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1 in 5 Mac Computers Harbors Malware, Claims Sophos

By - Source: Sophos | B 37 comments

One in five MAcs were found to be infected with Windows-based malware while one in thirty-six were infected with Mac OS X malware.

What's scarier: 1 out of 5 Mac computers in a group of 100,000 found to be infected with malware, or that Sophos can take a snapshot of all 100,000 without each user's knowledge. Even if the security firm is trying to access the overall health of Apple's platform, installed software secretly taking snapshots of the computer's current condition sounds a little creepy nonetheless.

According to the latest report from Sophos, 100,000 Mac computers using the company's free anti-virus software were analyzed over a span of seven days. The firm discovered that 1 in 5 Macs were playing host to one or more instances of Windows-based malware while 1 in 36 (or 2.7-percent) were found to be carrying Mac OS X malware. The good news is that the Windows-based malware won't cause symptoms on Macs unless the user is also running Windows. The bad news is that it can still spread to other Macs.

"Some Mac users may be relieved that they are seven times more likely to have Windows viruses, spyware and Trojans on their Macs than Mac OS X-specific malware, but Mac malware is surprisingly commonly encountered," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Mac users need a wake-up call about the growing malware problem."

In a 7-day snapshot of 100,000 Macs, Sophos discovered that 75.1-percent were infected with the OSX/Flahplyr malware. Falling in second with 17.8-percent was OSX/FaveAV followed by OSX/RSPlug (5.5-percent), OSX/Jahlav (1.2-percent) and "other" (0.4-percent). This malware can spread via USB stick, email attachments, website download, or even a silent drive-by installation where the user doesn't realize their Mac's security has been subverted.

"Cybercriminals view Macs as a soft target, because their owners don’t typically run anti-virus software and are thought to have a higher level of disposable income than the typical Windows user," Cluley added. "Mac users must protect their computers now or risk making the malware problem on Macs as big as the problem on PCs."

On the Windows-based malware front, Mal/Bredo reigned as champ, residing on 12.2-percent of 100,000 Mac computers over a 7-day study. Other malware found include Mal/Phish (7.4-percent), Mal/FakeAV (3.8-percent), Troj/ObfJS (3.6-percent), Mal/ASFDldr (3.3-percent), Troj/Invo (3.0-percent), Troj/Wimad (2.6-percent), Mal/Iframe (1.5-percent), Mal/JavaGen (1.4-percent), and "other" (61.2-percent).

"Some of the malware discovered by Sophos on the 100,000 Mac computers sampled dates back to 2007, and would have been easily detected if the users had run an anti-virus product sooner," Sophos said in its report. "Bredo, a family of malicious programs sent out via spam, accounts for 12.2 percent of malware detected on Mac computers. The first Bredo variant was detected in 2009, and since then, countless variants have been released. Only last week, it was used in a malicious email campaign that purported to have attached a compromising picture of the recipient."

Naturally Sophos points to its own free anti-virus solution for Macs which can be downloaded and installed from here. Further information about these malware findings on Macs can be found on Sophos's Naked Security site at: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com.

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  • 28 Hide
    bigdragon , April 24, 2012 8:44 PM
    Malware? Nonsense. The technical term is digital pollen or pixie dust. Macs can't have malware. It's not possible. They are safe and magical.
  • 24 Hide
    DroKing , April 24, 2012 8:38 PM
    Now lets watch as Apple proceed to try and squash such news. Lemme go fetch some popcorns and pops.
  • 22 Hide
    Plasmid , April 24, 2012 8:24 PM
    But god told me macs did not viruses !!! How is this possible?, fuck my life :( 
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    Plasmid , April 24, 2012 8:24 PM
    But god told me macs did not viruses !!! How is this possible?, fuck my life :( 
  • 24 Hide
    DroKing , April 24, 2012 8:38 PM
    Now lets watch as Apple proceed to try and squash such news. Lemme go fetch some popcorns and pops.
  • 22 Hide
    memadmax , April 24, 2012 8:41 PM
    Welcome to the party apple!
  • 28 Hide
    bigdragon , April 24, 2012 8:44 PM
    Malware? Nonsense. The technical term is digital pollen or pixie dust. Macs can't have malware. It's not possible. They are safe and magical.
  • 22 Hide
    SpicPeso , April 24, 2012 8:54 PM
    PlasmidBut god told me macs did not viruses !!! How is this possible?, fuck my life


    That wasn't god, that was Steve Jobs... And guess who's still dead three days later...
  • 13 Hide
    rex86 , April 24, 2012 9:05 PM
    DroKingNow lets watch as Apple proceed to try and squash such news. Lemme go fetch some popcorns and pops.


    Most likely they will sue Sophos for spreading lies. But in reality I used to clean viruses and malware for the windows machines of my friends and now it looks like that I'm gonna be cleaning the same crap from the macs of my friends.

    I'm running Linux by the way. ;) 
  • 3 Hide
    kcotton , April 24, 2012 9:10 PM
    SpicPesoThat wasn't god, that was Steve Jobs... And guess who's still dead three days later...


    harsh...kinda funny, but harsh.
  • -9 Hide
    ctbaars , April 24, 2012 9:10 PM
    ... because it's Windows based ? How does that work ?
  • 5 Hide
    halcyon , April 24, 2012 9:24 PM
    Time to get A/V...well, it's past time really.
  • 22 Hide
    whiteodian , April 24, 2012 9:46 PM
    I read a different article that the windows based malware obviously don't affect the Macs, but can still be spread to windows machines. Hey Mac users, do the world a favor and run some AV to help stop the spread of digital herpes!!!
  • -6 Hide
    amdphenomx4 , April 24, 2012 9:55 PM
    Misleading title is Misleading.
  • 8 Hide
    Genny , April 24, 2012 9:58 PM
    whiteodianI read a different article that the windows based malware obviously don't affect the Macs, but can still be spread to windows machines. Hey Mac users, do the world a favor and run some AV to help stop the spread of digital herpes!!!


    Mac users will swear it gives their computer autism.
  • 14 Hide
    aftcomet , April 24, 2012 10:09 PM
    Not surprised. The majority of Mac users are technologically illiterate fools who make their purchasing decisions based on commercials and whatever is the flavor of the day.
  • 14 Hide
    fordry06 , April 24, 2012 10:17 PM
    ctbaars... because it's Windows based ? How does that work ?


    It is malware that infects windows, it cannot operate on osx, but it can still be there and it can still be spread to other computers even though it isn't functional.

    amdphenomx4Misleading title is Misleading.


    not sure what is misleading about saying 1 in 5 macs are harboring malware when that is exactly what the article says.
  • 4 Hide
    nebun , April 24, 2012 10:19 PM
    there are so many ignorant mac users out there....it hurts me when i tell them to purchase some kind of security software yet they seem to realize that no OS is totally secure
  • 1 Hide
    acerace , April 24, 2012 10:27 PM
    Quote:
    harsh...kinda funny, but harsh.


    You must be new to internet. :ange: 
  • 11 Hide
    pjmelect , April 24, 2012 11:29 PM
    They must have held the virus scanner wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    xerroz , April 24, 2012 11:36 PM
    These news made my day
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