While threats against Macintosh operating systems are becoming more common, IT managers and researchers attending the Black Hat conference this week in Las Vegas said, by far, that they're still concerned with security on PCs running Microsoft Windows operating systems.
In a Symantec survey that allowed multiple selections, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said they are most concerned about vulnerabilities in the Widows XP and 31 percent picked Windows Vista. Nineteen percent chose Linux as the platform they're most concerned with having vulnerabilities, 18 percent picked Unix and 12 percent chose Mac OS.
When researchers were asked what OS they were planning to research, more than half (55 percent) chose Vista and 47 percent chose XP. Forty-two percent chose Linux, 23 percent identified Mac and 20 percent went with Unix.
Vincent Weafer, senior director of Symantec Security Response, said today that while vulnerabilities in Mac OS X have seen a recent spike, most researchers and IT managers are concerned with Windows – including Vista – for a number of reasons.
"(Respondents) are very worried about where they're going to spend their time. They've already started to transition towards Vista. Once it gets close to deployment, that's going to increase," he said. "It could be that people here are just not using Mac systems as much. Vista is dominating this conference, and that's what people are talking about."
The poll also showed an even spread in what security issues IT professionals think will become more prominent. One third (33 percent) of respondents chose web services, with one percent less picking mobile technologies. Twenty-eight percent identified VoIP technologies, while 21 percent chose both software as a service and embedded systems.
Respondents were also evenly split on what technologies could cause them the biggest security headaches in the next 12 months.
Of all IT managers polled, 32 percent chose business systems, 30 percent picked infrastructure networking technology and 28 percent picked client software. Twenty-seven percent picked operating systems and 23 percent identified messaging or scripting technologies as technology most likely to vex them in the next year.
Weafer said he was not surprised concerns were so widespread.
"That's kind of what we're seeing at the moment. Right now, you'd be hard pressed to just find one (major concern)," he said. "I think the fact that a lot of things are being worried about is being reflected here."
Of all respondents to the survey – 85 percent of whom are based in North America – 26 percent are IT managers, 22 percent independent researchers, 17 percent researchers employed by a vendor and 13 percent executives.