B-but it doesn't get viruses! Not so, Apple fanbois: Mac malware is growing faster than nasties going for Windows

So says Malwarebytes, anyway

Software nasties targeted at MacOS are on the increase faster than ones for Windows, according to antivirus biz Malwarebytes.

Malicious software targeting users of Apple Macs has leapt over the last year, the security outfit said in its latest State of Malware report.

Describing this as an "exponential" increase, the firm said that detections of nasties targeted against innocent Apple fanbois were up 400 per cent year-on-year, while adding the caveat that its Mac userbase had also grown a bit.

In its report the company said: "In 2019, we detected an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint — nearly double the average of 5.8 threats per endpoint on Windows." This should be read in light of Malwarebytes having a relatively smaller number of Mac users than Windows users.

Malwarebytes' Thomas Reed, director of Mac and mobile, told The Register: "The increase in Mac endpoints with Malwarebytes installed only increased around 40 per cent (not 400 per cent) from 2018 to 2019. So, although this growth is definitely a factor, it is far too small to account for the growth in malware."

He added: "If you look at data on the detections per endpoint, which eliminates any bias caused by growth in the number of endpoints, you'll see that it's still significantly higher in 2019 than in 2018."

The two Mac threats highlighted in the report were NewTab, a fake browser extension that loads ads instead of doing anything useful, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) from shady Mac developer PCVARK. NewTab was picked up by its products around 30 million times last year, Malwarebytes said.

Aside from Mac malware, Malwarebytes said trojans-turned-botnets Emotet and Trickbot continued to "hammer" businesses across the globe, with Trickbot infections having increased by 50 per cent over 2018. The notorious Emotet banking malware steals information including login details for financial services. Trickbot works in a broadly similar fashion.

Meanwhile, detections of ransomware favourites Ryuk and Sodinokibi were up by several hundred percentage points year-on-year.

British, French and German users of Malwarebytes are most likely to find themselves infected with adware if something goes awry, while Brit businesses tend to find registry keys set by malware to prevent security software from running effectively, rounded up under the Malwarebytes term Hijack.SecurityRun.

The report can be downloaded from the Malwarebytes website as a 57-page, full-colour PDF. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • How ICE became a $2.8b domestic surveillance agency
    Your US tax dollars at work

    The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has spent about $2.8 billion over the past 14 years on a massive surveillance "dragnet" that uses big data and facial-recognition technology to secretly spy on most Americans, according to a report from Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology.

    The research took two years and included "hundreds" of Freedom of Information Act requests, along with reviews of ICE's contracting and procurement records. It details how ICE surveillance spending jumped from about $71 million annually in 2008 to about $388 million per year as of 2021. The network it has purchased with this $2.8 billion means that "ICE now operates as a domestic surveillance agency" and its methods cross "legal and ethical lines," the report concludes.

    ICE did not respond to The Register's request for comment.

    Continue reading
  • Fully automated AI networks less than 5 years away, reckons Juniper CEO
    You robot kids, get off my LAN

    AI will completely automate the network within five years, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim boasted during the company’s Global Summit this week.

    “I truly believe that just as there is this need today for a self-driving automobile, the future is around a self-driving network where humans literally have to do nothing,” he said. “It's probably weird for people to hear the CEO of a networking company say that… but that's exactly what we should be wishing for.”

    Rahim believes AI-driven automation is the latest phase in computer networking’s evolution, which began with the rise of TCP/IP and the internet, was accelerated by faster and more efficient silicon, and then made manageable by advances in software.

    Continue reading
  • Pictured: Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way
    We speak to scientists involved in historic first snap – and no, this isn't the M87*

    Astronomers have captured a clear image of the gigantic supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy for the first time.

    Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short, is 27,000 light-years from Earth. Scientists knew for a while there was a mysterious object in the constellation of Sagittarius emitting strong radio waves, though it wasn't really discovered until the 1970s. Although astronomers managed to characterize some of the object's properties, experts weren't quite sure what exactly they were looking at.

    Years later, in 2020, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a pair of scientists, who mathematically proved the object must be a supermassive black hole. Now, their work has been experimentally verified in the form of the first-ever snap of Sgr A*, captured by more than 300 researchers working across 80 institutions in the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 

    Continue reading
  • Shopping for malware: $260 gets you a password stealer. $90 for a crypto-miner...
    We take a look at low, low subscription prices – not that we want to give anyone any ideas

    A Tor-hidden website dubbed the Eternity Project is offering a toolkit of malware, including ransomware, worms, and – coming soon – distributed denial-of-service programs, at low prices.

    According to researchers at cyber-intelligence outfit Cyble, the Eternity site's operators also have a channel on Telegram, where they provide videos detailing features and functions of the Windows malware. Once bought, it's up to the buyer how victims' computers are infected; we'll leave that to your imagination.

    The Telegram channel has about 500 subscribers, Team Cyble documented this week. Once someone decides to purchase of one or more of Eternity's malware components, they have the option to customize the final binary executable for whatever crimes they want to commit.

    Continue reading
  • Ukrainian crook jailed in US for selling thousands of stolen login credentials
    Touting info on 6,700 compromised systems will get you four years behind bars

    A Ukrainian man has been sentenced to four years in a US federal prison for selling on a dark-web marketplace stolen login credentials for more than 6,700 compromised servers.

    Glib Oleksandr Ivanov-Tolpintsev, 28, was arrested by Polish authorities in Korczowa, Poland, on October 3, 2020, and extradited to America. He pleaded guilty on February 22, and was sentenced on Thursday in a Florida federal district court. The court also ordered Ivanov-Tolpintsev, of Chernivtsi, Ukraine, to forfeit his ill-gotten gains of $82,648 from the credential theft scheme.

    The prosecution's documents [PDF] detail an unnamed, dark-web marketplace on which usernames and passwords along with personal data, including more than 330,000 dates of birth and social security numbers belonging to US residents, were bought and sold illegally.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022