Mac users face growing malware threats

Mac users are next in line for the growing threat of malware infections, according to security software firm Sophos.

Sophos launched a free anti-virus program for Mac users earlier this month and analysed the malware threats detected by the 150,000 users of the software, finding a myriad of trojans, viruses, and keyloggers that Mac supporters can no longer be complacement about.

The most predominant malware was Mal/ASFDldr-A, which accounted for 4.62 percent of reports. The subsequent three were all Java-based malware at between 2.36 percent and 3.67 percent. 

After that the numbers dropped significantly, showing that there is no single unified threat that Mac users need to worry about, but rather that there are numerous ones that can be encountered from all over the web.

Many Mac users have ignored security due to a common perception that a Mac is much more secure than a Windows-based computer. The problem is that many of the trojans that Sophos detected are Windows-specific threats that can still linger on a Mac machine, even if they do not directly attack OS X.

There are also a number of other trojans that attack the Mac operating system, so hackers are not ignoring the platform altogether. Sophos warned that most of the malware is downloaded from torrent sites, via plugins to watch videos, or from Java attacks.

“Mac users can no longer afford to keep their heads in the sand when it comes to protecting their machines,” said Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos. “So long as Mac users don’t properly defend themselves, they will increasingly be perceived as a soft target by cybercriminals and we will therefore see the volume of Mac-specific malware continue to rise.

“It’s reassuring that we’ve been receiving feedback from users who were surprised to find malware on their beloved Macs. Hopefully, more and more Mac users will start to realise that security isn’t just an issue for PC users and they will start to take more measures to protect their computers.”