According to Sophos, about 20 percent of Mac computers are crawling with malware, but that doesn’t mean that the system has been compromised.
A lot of the time the malware is actually going after Windows PCs, but that malware can be passed around. Macs aren’t free of viruses, either, as about one in 36 have been found to have Mac targeted malware.
As many as 20 percent of Mac computers are home to malware that can spread to PCs, according to security vendor Sophos. They ran their Mac antivirus software on 100,000 Apple machines and found that most of the malware present was the kind that targeted Windows machines. The result is that the Mac computers that harbor the malware don’t show any symptoms unless they’re running Windows, but they still can spread the infection to Windows PCs.
In addition to that the security vendor found that about 3% of Macs harbored OS X malware, and of those, three quarters had the Flashback malware. While the figures vary for Flashback, many estimates point to about 650,000 Macs infected over the last few months. The malware installs when users download a false version of Adobe Flash Player. Apple recently released a Java update to help remove the problem.
Also, 18 percent of the surveyed computers tested positive for the MacDefender scareware, and some included fake antivirus attacks that can harvest credit card information.
Be On the Lookout. The 2012 Flashback ordeal was somewhat of a surprise, given that Apple products rarely see malware. That sense of security is what makes Macs a great target for cyber crime, according to Sophos consultant Graham Cluley.
“There’s a lot less Mac malware on Macs than Windows malware on Macs. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. With the Flashback threat and a greater understanding of possible online security dangers Mac users are in for a wake-up call.” Eugene Kaspersky also added, “Mac users aren’t the only ones who need to get smarter about security.” Apple is fairly far behind the rest of the market in the security department, and that could cause issues down the road for the company and its fan base.