For most of Apple’s history, the company has been able to cast itself as a safer alternative to Windows-based computers.Hackers tended to focus the bulk of their efforts on Wintel boxes (Windows processors), rather than Apple machines. That has been changing in recent months. According to research conducted by Malwarebytes, over the past twelve months, there has been a significant upsurge in the number of attacks made against Macs.
To give you a sense of the scope and scale of the increase, in prior years, the average number of detections per Mac clocked in at 4.8, while the number of detections per Windows-based PC was 5.8. In 2019, the average number of detections per Windows-based PC remained unchanged, while the average number of detections per Mac spiked to 11, more than doubling in a single year.
The researchers note, however, that the types of threats Mac users face are very different from the threats presented against Windows-based PCs, and are generally not dangerous. For instance, the most common infections Mac users suffer from are adware programs that display unwanted ads to infected recipients.
Naturally, there are cases of ransomware, keyloggers and banking trojans that target Macs. However, they are relatively less common than similar infections on Windows-based PCs.
If you’re a Mac user, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet though. The Malwarebytes research team concludes by warning us. They say although the attacks against Macs are currently less destructive than the attacks made against Windows-based PCs, that could change at any moment. There’s nothing whatsoever keeping the hackers from swapping out adware in preference for a much more threatening piece of code.
All that to say, whatever type of computer you use day to day, it pays to keep your guard up. Nobody is truly safe.