28% of CIOs still believe Mac OS X is more secure than Windows

With Macs encroaching on PC’s hold in the enterprise market (US$25 billion annually and growing, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook), Avecto, a security software firm, has released new research showing that a little more than one in four American CIOs [chief information officers] believe that Mac computers are more secure than Windows PCs.

The rise in high-profile malware attacks is damaging CIOs’ confidence in Mac security, according to Paul Kenyon, vice president at Avecto. Following the detection of WireLurker last year, a type of malware that infects OS X computers, 40% of CIOs say they now have less confidence in Mac security.

However, the perception that Macs are fundamentally safer than Windows computers was also revealed in the research, with 28% still believing OS X is simply "more" than Windows, Kenyon adds.  Avecto questioned 100 CIOs at companies with over 1,000 employees and from a range of industries about their Mac estate and associated security strategies.

"For too long there has been a false belief and a naivety that Macs are inherently securer than Windows PCs," says Kenyon. "But either way organizations must view them like any other device: an endpoint that can be exploited.”

Irrespective of whether opinions are changing, Macs have established a significant footprint within the enterprise. Only 21 percent of companies now say they have no Macs in the business at all. The Apple footprint is growing too, with 36 percent of CIOs claiming that the number of Macs running within their business has increased over the last year.

"As Macs become commonplace in business, they will be increasingly targeted by cyber criminals as a way in," says Kenyon. "Often, Macs are treated as an accepted risk and simply managed outside of corporate policies. It’s no longer possible to ignore this growing risk or wait until a breach forces your hand. There needs to be concerted effort from IT leaders to gain control of their Macs and ensure they are secure, while still offering the user experience that makes them such a popular choice."

He will be hosting a live webinar on Oct. 15 entitled “Why are Macs a hacker’s dream?”