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The volume of Mac malware

Noora Hyvärinen

09.11.17 2 min. read

The first three quarters of 2017 have seen over 70 % increase in malware targeting Macs and 50 % increase in PUA (potentially unwanted applications, such as adware) compared to the previous year (source: F-Secure Labs). The volume of threats is growing extremely fast, and attackers are clearly shifting their efforts towards the poorer defenses of Macs.


Mac malware sample volume in 2009-Q3/2017

70 % increase in malware targeting Macs in the first 3 quarters of 2017.


PUA sample volume 2009-Q3 / 2017

50 % increase in PUA towards Macs in the first 3 quarters of 2017.


On October 17th, Reuters reported on a breach of Microsoft’s vulnerability tracking system. A breach, which occurred more than four years ago in 2013. And what was the attack vector related to that breach? Macs. The fact that Macs were involved is something that our Security Advisor, Sean Sullivan, was surmising from the start.


Back in February of 2013, he correctly deduced that Apple Macs were involved in a related hack on Twitter. Given the serious potential harm that such hacks could have yielded, Sean wrote at the time:


“Folks who use their Macs for work should not have the same sense of security as home users. Clearly, work-based Macs are more of a target and expectations of security should scale to match the threat level.”


Nothing about the current Mac threat-scape has caused Sean to question his earlier assessment. If you use a Mac for business, Sean says: “you must absolutely take the time to consider your security profile.”


Targeted attacks against Macs


The recent analysis by F-Secure Labs shows that most of the new malware is in spyware category, and over one-third of the attacks are targeted attacks. This may not come as a surprise to anyone: Macs need protection. Still, there are vast differences in how organizations have handled the security of their diverse endpoints. A quick way to solve this is to go for a comprehensive package, such as Protection Service for Business. The new version includes an advanced XFENCE technology, which provides the next level of Mac security.

Noora Hyvärinen

09.11.17 2 min. read


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