flaw in Mac OS X wasn't enough to galvanize hackers.

"It's a matter of hackers being behind the curve on the Mac," said O'Brien. "The storm of 'iViruses' targeting Macs never materialized, and for the time being it seems Mac can still safely say it's a safe alternative for computer users."

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