Microsoft slapped Apple in more ways than one during the company’s recent Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010 event. After it mocked the iPhone 4 calling it “their Vista,” Kevin Turner, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer, also noted that Microsoft’s software is superior in terms of security to that from Apple. The Redmond and Cupertino companies are locked in a relentless face-off, incessantly comparing products.

One of the main Apple marketing techniques designed to push the Cupertino company’s products over those of Microsoft was to claim that they offered better security. To this very day, one of the tactics used to sell Mac machines is to advertise an operating system that is not vulnerable to Windows malware. But malicious code aside, Turner emphasized that Apple’s software products are riddled with security vulnerabilities. Moreover, Microsoft’s COO pointed the finger at Apple software for being plagued by more security flaws than Microsoft’s products.

“And so we’ve got so much innovation, and it’s coming faster, and faster, and faster. We’ve got execution excellence in our product groups. We’re putting out some of the highest quality products in the history of Microsoft right now. And the number one product that we’ve ever produced from a quality standpoint, this will be no surprise in this room, is Windows 7, highest quality product we’ve ever put out. That’s all from customer feedback,” he stated.

“And when you look at one of the last surveys that I saw in the marketplace, Microsoft is not at the top on vulnerabilities and exceptions anymore. Number one is Apple. Number two is Oracle. They can have that first place mantle all they want as it relates to defects and vulnerabilities. That’s the only thing we’re going to give them. We’re delivering this innovation, and we’re committed to it,” Turner noted. (emphasis added)

Microsoft’ COO was citing data from a recent report published by Secunia. According to Secunia Half Year Report 2010, Apple is indeed the maker of the most vulnerable software available on the market today. Moreover, Secunia made it clear that Apple software has constantly accounted for more security vulnerabilities than Microsoft’s. Still, the Redmond company’s huge market share works in the detriment of the software giant, as Microsoft’s software is attracting the vast majority of attacks, despite being less vulnerable than Apple’s.

“Oracle (including Sun Microsystems and BEA Logic) ranked #1 in four out of five years overtaken by Apple in the first half of 2010, with Apple consistently ranking higher than Microsoft. Despite increased investments into the security of their products, none of the seven vendors who occupied the Top-10 group in 2005 as well asin 2010 managed to decrease the number of vulnerabilities discovered in their products. On the contrary, the vulnerability count of each of these seven vendors has increased to reach in 2009 between 136% and 440% of the 2005 count,” Secunia stated in the report.

“This analysis also supports the general perception that a high market share correlates with a high number of vulnerabilities. Apple (iTunes, Quicktime), Microsoft (Windows, Internet Explorer), and Sun Microsystems (Java, now part of Oracle) consistently occupy the top ranks during the last fi ve years, with Adobe (Acrobat Reader, Flash) joining the group in 2008. The ranking shown in Figure 2 does not indicate the actual security (or lack thereof) in the different vendors products; it rather shows that vulnerabilities continue to be discovered in significant numbers in products from even the largest and most popular vendors including those who spend significant resources on improving the security of their products,” Secunia added.

Yesterday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.3, the third incremental update to its Snow Leopard operating system, delivering bug fixes and enhancements, as well as addressing a number of security issues discovered since the release of OS X 10.6.2 in November. This news piece goes deeper into the changes delivered with this update. The security side of 10.6.3 will be detailed in a different article later today.

Over at its Support Downloads area, Apple mentions key 10.6.3 improvements such as a more reliable QuickTime X. Apple’s player has also been updated with compatibility fixes, according to the summary of changes. Other compatibility issues have been addressed with OpenGL-based applications, Apple stresses. The Mac maker continues to list changes like improved performance of Logic Pro 9 and Main Stage 2 when running in 64-bit mode, improved reliability of 3rd party USB input devices, and a few others.

However, via a Support document posted in the section with the same name, Apple talks “About the Mac OS X v10.6.3 Update” more broadly. Before users attempt to do anything, the Cupertino-based Mac maker advises customers to back up their systems. Although the Mac OS X built-in Time Machine utility is probably the best choice to accomplish the task, there are several other tools that allow them to achieve the same results. More »

1. Turn off unnecessary animations. When maximizing and minimizing windows, Windows does a little animation before the window goes away. Going into the “System” section of the Control Panel and turning this off in the Advanced Features section can reduce the amount of memory used by Windows, resulting in a more responsive operating system. Also, in this section, turning off shadows for the mouse cursor and shadows for windows can reduce memory and increase performance. This is definitely worth looking into.

2. Turn off startup items. Turning off items that start whenever you log on can decrease logon time drastically. QuickTime likes to start itself the second you log on, so turning it off is a good idea; if you don’t use QuickTime at all then you won’t ever need the process, and starting QuickTime manually is always an option. Other startup items to look out for are Google Update and instant messengers.

3. Run as few applications at once as you can. Just because you have a dual, quad, or even octo core processor doesn’t mean you should abuse it. More »

Most of Connected Internet’s readers are PC users. PC users don’t have too much of a problem finding an application for a specific task. Usually a quick Google will turn up a solution to a pressing problem. The only drawback to Windows’ prevalence is that there is an exponentially greater amount of commercial software, so PC users may have to dig a little to find a freeware solution to the task at hand.

Mac users enjoy a healthy commercial software community, but also free software is quite prevalent. Maybe it’s the unix influence, you know, free software and all that. I’m not complaining. As a Mac user I have a choice between a commercial solution, scouring the vast freeware available, or falling back to a unix solution when all else fails.

Following are ten applications for working with video, graphics and audio files that I have found to be indispensable. I see enough posts of the variety “What Mac app should I use for…” on various Mac web forums that I hope someone will find these recommendations useful. More »

WORM_VB.ZAA is a new kind of worm that attempts to infect the Windows computers, being executed once the user starts Windows Media Player. Security company Trend Micro wrote that the worm affected most versions of the operating system powered by Microsoft, including Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and Server 2003. But, what’s more important is that it has a high distribution potential bundled with a medium damage potential, so extra-caution is recommended, if you want to keep your computer protected. Now, let’s see more details about the infection. More »