Mac malware attacks on the rise

While Mac computers have a reputation for being safer than Windows PCs, malware attacks against Macs are on the rise.

According to the security experts at Malwarebytes, the number of attacks on Macs increased a whopping 400% last year. That number is double the same statistics for Windows devices. In fact two of the top three malware threats for 2019 targeted Macs.

While Macs make up less than 10% of home computers, they are becoming an attractive target for malware.  Macs are most likely to be the victim of adware attacks.

According to the folks at Malwarebytes, Mac computer’s built-in security software doesn’t focus on detecting adware and potentially unwanted programs as much as it does other forms of malware. They cited two ‘cleaning’ apps PUPs MacKeeper and MacBooster as prime examples of adware hidden as programs.

The most prevalent type of adware is called New Tab. This type of adware was detected 30 million times last year. New Tab is a search redirect malware that takes you to pages that generate ad revenue to its developer. It’s generally delivered to Macs through browser extensions for Safari. These extensions are disguised as flight or package tracking apps or other utilities.

They also warned of a fake file opener app that looks like the app that comes up when you try to open a file on your computer that the system doesn’t know how to open. Instead of opening a file, it redirects you to a scam website.

The takeaway? The golden days of feeling like Macs were impervious to attacks have long passed. Mac users need to be just a vigilant as Windows users when it comes to malicious software. And it’s not a bad idea to install a program like Malwarebytes, which comes in both free and paid versions.

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