Kaspersky puts untouchable Apple myth to bed

Kaspersky has seen the number of malicious programs detected rise massively during 2012, up from 125,000 a day to 200,000 over the course of the year, including those targeting Apple devices – which can put to bed the theory that the company’s kit is untouchable.

With the IT landscape changing for consumers and businesses as new devices and different operating systems become more commonplace, Kaspersky says that criminals are increasingly looking to capitalise on weaknesses.

In total Kaspersky Lab detected and blocked over 1.5 billion web based attacks during 2012, as well as catching more than 3 billion infected files, according to the firm’s Security Bulletin.

“What 2012 has shown is the strong inclination of cybercriminals to steal data from all devices used by consumers and businesses, be it a PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet,” commented Costin Raiu, Director of Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky. “This is one of the most important trends of 2012.” 

He added: “We are also observing a strong increase in the overall number of threats, affecting all popular software environments.”

One of the key findings of the report is the “significant” growth of Mac-specific malware, as well as an “explosion” of threats aimed at the Android platform.      

This has helped push the UK to the ‘high risk group’ category, Kaspersky said, based on the number of web attacks and malicious files.

The Flashback botnet was cited as one of the main incidents of the year, made up of 700,000 infected Apple computers, which Kaspersky said put the nail in the coffin of the perception of the Mac OS X platform as being invulnerable to exploitation.   

Meanwhile Android devices saw an increased security threat, despite Google attempting to protect its users with its own anti-malware technology.   According to the report, there was rapid growth in Android malware, with 99 percent of all newly discovered mobile malware being targeted at the handsets using Google’s operating system.

In terms of browser based attacks, 4 million were detected a day during 2012, with cyber criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in programs and applications.   Java was the most frequently attacked, accounting for 50 percent of attacks, with Adobe Reader in second place, with 28 percent.