Mac Malware on the Rise

May 18th, 2011 Leave a Comment

I considered making that a question, but let’s be honest. Macs have never been invulnerable to penetration; they’ve just been underserved.

Crying wolf? Apple support forums confirm malware explosion | ZDNet

When my parents finally decided it was time to get a computer, I recommended a Mac. One of the many reasons was that malware for Macs was, and still is, comparatively speaking, uncommon. However, it has been on the rise for the last decade, mostly in the last four years.

I can’t see any reason to debate that. Yes, it’s been overcovered, and yes, bloggers and media tend to sensationalize things.

Common is the key word. Baddies target large installed bases, i.e. Windows. As Mac has grown in popularity, thanks to the bevy of iOS devices, it has provided a larger addressable “customer” base.

Macs now make up 7% of the overall market, which sounds small, until you realize the market size is hundreds of millions.

This is bad news for the average Mac user, but it doesn’t mean run for the hills.

It means a) if you use a Mac and are worried, get antivirus and more importantly, inform yourself and be vigilant and careful and b) Apple will eventually have to address malware as part of the OS, just as Microsoft had to do.

The irritating bit here is that this debate brings out two of my least favorite internet archetypes: the fanbois and the ivory tower geeks.

Fanbois are inherently impossible to reason with, so any negative coverage brings them out in droves. This term is usually reserved for Apple fanatics, but it applies equally to their counterparts who evangelize for other camps.

The ivory tower geeks insist that the root of all technical problems is PEBKAC. They would gladly swing the ban hammer and revoke your interwebs permanently if they could. Many insist they can.

The unfortunate problem here is that success means attracting users who are not like you, but being popular also attracts baddies who want to exploit them.

Linux continues to be an attractive option if you want to avoid baddies.


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