Since Macs found their way into the mainstream, people have associated them with security. It was once believed that a Mac actually couldn’t be compromised by a virus. While that false hope was quickly demolished, many still believe that Apple’s computers are safer than their Windows PC counterparts.
Interestingly, a new report from Malwarebytes suggests otherwise. The antivirus company’s 2020 State of Malware Report says that the volume of cyber threats against Macs has risen by 400 percent year-over-year. It has also surpassed that of Windows PCs for the first time ever.
Changing of the Guard
It probably comes as a surprise to many that Macs aren’t as resilient to cyber threats as once thought. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the statistics between Macs and PCs are rarely discussed outside of cybersecurity circles.
Malwarebytes wasn’t shy about pointing them out in its latest report. It says that Mac-specific threats in 2019 outnumbered those to PCs by a rate of 2:1. Some may be quick to attribute that figure to the growing number of Mac users worldwide. However, the problem runs deeper than that.
The report goes on to analyze Mac threats based on endpoints rather than general user data. It concludes that there was an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint in 2019 compared to just 5.8 threats per Windows PC endpoint.
Still, the expanding Mac userbase does play a role. Malwarebytes notes that the increased market share makes Mac computers a more attractive target to hackers.
Adware Becoming a Bigger Issue
To make things more interesting, the report also shows that certain types of threats are more popular are on Macs than on Windows PCs.
Topping the list are PUP programs like MacKeeper and MacBooster along with adware apps like NewTab. These maraud as useful tools while serving up ads, redirecting searches, and secretly collecting data on the user in the process. Fortunately, adware is less dangerous than other types of malware as they don’t typically harm a person’s saved data or lock them out of their files.
Regardless, no one wants to be spied on by a malicious program.
Adware isn’t just a Mac problem though. The Malwarebytes report found that there were nearly 24 million detections of adware on Windows PCs. That number marks an increase of 13 percent. Meanwhile, of the top ten consumer threats in 2019, seven were a form of adware.
With these threats in mind, one thing is clear—your Mac isn’t as secure as you think. Many Apple users have a lax mindset regarding their digital life thanks to a false sense of security. However, this report is an indication that things aren’t as clear cut as they were in 2010. Just as computers have come a long way, so have the hackers looking to infect them.
For any Mac user who still thinks that they are inherently safe from malware, it’s time to rethink that logic. Installing a quality antivirus program is a great start. If you don’t know what program to choose, take a look at The Burn-In’s list of the best free antivirus software that you can get right now.