A new report has surfaced claiming that Mac malware grew by 744 percent in 2016. While this is an astounding figure, most of that share is attributed to adware. However, the misconception that Mac is the immune to malware and adware is now being busted, as the figures show that the numbers of such exploits is skyrocketing.
The latest McAfee Threat Report shows that there were around 460,000 instances detected last year, but this large increase in macOS malware was mostly due to adware bundling. This essentially means that Mac users were exposed to unwanted ads, and does not really mean that their machines were at risk.
However, that doesn’t go to say that Mac malware isn’t on the rise. Recently, a ‘Font wasn’t found’ malware was affecting Google Chrome users on both Mac and Windows. In February, researchers found instances of Mac exploits through malicious Microsoft Word documents that abuse macros, and fake software updates that download malicious code as well. There was also a denial-of-service attack reported in January that hijacked Safari and Apple’s Mail app to keep drafting emails until the Mac eventually crashes. These instances are evidence for the rise in vulnerabilities in macOS spyware, something that wasn’t the case before.
The report also claims that a total of 600 million instances of malware attacks were detected last year, out of which 15 million pertained to mobile only. Of these 15 million, almost all of them were found on Android, claiming that iOS was still a safer ecosystem comparatively.
Furthermore, the report also warns about the significant rise in IoT related malware. “IoT devices are being hijacked and used to carry out serious crimes in cyberspace. Attackers, after gaining control of IoT devices, can use them to attack business, consumers, or Internet infrastructure. The Mirai botnet is just the beginning,” the report said.
We recommend Mac users and install updates and software from only trusted and official sources. You can read the full McAfee Threat Report here.