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Research: Macs Saw Almost Twice as Much Malware as Windows PCs in 2019

(Image credit: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock)

Malwarebytes announced today its annual State of Malware report, which detailed findings for 2019. One of the key revelations  is that throughout the year, Macs saw an average of 11 threats per endpoint. Meanwhile, Windows-based systems experienced an average of 5.8 threats per endpoint. 

Notably, the number of threats to Macs grew by over 400% year-on-year compared to 2018, making it clear that cybercriminals are favoring Apple operating systems as of late. However, it's important to note that Malwarebytes researchers saw a larger Mac user base in 2019 but said that "when calculated in threats per endpoint, Macs still outpaced Windows by nearly 2 to 1." 

The nature of threats also changed over the course of 2019. Malwarebytes' report shows a 13% increase in threats against businesses. Ransomware activity against enterprises in particular is on the rise, with activity from the Ryuk and Sodinokibi ransomware threats increasing by up to 543% and 820%, respectively. 

Another group of malware on the rise is adware. Adware can display ads using aggressive techniques, such as pop-ups or overlays, that aren't supposed to be there. They often reoccur at unwelcome moments after a system has been infected.

“A rise in pre-installed malware, adware and multi-vector attacks signals that threat actors are becoming more creative and increasingly persistent with their campaigns,” Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, said in a statement. “It is imperative that as an industry we continue to raise the bar in defending against these sophisticated attacks, actively protecting both users and businesses by flagging and blocking all programs that may violate their privacy, infect their devices, or even turn the infrastructure they depend on against them.”

  • apone
    "Notably, the number of threats to Macs grew by over 400% year-on-year compared to 2018, making it clear that cybercriminals are favoring Apple operating systems as of late. "

    Gosh, I thought Mac OS X was and has always been bulletproof according to the Apple community.
    Reply
  • PHYLOGG
    apone said:
    "Notably, the number of threats to Macs grew by over 400% year-on-year compared to 2018, making it clear that cybercriminals are favoring Apple operating systems as of late. "

    Gosh, I thought Mac OS X was and has always been bulletproof according to the Apple community.

    People realized that Mac OS is just as vulnerable as Windows, and that most of Mac OS users know very little about software and hardware. Perfect breeding ground for malicious attacks.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    PHYLOGG said:
    People realized that Mac OS is just as vulnerable as Windows, and that most of Mac OS users know very little about software and hardware. Perfect breeding ground for malicious attacks.

    Not really. MacOS finally went from 5% ish to almost 15% market share. So now there is enough people using MacOS to give malware writers something to target. The very low numbers kept most from wanting to write malware for Mac's.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    JamesSneed said:
    MacOS finally went from 5% ish to almost 15% market share. So now there is enough people using MacOS to give malware writers something to target.
    And the price premium of Mac hardware means that their users will tend to be wealthier.
    Reply
  • closs.sebastien
    and this is known only for the mac that have an antivirus. many don't and can be infected. so in fact it can be 70% of mac that are infected...
    Reply