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Malwarebytes slurps startup, hopes to belch out Mac malware zapper

Aims to charm fanbois with adware removal tool

Security software firm Malwarebytes is moving into the Mac security software market with the acquisition of a start-up and the launch of its first anti-malware product for Apple computers.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac is designed to detect and remove malware, adware, and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). The release of a free of charge consumer-focused product on Wednesday coincides with the announcement of the acquisition of AdwareMedic by The Safe Mac.

AdwareMedic creator and owner Thomas Reed will join Malwarebytes as director of Mac offerings. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The security software firm plans to build on the consumer release of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac 1.0 (here) with the launch of small business and enterprise versions of its Mac security products in the autumn.

According to a June 2015 OPSWAT report, only half of Mac users have antivirus protection, and that protection does not typically detect adware. In the last two years, there has been a proliferation of new adware – including Genieo, Conduit, and VSearch – that inject ads and pop-up hyperlinks in web pages, change the user’s homepage and search engine, and insert unwanted toolbars into the browser. AdwareMedic, which has been downloaded 2.8 million times so far in 2015, is designed to lance these threats as well as regular Mac malware.

Security conscious Mac users can already take advantage of Mac versions of products from security software firms such as Kaspersky and Symantec and well as specialist software from the likes of Intego. These are paid for products but freebie security scanners for Macs are available from the likes of Sophos, Avast and Avira.

Malwarebytes – which is best known for its freebie scanner for Windows, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – sees an opportunity to grow its business by offering a Mac security product with added anti-adware credentials alongside its more general push to expand into the enterprise with Windows security products and services.

“It used to be that Mac users were relatively safe from adware and malware," said Marcin Kleczynski, chief exec of Malwarebytes."That’s plainly not the case anymore. The bad guys are writing Trojans and ad pop-ups for the Mac.” ®

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