One in five Mac Computers harbor malware: Sophos

By : |April 26, 2012 0

NEW DELHI / BANGALORE, INDIA: New research released by Sophos, IT security and data protection company, has revealed a disturbingly high level of malware on Mac computers-with both Windows and Mac threats being discovered.

Sophos experts analyzed a snapshot of 100,000 Mac computers running its free anti-virus software, and discovered that one in five machines was found to be carrying one or more instances of Windows malware. Although Windows malware on Macs will not cause symptoms (unless users also run Windows on their computer), it can still be spread to other computers. Additionally, Sophos’s analysis shows that 2.7 percent (one in thirty six) of Macs were found to be carrying Mac OS X malware.

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Graham Cluely, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos said "Some Mac users may be relieved that they are seven times more likely to have Windows viruses, spyware and Trojans on their Macs than Mac OS X-specific malware, but Mac malware is surprisingly commonly encountered. Mac users need a wake-up call about the growing malware problem.

Mac malware can spread via USB stick, email attachments, website download, or even a silent drive-by installation where the user doesn’t realize their Mac’s security has been subverted. Cybercriminals view Macs as a soft target, because their owners don’t typically run anti-virus software and are thought to have a higher level of disposable income than the typical Windows user. Mac users must protect their computers now or risk making the malware problem on Macs as big as the problem on PCs. The simple fact is that you can scan your Mac for infection from your armchair. The test is painless and free; you just download an anti-virus product and allow it to check your computer and protect it against infections in future."

The recent Flashback botnet, which inflicted more than 600,000 users, and fake anti-virus attacks, which scare users into handing over their credit card details, dominate the chart of Mac-based threats.
 
Top Mac OS X malware found on Mac computers (7-day snapshot of 100,000 Macs)-
 
OSX/Flashplayer75.1 per cent
OSX/FakeAV17.8 per cent
OSX/RSPlug5.5 per cent
OSX/Jahlav1.2 per cent
Others0.4 per cent

One in five Macs users who downloaded and scanned their system found Windows malware on Mac computers
 
Top Windows malware found on Mac computers (7-day snapshot of 100,000 Macs)-
 
Mal/Bredo12.2 per cent
Mal/Phish 7.4 per cent
Mal/FakeAV3.8 per cent
Troj/ObfJS  3.6 per cent
Mal/ASFDldr3.3 per cent
Troj/Invo3.0 per cent
Troj/Wimad 2.6 per cent
Mal/Iframe 1.5 per cent
Mal/JavaGen1.4 per cent
Others 61.2 per cent

 
Some of the malware discovered by Sophos on the 100,000 Mac computers sampled dates back to 2007, and would have been easily detected if the users had run an anti-virus product sooner. Bredo, a family of malicious programs sent out via spam, accounts for 12.2 percent of malware detected on Mac computers. The first Bredo variant was detected in 2009, and since then, countless variants have been released. Only last week, it was used in a malicious email campaign that purported to have attached a compromising picture

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