Eric Thayer / Stringer
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Oscar Williams

News editor

Malware attacks on Macs are becoming increasingly common

The number of malware attacks on Macs is rising rapidly, according to new research from Malwarebytes.

A survey of the security firm’s users revealed that more Mac-based malware was seen in the second quarter of this year than in the entirety of 2016.

The number of new Mac-based malware families is also rising, with more detected so far this year than in any previous year.

Malwarebytes’ researchers say the data debunks the myth that Macs are invulnerable to viruses. “Mac threats are not taken seriously enough in the security community today,” said Thomas Reed, director of mac and mobile at Malwarebytes.

“Adware and potentially unwanted programs are becoming a major problem for Mac users. Some very popular apps have been known to carry these threats and despite protections in place, the App Store is not immune to these threats,” he added.

Incidents of Android ransomware have also shot up, with detections rising by 138 per cent between the first and second quarter of 2017.

The operating system has fallen victim to a number of high profile malware attacks in the last few years. One of the most widespread is a strain dubbed Judy, which was delivered via app downloads and has infected up to 36.5 million devices.

Malwarebytes published its research to coincide with the launch of two new products: Malwarebytes for Mac and Malwarebytes for Android.

“Windows devices are no longer the sole victims of damaging malware attacks, as strategic attacks on android devices are rapidly on the rise,” said Armando Orozco, a researcher at Malwarebytes. “Android users need to remain alert and proactively guard their identity and data on the go, just as they do on their computers at home.”