Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

MacOS malware hits a high in 2016 (but it’s still not as high as Windows)

There was a time when not buying Windows meant not having security problems, but it seems times have changed.

While Apple is usually onto any security dilemmas faster than most companies, the latter part of this year has been an especially troublesome time for macOS.

According to Intel Security’s 2017 Threat Predictions Report, a single adware family is responsible for a large majority of the attacks and issues, with macOS malware jumping as much as 637% in the last few months thanks to “Bundlore”.

Much like the adware bundled with useful applications for Windows, Bundlore — which also exists for Windows — essentially introduces advertisements, toolbars, installers with offers, and extra advertising onto a computer, so while it’s not necessarily malicious, it is very, very annoying, and definitely unwanted.

While Bundlore is the most popular and notorious of the malware on macOS, Intel Security is quick to point out that the total malware amounts for macOS “remains quite low in comparison to other platforms”.

That means Windows is still the highly targeted operating system, likely with Android running just behind, and while unique malware is dropping, malware is still a big deal.

So what does this mean for you?

Security is still a problem, and one that’s hard to deny. Software to deal with security is still one of those necessary things, and the push for malware on every major platform still makes it clear that security software is advised for every computer user, with malware sticking around and now competing with one of the worst kind of malicious applications: ransomware.

This one just will not die, with software built to trick you into running it only to have it lock down important files and tell you to pony up cash in order to unlock them being a very, very big deal still.

While Intel Security says this is on the increase, it’s not the first time we’ve heard this, and while you might feel like basic ad-based malware is easy to brush off, the more complicated ransomware gets — and the more confident and well-engineered the phishing emails become designed to ensnare you in a ransomware attack — the worse this area gets.

Security software at least offers some protection here, with virus and malware signatures updated on a regular basis and compared with other instances in the cloud to identify what’s going on inside your computer, and if anything that you’re accessing has the power to break you and your computer.

Pointing this out is important, too, because with reports like these out there for this year, predictions for the next one are bolstered. That means you can expect more malware, ramped up ransomware, and a general expectation that security issues will swamp your system.

Whether that means you become a little wiser and more educated to the problems that these will deliver or invest in a bit of security yearly is your dilemma, though we think a healthy mixture of the two makes the most sense and will leave you in a better place.

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