It appears Macintosh is becoming a very popular target operating system among cybercriminals these days. Although most people feel this OS is virtually impenetrable, there has been a rising number of malware types designed to attack OS X users. An interesting development, yet it does not bode well for the future.
Mac OS Is Becoming A Prominent Target
It is rather interesting to see cybercriminals attack a different operating system than Windows or Android for a change. Going after Mac OS is a rather strange choice, as the operating system is not that popular. Then again, most people who use Mac OS have the money to pay for expensive devices, leading criminals to believe they can attack these people for financial gain.
With a 247% increase in Max OS malware throughout the final quarter of 2016, it is evident things are evolving in the wrong direction. To be more specific, this percentage represents a total of 320,000 reported malware infections in Q4 of 2016 alone. In Q3 of the same year, a total of 50,000 malware infections were reported. Still a rather high number, yet it appears cybercriminals are getting better at targeting Macintosh users.
The vast majority of malware attacks are a direct result of the OSX/Bundlore strain. This installer combines legitimate Mac OS apps with offers for third-party apps users may not be interested in. This is not your traditional bloatware either, as the entire installation package is laden with malware. While users can opt-out of the additionally installed software, the malware will not be removed by any means.
It is not surprising to learn most Macintosh malware types are looking to extract sensitive information from the victim. Data includes login credentials, banking information and even providing a backdoor to entire computer systems. Together with the increase in malware, researchers uncovered an uptick in ransomware, info stealers, and remote access tools. It is safe to say any user or company relying on Mac OS is a potential target right now.
Despite this growing threat, Macintosh malware is still a very small fish in the pond of malicious software. Windows and Android users see millions of malware attacks every month, whereas Macintosh users see ten thousand at most. Then again, if this explosive trend continues, the playing field will become a lot more even than most people think possible right now. More malware spikes are never a positive development, regardless of the operating system involved.
It is important to note enterprises with a heavy Macintosh focus have no reason to panic just yet. Switching to a different operating system will not keep the malware threat at bay by any means either. As long as users and enterprises implement a basic security strategy, they should be able to nullify most malware attacks.
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