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.”