back to article B-but it doesn't get viruses! Not so, Apple fanbois: Mac malware is growing faster than nasties going for Windows

Software nasties targeted at MacOS are on the increase faster than ones for Windows, according to antivirus biz Malwarebytes. Malicious software targeting users of Apple Macs has leapt over the last year, the security outfit said in its latest State of Malware report. Describing this as an "exponential" increase, the firm …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's an obvious target, no?

    Whether it's true or not, the stereotypical vision of the apple range is that it is owned by someone with more money than sense. An ideal target...

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: It's an obvious target, no?

      quite right, especially in the past 5 years or so. I worked on a few iDoohickeies, most of the problems were self-inflicted. "I wanted to see <streaming_service> and I installed this <vpn or plugin or extenstion> because Chrome told me to" is about the average reply.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's an obvious target, no?

      With more companies recognising that an investment in Mac hardware in users' hands often saves on support costs, such that the overall annual ICT budget can be reduced - yes, Macs become a bigger target.

      When I was in the market to upgrade my (then Windows7) desktop about 8 years ago, I found I could get an iMac with the power I needed for no more than the Windows box I was being quoted. Furthermore, rather than finding I needed to upgrade hardware every 3-4 years to maintain performance as software became more demanding, I still use that 8 year old iMac as my main desktop. It won't run the latest MacOS but Apple still support older versions - all the software apps are still being updated and it happily runs Windows10 and Linux VMs when I need them.

      Yes, iPhones are at the top of the price range for smartphones and Macs don't come in economy flavours but the hardware comes as a package that hangs together well.

      More money than some others but the sense to look at the full package and not just the initial price tag!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's an obvious target, no?

        I found I could get an iMac with the power I needed for no more than the Windows box I was being quoted.

        Then the Windows vendor was almost certainly trying to rip you off. Either by overcharging for the hardware, or trying to push a more powerful box than you needed.

      2. matthewdjb

        Re: It's an obvious target, no?

        Do keep an eye on whether you're getting regular updates to your OS. Apple are notorious for letting their products fall out of security updates without telling anyone..

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: It's an obvious target, no?

          "Apple are notorious for letting their products fall out of security updates without telling anyone.."

          Citation needed.... Honestly - I'm interested in what you have to back that up.

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Re: It's an obvious target, no?

            To be fair they published articles about them killing off iTunes and Quicktime on Windows.

            I hate Apple but I can't hold not notifying something going out of support as something.

      3. Halfmad Silver badge

        Re: It's an obvious target, no?

        Look, I use to repair Macs in the 90s and early 00s. I like Macs but that's a pile of garbage you've written. Either you lack awareness with regard to equipment specification and performance or you, like many others had your heart set on a Mac from the start and were just trying to justify it to yourself.

        It's incredibly rare for Mac to be better value in terms of hardware than any other PC vendor, the only one who occasionally is worse is Alienware.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: It's an obvious target, no?

          I bought a 2007 iMac 24", it cost (with educational discount) about the same as an equivalent desktop + 24" display, which were damned expensive back then.

          When I went to replace the iMac, the prices had increased, even though the prices of the hardware, especially the display, had plummeted on the PC side. In the end, I looked at a MacBook Pro, but they didn't have a quad core i7 at that time, just dual core, and a quad core i7 Windows laptop from Sony cost less than half what the Mac cost... As all the software I needed ran on both platforms, I saved myself about 1,500€.

      4. Matt_payne666

        Re: It's an obvious target, no?

        yep.. support... well, my 2011 Macbook pro, last OS update is the one before Mojave...

        It wont update due to my graphics card.

        My 2011 Panasonic Toughbook - same CPU, etc... running Win10 1909

        I needed to install Apple configurator on the Mac - not graphically intensive, but I cant download as my OS is too old. - solution, buy a new Mac

        or borrow a new mac, log in and purchase the app through the store...

        then on my old mac, it will allow me to download and install from the store, the latest older version that will work.

        Old Macs are no better, no worse and certainly not more magical than ol PC's of the same age

  2. DaMacGuy

    Technically...

    Malware isn't a virus, and a virus isn't malware.

    A virus is going to infect your machine without your direct compliance. Malware usually is going to make a user think they're installing one thing, and will either install the malware in addition to, or in place of, that thing.

    The most secure computer is useless if the operator authorizes the install...

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Technically...

      "...The most secure computer is useless if the operator authorizes the install...

      Came to say much the same thing. The user pretty much always has been the weakest link in the security chain.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Technically...

      Malware isn't a virus, and a virus isn't malware.

      You talk shit.

      Malware is an all-encompassing term for any malicious software. A virus is malicious software, so a virus is malware. A trojan (software pretending it's something it isn't) is also malware.

      1. georgezilla

        Re: Technically...

        Until you get some know it all young person, who knows better then everyone else, comes along and decides that decades long meanings of words are wrong.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Technically...

        while ;picking nits, you missed the boat...

      3. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Technically...

        "Malware is an all-encompassing term for any malicious software. A virus is malicious software, so a virus is malware. A trojan (software pretending it's something it isn't) is also malware."

        All busses aren't red and all red things aren't busses.... You could possibly have a beneficial virus thus not malware and certainly you can have malware that isn't a virus.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Technically...

          and certainly you can have malware that isn't a virus.

          That's exactly what I said...

    3. Blackjack

      Re: Technically...

      Viruses are a type of Malware. Malware is any kind of program or code that does damage to either the user, the operative system or programs the users has. Is Ware that does "Mal" aka that does evil.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In this day and age

    Anyone who thinks that any computer that is connected to the Internet is safe from being infected with all sorts of nasties shoul be banned from using a computer for life.

    I run my Laptop with a a number of protections in place. These include Ad Blockers, Javascript disabling and a comprehensive (as in more than 10,000) domains blocked in both my hosts file and in my home firewall.

    Then it is also down to the user to be careful.

    As the Desk Sergeant used to say on Hill St Blues, 'Be Careful out there!'.

    If you get infected by nasties then then perhaps it is not the computer setup that is at fault but you the user.

    All of the above apply equally to Windows, Linux and MacOS.

    1. mevets

      Re: In this day and age

      There is no collision-proof car, but a consistent handling car with strong braking capacity and minimal distractions can find a larger class of drivers who will be able to avoid accidents than a rolling travesty duck taped to a video game. IMHO, and with apologies to model-x owners.

      Sure that free version of "final cut" is going to wreck your life; but there is a big difference between installing a free version from some dodgy site and being pwned because your email client helpfully ran a little attachment as a mail notification service.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: In this day and age

        interesting car analogy.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: In this day and age

        The model-X really isn't what I would describe as a 'rolling duck'... IIRC their rollover tests were quite difficult to accomplish, because the thing simply didn't want to roll over, and in my (limited) experience of them on the road they seem pretty stable.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: In this day and age

      "Anyone who thinks that any computer that is connected to the Internet is safe from being infected with all sorts of nasties"

      well aside from making up all kinds of horrible punishments from "the comfy chair" to thumbscrews and iron maidens, maybe it'd just be a good idea to have a NICE PUBLIC DISCUSSION about "Safe Surfing" which, from my perspective, includes the following:

      a) do NOT use 'Internet Explorer' (and if possible, don't use Windows either!)

      b) Use a 'noscript'-like plugin with a reasonably safe browser, preferably an open source one.

      c) If you must allow scripting, etc., make sure it is SANDBOXED [many viruses and malware loads are done using script]

      d) Don't "just open" or "just run" something from within a browser or an e-mail. Save to a disk file, THEN USE THE INTENDED VIEWING APPLICATION to open it via "file open". And make sure it's NOT an MS office product that you use to view it.

      e) don't use MS Outlook for e-mail delivered from outside your private network [i.e. ANYTHING off the 'teh intarwebs']

      f) *NEVER* download or install "the plugin" or "the application" just to VIEW CONTENT.

      and so on. Use your brains, be 'street wise', assume malware is out there, and just exercise proper caution. And regularly back up your important data onto removable media.

      [if everyone does this, the damage from "all that crap" would be MINIMIZED]

      Installing "anti-virus" is most likely a false sense of security. REAL security starts with NOT being fooled into doing things that damage your system, particularly if you're on a Mac running OS/X, which is kinda what the article was about, right?

      [and under the hood it's BSD, with large portions forked from FreeBSD 5.x]

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    T'was always a rubbish statement. Nothing is virus-free for as long as there is ever a single, solitary security hole in any component of it.

    I hear the same now about Chromebooks and that's just as laughable.

  5. ratfox Silver badge
    Trollface

    "Growth"

    Of course malware for PC is barely growing at all... The market has been saturated since 1996.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Malware infections on PCs and Mac are so passé

    All the kids now just use Facebook!

    1. cb7

      Re: Malware infections on PCs and Mac are so passé

      Keep with it. Barely any kid I know still uses Facebook. Ad overload has driven them all away.

      Most kids I know use only Snapchat and Instagram nowadays.

      Just because they used it once, doesn't mean they'll carry on using it forever.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: Malware infections on PCs and Mac are so passé

        Most people under 20 today have only ever known Facebook as the place where their mum posts embarrassing family photos, and their dad goes to yell at other dads about football and politics. No wonder they're looking elsewhere.

      2. Lotaresco

        Re: Malware infections on PCs and Mac are so passé

        "Barely any kid I know still uses Facebook. Ad overload has driven them all away."

        There are ads on Faecebok? When did that happen?

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Malware infections on PCs and Mac are so passé

          Apparently some people don't use ad blockers.

          Did you know that there's ads on Youtube too? They're really annoying, to the point where I'm surprised that anyone watches anything on there without an ad blocker on.

  7. David Glasgow

    These data make no sense as reported

    "In 2019, we detected an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint — nearly double the average of 5.8 threats per endpoint on Windows."

    This can't be an absolute measure of attacks, the numbers are far too low. Presumably its new threats. So attacks which represent a novel malware exemplar. But if so, what is the "per endpoint" condition for? It doesn't add or explain anything. Average attacks per machine would be interesting, as would the proportion of these representing novel malware. The trouble is that the base rates of malware across platforms is skewed, which is a practical concern, but more importantly in this instance, directly impacts on the number of exploits available to be err... exploited by novel malware.

    Kind of looks like smoke and mirrors designed to sell a product, rather than meaningful statistics.

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