Think your Apple product is safe from malware? That only people using Windows machines have to take precautions? According to cybersecurity software company Malwarebytes’ latest State of Malware report, it’s time to think again. The amount of malware on Macs is outpacing PCs for the first time ever, and your complacency could be your worst enemy.
“People need to understand that they’re not safe just because they’re using a Mac,” Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes’ director of Mac and mobile and contributor to the report, told Recode.
Windows machines still dominate the market share and tend to have more security vulnerabilities, which has for years made them the bigger and easier target for hackers. But as Apple’s computers have grown in popularity, hackers appear to be focusing more of their attention on the versions of macOS that power them. Malwarebytes said there was a 400 percent increase in threats on Mac devices from 2018 to 2019, and found an average of 11 threats per Mac devices, which about twice the 5.8 average on Windows.
“There is a rising tide of Mac threats hitting a population that still believes that ‘Macs don’t get viruses,’” Reed said. “I still frequently encounter people who firmly believe this, and who believe that using any kind of security software is not necessary, or even harmful. This makes macOS a fertile ground for the influx of new threats, whereas it’s common knowledge that Windows PCs need security software.”
Now, this isn’t quite as bad as it may appear. First of all, as Malwarebytes notes, the increase in threats could be attributable to an increase in Mac devices running its software. That makes the per-device statistic a better barometer. In 2018, there were 4.8 threats per Mac device, which means the per-device number has more than doubled. That’s not great, but it’s not as bad as that 400 percent increase.