Researchers Said About 1 Percent of Macs Was Affected

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2012-04-09 Print this article Print

Given the millions of Windows PCs that have been infected in the past by such malware as Conficker, the 600,000-plus may seem small, according to researchers at security software vendor Intego. However, with an installed base of between 60 million and 70 million, that means about 1 percent of all Macs worldwide have been compromised, they said in an April 7 blog.

€œSo one in 100 Macs is infected,€ they wrote. €œIt€™s clear that we are faced with an unprecedented attack of Mac malware.€

Mac users€™ belief of the invulnerability of their systems makes the threat even more serious, according to security experts.

€œMost Mac users have grown accustomed to the lack of malware reported on Apple€™s devices, many of which do not have any additional layer of protection implemented on their system to protect against possible cyber-attacks either,€ researchers at security software vendor Bit9 wrote in an April 4 blog.

Apple officials last week issued two patches aimed at addressing the vulnerabilities, which lie more with issues in Oracle€™s Java than in Apple€™s operating system. The problem arises because Mac users can download Java onto their systems. But the problems for Mac users€”and others who are using such Apple Internet-connected devices like iPhone and iPads€”is that as these products grow in popularity among customers, they also will become more popular to cyber-criminals.

Already there have been numerous attacks on Macs over the past year, such as the Tsunami and Revier/Imuler Trojans, and the Mac Defender fake antivirus program.

"This latest wave of infections is a wake-up call to Mac users that their system is not immune to threats," Mike Geide, senior security research at Zscaler ThreatLabZ, said in an email after the April 3 patch was released. "And the need to follow best security practices, such as remaining current with patches, is ubiquitous€”it doesn't matter if you're using Windows, Mac or even [a] mobile phone."



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