Macs are losing out in the exciting and dangerous world of virus writing. According to a report by Sophos , a virus-protection company, Mac viruses accounted for just 0.16 per cent of viruses reported to them this year. That means PCs are around 625 times more likely to catch a cold than Macs are.

The greatest inconvenience for Macintosh users is likely to be receiving harmless email-attached viruses from infected PC users. The only other viruses that are generally found on Macs are Microsoft Word macro viruses. These are a minor annoyance rather than the catastrophic PC viruses, such as the Bugbear-B and the slammer virus.

The most popular (well, successful) virus of this year was Sobig-C, an email carried bug posing as a support message from Bill Gates. Virus writers are fond of using celebrities as subjects for their email viruses. The Igloo worm claimed to have compromising images of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Shakira, and Sandra Bullock, but failed to make the top 100 viruses. Top virus celebrity for the year, with 5.5 per cent of the virus reports was Avril Lavigne.

The top virus hoax this year also doesn’t bother Macs. The JDBGMBR hoax encourages hapless PC users to delete a file to eradicate a different virus. Users that fall for it are deleting a part of their Windows operating system.

Macs are no more protected from viruses than any other PC. However, the mass market of the Windows operating system offers more chance for a virus to be carried further. Therefore virus writers ignore our niche platform, at least for now.