Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Apple users need to become aware that malware is being written to target their platform.

I regularly find Mac users bragging to others around them that the Mac platform does not get viruses. When time permits I then take them aside and suggest they search for malware on the internet for their platform. There have been a number of infections including the recent Flashback Trojan which infected over 500,000 Mac computers worldwide.

Apple quietly added antivirus software to the Mac platform and with no major announcement, the illusion that malware was not an issue for Mac users has continued.

The reality is malware affects most platforms (I say most whereas I would like to say all, but I can’t prove every platform has been targeted by malware writers). Until recently Mac had a relatively small market share meaning it made more sense to target Windows users as they represented over 90% of the market. As the Mac market share increases so does the return on investment for malware writers. In addition malware writers may have more success by being very specific with who they target.


If Mac users continue to spread the incorrect belief they are immune to malware all they really do is to provide Mac users with an unrealistic and dangerous expectation. When I blogged about Apple users targeted a while ago with the $50 gift voucher, my logs showed Mac users coming to my site increased from 5-10% up to 30%. Thousands of Apple Mac users were seeking to find out about the gift voucher. Luckily the attack was malware targeted at Windows users. Had it been targeted at Apple users it could easily have done much more damage.

The following is a recently reported incident of Mac malware.

First Mac OS X fake installer pops up, racks up your mobe bill... Read More

Also if you hear Linux users bragging about having a safer environment they aren’t safe either. Linux users tend to only consider the core operating system but a working system includes many other packages. A great number of infected sites on the internet that have been hijacked run on Linux based systems. The majority of infections for Windows users is via installed software such as Java and Flash. Windows users don’t differentiate between the operating system and the installed software. Malware is malware and it really doesn’t matter what weakness it takes advantage of to infect your computer. The end result is still the same.

You should treat all platforms as equally exposed to malware. Be vigilant and you improve your chances of not being infected. Don’t be sold on the idea that one platform is more secure than another. Being tricked into providing your credit card details on any platform still has the same result.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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