Malware Threats On Macs Outpace Windows For First Time Ever

Malware Threats On Macs Outpace Windows For First Time Ever”

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.

And while Mac systems are generally good at detecting malware threats, these low-level campaigns are finding ways to sneak through the defences of systems in a way that researchers describe as "far outpacing growth on the Windows side". According to Malwarebytes' 2020 State of Malware Report, the volume of threats for macOS users has seen an increase of more than four times over that of previous year. One of the key revelations is that throughout the year, Macs saw an average of 11 threats per endpoint.

The State of Malware report features data sets collected from product telemetry, honey pots, intelligence, and other research conducted by Malwarebytes threat analysts and reporters from January 1 through December 31, 2019. The Mac threats were up quite a bit from the 4.8 threats detected per endpoint in 2018.

As for the reason behind the drastic increase, Malwarebytes says it's likely due to increased market share. Even so, macOS still holds almost twice as many threat detections per endpoint compared to Windows in the same year. As more people use Apple computers, they become more attractive to bad actors.

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"While these threats are not considered as risky as traditional malware, they are becoming a much larger and more noticeable nuisance for Mac users, who can no longer say that their beloved systems are immune from malware", says the report.

Potentially unwanted programs include "cleaning" apps like MacKeeper and MacBooster, along with apps like Advanced Mac Cleaner, Mac Adware Cleaner, and others.

Topping the list of most pervasive Mac threats is NewTab, an adware family that redirects searches in the web browser to earn illicit affiliate revenue. In addition, macOS' built-in security systems have not cracked down on adware and PUPs to the same degree that they have malware, leaving the door open for these borderline programs to infiltrate.

Beware of adware - Adware increased 13 percent, year-over-year, for consumers and 463 percent for businesses. Windows PCs were also targeted by Emotet and Trickbot, two types of Trojan botnets, as well as new ransomware including Ryuk, Sodinokibi, and Phobos. There were a total of 24 million Windows adware detections and 30 million Mac detections, with the top consumer threat detections belonging to adware families.

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