Hacker: Microsoft More Secure Than Apple, Adobe

Marc Maiffret got into hacking not long after he got his first computer as a schoolboy, and by age 17, he was a known hacker who was greeted one morning by an FBI agent who held a gun to his face.

Since then, Maiffret turned his life around and helped to co-found eEye Digital Security, a company dedicated to finding security flaws in Microsoft's software. Last December, he joined anti-malware firm FireEye as chief security architect.

For all his work trying to find holes in Microsoft's products, Maiffret now says that the Windows maker has the best practices when it comes to software security.

"Now when you look at Microsoft today they do more to secure their software than anyone. They're the model for how to do it. They're not perfect; there's room for improvement. But they are definitely doing more than anybody else in the industry, I would say," Maiffret told CNet in an interview. "From an internal process in how they go about auditing their code and securing software from a technical perspective, they do have one of the best models. The area they still have room for improvement is around time lines of how long it takes for them to fix things."

Maiffret is now pointing to Adobe and Apple as being companies who are lacking in the security department. "They are starting to get black eyes with people saying Adobe is a bigger worry than Microsoft is at the moment, which I agree with. As those things are happening, Adobe and Apple and other companies are starting to pay attention and care more. But a year ago, it was still very much a marketing thing. People from both companies treated it as a marketing problem. They didn't have good technical structures behind the scenes."

Apple has hired an industry-noted security employee formerly of Microsoft, but Maiffret still says that Apple's very much behind when it comes to security. "They've really only begun in the last six months or so taking security seriously and understanding that it impacts their business in a serious way."

Referring to Apple, Maiffret said,"It's even a little scarier with them because they try to market themselves as more secure than the PC, that you don't have to worry about viruses, etc. Anytime there's been a hacking contest, within a few hours someone's found a new Apple vulnerability. If they were taking it seriously, they wouldn't claim to be more secure than Microsoft because they are very much not. And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple. The reason we don't see more attacks out there compared to Microsoft is because their market share isn't near what Microsoft's is."

Maiffret continued, "I think Microsoft does a better job with their code auditing than folks like Apple do. We've only seen a scratching of the surface as far as Apple vulnerabilities because nobody cares to find them. There's nothing inherent with Apple themselves and their development. The only reason Apple gets little increase in security is because they're running on top of a Unix-based operating system and they can take advantage of some of the things that have been done for them."

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • CoderDunn
    I like this guy, he knows what hes talking about =)
  • cabose369
    Not really a surprise as the results of the hacking contest every year held in Vancouver also result in the Apple OS being hacked first.
  • accolite
    So much for apple saying they are more secure!
  • abbadon_34
    Well said.
  • gekko668
    Wow this article put all Mac fanboy to shame. They shouldn't read this article because its only make their blood boil.
  • zachary k
    "apple does not get viruses" well, what about Trojans, worms,malware, spyware, keyloggers, ect...?
    yea, i believe him.
  • aznguy0028
    "And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple."

    I think reading that statement has made my entire week :) If you guys don't see me again, it means the Apple zealots has silenced me w/orders from Brother Jobs. :(
  • war2k9
    What is news about that. Once microsoft Every since service pak 1 for xp the ox from ms is more secure than any os put out by apple.
  • elel
    Well enough picking on apple - adobe is really worrying me me now - since everyone has to use flash.
  • reklatsa
    Blimey! It's no wonder Mac's don't get attacked by Trojans, Spyware and Virii. If spelling of PC Malware coding is anything like the level of illiteracy found here in THW fora, the fully integrated Mac OS X Dictionary would baulk and send it straight to Coventry.