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Respected consumer advocacy group recommends against using Safari

And heck, that’s just common sense. I’ve recommended that all along, for Windows users. But what’s interesting about the Consumer Reports recommendation is that it’s aimed specifically at Mac users:

Mac users should scrap Apple's Safari and replace it with a browser that offers antiphishing protection, such as Mozilla's Firefox or Opera Software's Opera, Consumer Reports said today as it unveiled its annual Internet security survey.

Mac users are just as likely to fall for the fake sites as people running Windows, Fox said. "There is no significant difference" between the two groups -- Mac and Windows users -- regarding the likelihood of giving away information, he said. "Mac users are indistinguishable from Windows users here."

But users going online with Safari are leaving themselves at risk because the browser doesn't include tools to warn when a site is, or might be, dangerous. "The browser of choice for most Mac users, Apple's Safari, has no phishing protection," said Consumer Reports.

Until Apple adds antiphishing tools, the publication recommended that Mac users steer clear of Safari.

"The Mac [phishing statistics] were pretty interesting," said Fox, who named it as one of the current survey's biggest surprises. "Mac users think that they don't need to worry about viruses and spyware," he said. "But e-mail is the weak vector on the Mac."

Most phishing attacks begin when a user receives an e-mail message -- perhaps one posing as from his bank -- that includes a link to a malicious Web site.

"This is the one area where the Mac doesn't have an advantage in security," Fox continued. "Significantly fewer Mac users were using antiphishing technologies, but they were pretty much identical to Windows users about giving personal information.

"Windows users are used to being paranoid about not clicking," he said. "Mac users aren't, even though they say, 'Antivirus software, who needs it?'"

Fox also noted that users running Windows Vista reported significantly fewer instances of spyware or other malware infections than did people relying on Windows XP.

I do have a Consumer Reports subscription, but didn’t actually see this information in the cited report.

Thanks Jonathan.

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