At PC Advisor we're very tight on security. We review all the latest security software tools, block spam, fry malware, assassinate spyware, and host a special section of our website devoted to computer security.
But, at home, I use a Mac. So all that stuff doesn't really bother me as much.
I've read all the experts pontificate about the perils of Mac users ignoring security threats, and how this lax attitude will eventually reign death and destruction on Apple's operating system just as soon as the evildoers are fed up with striking their wrath against Microsoft's vulnerable software.
But I still don't worry that every email I open or application I download is a potential bomb ready to annihilate my system. (Of course, I do worry about phishing attacks and other such email scams - they're platform agnostic and will harm any idiot.)
I'm no Apple-only maniac. I don't use Pages and Numbers for my business needs or even OS X's Mail for communications. I use plenty of Microsoft software on my Mac. I even upgraded to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac.
But I'm beginning to regret it, as Office's mail application Entourage wants to make me feel as vulnerable as a Windows user, and I just don't need that sort of unnecessary fear, thank you very much.
Entourage 2008 has started to block nearly every attachment that I get. It's scared to bits that anything that isn't plain text will be so malicious that it won't stop after eating my computer, and will go on to munch the desk and possibly my hands on the keyboard.
With chattering teeth Microsoft tells me that “To help protect your computer, Entourage blocks certain types of incoming attachments because of their potential for introducing a virus into your computer.”
“For security reasons, Entourage blocks attachments that could potentially harm your computer,” it adds while hiding behind the virtual curtains.
Apparently, if I'm just as terrified about the attachment that my sister sent me - showing the hotel she's just booked for her holidays - I should immediately delete it from my computer.
Trouble is, Entourage has blocked the attachment, so there's nothing to delete.
If, as I assume 100% of such friendly attachments will be, I do trust the “message sender” I need to go back to them and demand that they compress the file and send it to me all over again.
This is nanny security of the worst kind.
I want an email application that allows me to make such decisions and not automatically block attachment for the highly unlikely chance that it might just be the world's first Mac virus. (Yes, I know there have been Mac viruses but, come on, they were hardly mass murderers like the ones that crop up every day on Windows…)
Microsoft won't let me turn off this matron-knows-best rule, and I'm seriously beginning of thinking of switching to Mail. At least Apple is more realistic about viruses, and sometimes that means not bothering about them.