Macs saw almost double the number of malware threats than Windows PCs last year

midian182

Posts: 5,678   +43
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The report states that Macs saw an average of 11 threats per endpoint in 2019, whereas Windows systems had an average of 5.8 threats—the first time Macs outpaced PCs when it comes to malware threats.

In 2018, there were just 4.8 Mac threats detected per endpoint, meaning there's been a 400 percent YoY jump. Malwarebytes notes that part of the increase can be attributed to a rise in the Mac userbase but said that "when calculated in threats per endpoint, Macs still outpaced Windows by nearly 2 to 1."

"The increase in Mac endpoints with Malwarebytes installed only increased around 40 percent from 2018 to 2019. So, although this growth is definitely a factor, it is far too small to account for the growth in malware," Malwarebytes' Thomas Reed, director of Mac and mobile, told The Register.

Adware and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) were the most prevalent threats for Macs. NewTab, which is installed as a browser extension or app that loads ads, was detected around 30 million times. Adware was also the biggest threat to Windows devices

Businesses are also being targeted more often, with a 13 percent increase in threats against companies. And while ransomware detections declined slightly from 2018 due to a lower rate of WannaCry detections leftover from 2017, Ryuk detections were up 543 percent, and Sodinokibi detections jumped 820 percent. According to a recent New York Times report, ransomware attacks were up 41 percent last year as average ransom payments reached $190,94.

With more Macs being targeted, Malwarebytes writes that Mac users can "no longer say that their beloved systems are immune from malware."

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 2,676   +2,313
The term "virus" is so vague.

I would have thought a Virus is a malicious program that ruins a computer's functionality so badly that you have to reformat the drive and reinstall the OS.
 

Bruno M. Villar

Posts: 28   +6
Read it with Jony Ive's voice: "Your mac has been designed to accomplish task by task, day by day, with technologies that resemble the state of art of manufacturing, and safety. Viruses and worms are a piece of the past. No viruses will bother our audience. It's a remarkable goal for Apple these days.
 

ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,290   +1,073
The term "virus" is so vague.

I would have thought a Virus is a malicious program that ruins a computer's functionality so badly that you have to reformat the drive and reinstall the OS.
Very rarely does a virus do that. There are now several categories of them. It also depends on the user. Nobody I know has ever had a virus I couldn't remove. I've never had to reformat anyone's computer from any kind of virus. That is in 25+ years of my computer experience.

Think of a virus in people. Some barely give you a cough or sniffle - if anything at all. Some will lower your immune system so others can proliferate (like aids). Some can kill you depending on how healthy your immune system is (such as a computer guru versus a user). Is that a descent example?
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 104   +91
We all knew this would happen. It's not that Macs can't get malware and viruses, it's that they weren't the majority. Where would you target a virus? To the 20% or less population using a Mac or the 80% or more using Windows based systems?
 

Gezzer

Posts: 57   +35
The term "virus" is so vague.

I would have thought a Virus is a malicious program that ruins a computer's functionality so badly that you have to reformat the drive and reinstall the OS.
It's like the term PC, it's original definition is nothing like what most people think it is.

A virus is more a delivery method then an actual program/malware. It "hides" in the empty spaces inside a program. Usually executables that have the extension exe, but not exclusively.
When the program containing the virus payload runs it also runs the hidden program which as one of its capabilities is the ability to copy itself into the empty spaces of other programs. But it can also do other things like have a message pop up at a certain time, what have you.

A computer virus is pretty much analogous to a virus that infects living beings, and how destructive it is will really vary depending on what the hidden program was written to do.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,320   +5,703
Nobody I know has ever had a virus I couldn't remove. I've never had to reformat anyone's computer from any kind of virus.
While that is usually the case. I generally prefer reformatting for the hell of it. That is by way of Restore Point or System Backup Image.

In the late 90's, I did find myself reformatting out of necessity. Purging was a headache. The virus hide in the partition table, memory, and diskettes.
 
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ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,290   +1,073
While that is usually the case. I generally prefer reformatting for the hell of it. That is by way of Restore Point or System Backup Image.

In the late 90's, I did find myself reformatting out of necessity. Purging was a headache. The virus hide in the partition table, memory, and diskettes.
I gained a lot of my technical experience by rather finding out how the operating system and viruses work, then cleaning them. I rarely ever got a virus, and then it was only because I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing. I don't even run antivirus these days other than what comes on the operating system (ever since vista).

I'm a server admin now. If there is an app issue the most common response others tell me is to just reboot the server. As servers affect many people, there is a time cutoff when it should be tried. Sometimes it fixes it, but if it happens a second time the vendor is contacted if root cause isn't identified.

The "reformat/reimage" button, if you will, is not acceptable to me. These days especially too many people use it as a bandaid and it shows by a lack of understanding computers. Not pointing at you, just for the majority. :)
 
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BigRedPDX

Posts: 104   +91
I gained a lot of my technical experience by rather finding out how the operating system and viruses work, then cleaning them. I rarely ever got a virus, and then it was only because I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing. I don't even run antivirus these days other than what comes on the operating system (ever since vista).

I'm a server admin now. If there is an app issue the most common response others tell me is to just reboot the server. As servers affect many people, there is a time cutoff when it should be tried. Sometimes it fixes it, but if it happens a second time the vendor is contacted if root cause isn't identified.

The "reformat/reimage" button, if you will, is not acceptable to me. These days especially too many people use it as a bandaid and it shows by a lack of understanding computers. Not pointing at you, just for the majority. :)

I've done virus removals for years as well. More often than not, removal worked. A lot of companies go for a reformat option just because it's faster and that's relative I suppose. I do not like backing up possible infected data and then dumping that possibly infected data back into a clean profile. Doesn't sit right with me. There were a few rootkits back in the day that we had to some reformatting on, but found solutions within days. I work on everything nowadays, so this post isn't biased in any way. If someone is just reformatting every time a virus or issue comes up, I would categorize that into the lack of understanding category. Nothing teaches you more than having to dive deep into the operating system to yank out bad registry entries and infected files from the system32 folder. Looks like we have some techs in the forums.
 
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cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,320   +5,703
I do not like backing up possible infected data and then dumping that possibly infected data back into a clean profile.
I don't do progressive backups. I have a backup of the OS (clean install and fully updated) and keep my data separate. Less likely for the backup to be contaminated this way. I like doing a clean install every two years or so anyway. It has probably been a decade since I've had a virus. So the notion of falling back on an image doesn't bother me. It rarely happens.
Nothing teaches you more than having to dive deep into the operating system to yank out bad registry entries and infected files from the system32 folder.
Not everyone has the patience for that. I know I don't. My passions are elsewhere.
 
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gamerk2

Posts: 382   +265
We all knew this would happen. It's not that Macs can't get malware and viruses, it's that they weren't the majority. Where would you target a virus? To the 20% or less population using a Mac or the 80% or more using Windows based systems?
Key difference though: Windows is largely secure these days, where Macs are much more open. As a result, while you have 20% the target population, you have a much higher infection rate.
 

Capaill

Posts: 1,189   +723
Lots of MacOS users deactivate the GateKeeper so that they can install pirated programs. I guess that is contributing to the malware problem on Macs.
Yes, I would guess that most Mac owners have been deluded into thinking that Macs don't get viruses, so they don't bother installing anti-virus / anti-malware and happily open every file.
 

Freddie159

Posts: 33   +15
I'm surprised the Author didn't then post a link to TechSpots recommended a/v page! Seems like a no-brainer to finish off the aticle as opposed to 'if you own a Mac you are no longer safe from viruses'.