Thursday, 27 February, 2020

Apple Mac malware threats growing faster than Windows counterparts

Mac malware is on the rise Mac threats overtake Windows for the first time
Cecil Davis | 13 February, 2020, 14:54

The State of Malware 2020 report is a deep dive into what this anti-malware company has found on computers and devices across its installation base, covering Windows, macOS/OSX, iOS and Android operating systems, and splitting threats into categories such as adware, trojans, hijackers, backdoors, spyware, ransomware and others.

The company noted that the sharp rise is partly influenced by its increase in macOS customers previous year.

Malwarebytes latest annual State of Malware report shows an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint in 2019 - almost double the average of 5.8 threats per endpoint on Windows. In 2019, we detected an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint-nearly double the average of 5.8 threats per endpoint on Windows.

The report also states that macOS' built-in security systems are more anxious about traditional malware threats and don't do enough against lesser threats, like adware and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). The report explains that these PUPs are deemed unwanted not only by Malwarebytes itself, but its community of macOS users.

As a result, Macs are starting to get some of the attention PCs have enjoyed from cybercriminals, and the Malwarebytes report speaks of a "virtual landslide" of malware detections on OSX devices. Malwarebytes' top-rated mobile threat in 2019 was a team of pre-installed potentially unwanted program (PUP) variants that combined for 321,103 detections. While it attributes some of that number to a larger Mac userbase, the company calculated the number of threats per endpoint on both Mac OS and Windows. The number one Mac threat detected was a family of adware called NewTab, installed as a browser extension or as an app. NewTab aims to redirect searches on the web to earn illicit ad revenue.

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Adware has been particularly problematic for consumers and businesses on Windows, Mac and Android devices too, deploying aggressive techniques for serving up advertisements, hijacking browsers, redirecting web traffic and proving extremely hard to uninstall. Malwarebytes' report shows a 13% increase in threats against businesses. Combine those two segments and the total number of threats increased by 1% this year. As more people use Macs, it figures that more exploits might pop up.

And if you know what you're doing on the Web, you're still nearly totally safe on a Mac.

Our best advice for protecting your system and, in turn, your personal data, is to download antivirus software.

When it comes to Macs, the top threat was Adware.NewTab, followed by PUP.PCVARK and PUP.MacKeeper.