Published: Thu, February 13, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Mac, Not Windows, Is Now Hackers' Favorite Target

Mac, Not Windows, Is Now Hackers' Favorite Target

Macs are generally considered to be more secure than Windows PC, but an alarming new report suggests that's no longer the case.

Past year the cybersecurity firm detected an average of 11 threats per mac endpoint which is almost double the average of 5.8 threats per endpoint on Windows.

Malwarebytes' report also shed light on how trojan-turned-botnets Emotet and TrickBot both made a return past year to target organizations alongside new ransomware families including Ryuk, Sodinokibi and Phobos. Malwarebytes says this represents a significant jump compared to past year, when it registered 4.8 threats per Mac endpoint. One of the key revelations is that throughout the year, Macs saw an average of 11 threats per endpoint.

The rise can be attributed to a growing market share, and seemingly, macOS' built-in security system's failure to crack down on adware and PUPS.

As mentioned, the 400% increase could include users installing Malwarebytes for the first time, and the detection of existing infections.

Mac threats overtake Windows for the first time

You can find the full report from Malwarebytes here.

According to the report, Mac threats also differ significantly from those faced by PCs. Malwarebytes' top-rated mobile threat in 2019 was a team of pre-installed potentially unwanted program (PUP) variants that combined for 321,103 detections. PUPs MacKeeper and MacBooster, previously first and third on the list in 2018, fell to third and fifth place in 2019. By far the most common adware was the NewTab variety, which is typically caught by opening fake flight- or package-tracking messages, and shows users ads that generate income for its shadowy authors.

Adware has been particularly problematic for consumers and businesses on Windows, Mac and Android devices too, deploying aggressive techniques for serving up advertisements, hijacking browsers, redirecting web traffic and proving extremely hard to uninstall. Overall, adware and PUPs are considered less risky than traditional malware. That's double the detections on Windows PCs, which was 5.8 in 2019. Adware increased 13 percent, year-on-year, for consumers and 463 percent for businesses. Windows PCs were also targeted by Emotet and Trickbot, two types of Trojan botnets, as well as new ransomware including Ryuk, Sodinokibi, and Phobos. There were a total of 24 million Windows adware detections and 30 million Mac detections, with the top consumer threat detections belonging to adware families.

The main takeaway is that no, your Apple computer isn't more immune to malware and maybe you should take security more seriously.

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