Security vendor Symantec has reminded Apple fans and those new to the Mac platform that Apple's OS X operating system will become increasingly vulnerable to attack as the system gains popularity.

The company claims that in the past year it had discovered 37 serious vulnerabilities in the Mac OS X system, and it predicts that "as the popularity of Apple’s new platform continues to grow, so too will the number of attacks directed at it."

In a report Symantec said: "Contrary to popular belief, the Macintosh operating system has not always been a safe haven from malicious code. Out of the public eye for some time, it is now clear that the Mac OS is increasingly becoming a target for the malicious activity that is more commonly associated with Microsoft and various Unix-based operating systems," writes ZDNet.

The report indicates that Apple has become a target for new attacks. It points to the appearance of Opener in October 2004, suggesting that this "serves to illustrate the growth in vulnerability research on the OS X platform".

Open to attack

Frost & Sullivan Australia security analyst James Turner is concerned that those new to the Mac are not aware that there are dangers. He said: "Many people who buy Apple products are not concerned about security, which leaves them wide open to attack."

Turner said: "The iPod, PowerBooks and mini Macs are cool products. The by-product is that people are buying these products for form over function. They say it looks pretty and then buy it but don’t secure it. As Apple increases its market share, it will be a legitimate target".

Trend Micro senior systems engineer Adam Biviano said: "You don’t see Macintosh viruses in mass outbreaks but you do see them in the labs as proof of concepts. There aren't any outbreaks because there are simply are not enough [Macs] out there."