macOS had the least malware infections in 2022

Posted:
in macOS edited November 15
A new global threat report paints an ugly picture for Microsoft as Windows continues to have the most malware infections, while macOS had the least malware.

Macs continue to be safe from malware
Macs continue to be safe from malware


Elastic Security Labs published a cybersecurity report on Tuesday that examines popular operating systems and the threats they have received. The company also includes forecasts and recommendations for enterprise customers.

As usual, macOS is at the bottom of the list, even beating Linux, meaning it saw the least amount of security threats. The numbers show that 54% of all malware infections were found on Windows, 39.4% were found on Linux, and macOS only had 6.2% of infections.

Trojans were responsible for most infections, coming in at 80.5%. A Trojan is a piece of software that pretends to be benign but hides malware inside that activates once a user runs the program.

The researchers found that MacKeeper was the biggest threat for Mac users as an attack vector for malware. MacKeeper has a bad history that involved aggressive advertising, and some versions left Macs vulnerable to attack from malware.

The MacKeeper program is often seen as malware, or used to spread malware
The MacKeeper program is often seen as malware, or used to spread malware


The report mentions that attackers can abuse MacKeeper since it has extensive permissions and access to macOS processes and files.

It also warns that macOS cryptominers could become more prevalent in malware for Apple's platform. Cryptomining malware or "cryptojacking" is a malicious program that uses a computer to secretly "mine" a cryptocurrency without the user's consent.

Mining takes up most or all of the computer's resources, such as GPU or CPU performance, slowing down the system.

Besides those specific references, macOS wasn't mentioned much in the report. It shows that Mac users don't have a whole lot to worry about when it comes to malware infections.

Craig Federighi, Apple's head of software engineering said in 2021 that the platform has an unacceptable level of malware, or at least worse than iOS. But macOS has built-in protections for users, including antivirus software, verification of apps from known developers, and filesystem encryption.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,057member
    Not a surprise to most of us. It’s always been this way. 
    jas99lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    JP234JP234 Posts: 532member
    When I was working for an Apple VAR some years ago, we were inundated with customers who had downloaded MacKeeper. While not a virus per se, it is definitely a virus vector, and these unfortunate dupes were experiencing malfunctions caused by the lousy code in MacKeeper, with malware attacks from hackers piggybacking on that bad code. As an Apple authorized service provider, we charged them $29 to remove all traces that MK hides away in the OS. Just deleting it won't do a thing. If you don't get it all, it just regenerates itself.

    Lesson: never download anything you don't need, no matter how much the vendor tells you that you need it.
    flashfan207jas99sphericlolliverFileMakerFellerbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,172member
    rob53 said:
    Not a surprise to most of us. It’s always been this way. 
    The critics will still claim security through obscurity even though macOS has been on the rise for years now.
    jas99FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,172member
    JP234 said:
    When I was working for an Apple VAR some years ago, we were inundated with customers who had downloaded MacKeeper. While not a virus per se, it is definitely a virus vector, and these unfortunate dupes were experiencing malfunctions caused by the lousy code in MacKeeper, with malware attacks from hackers piggybacking on that bad code. As an Apple authorized service provider, we charged them $29 to remove all traces that MK hides away in the OS. Just deleting it won't do a thing. If you don't get it all, it just regenerates itself.

    Lesson: never download anything you don't need, no matter how much the vendor tells you that you need it.
    At least self-replicating, self-propagating true viruses are no longer a real threat any more. Malware and adware downloaded by gullible users are the norm these days.
    jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,575member
    I find that MalwareBytes (which was originally invented as a tool to completely remove MacKeeper) routinely catches stuff the others (McAfee, Norton, et al) miss, and doesn't slow down the machine at all as those others do. Mostly the threat to Mac users is "annoyware" like browser hijacks that aren't actually harmful, and (as seen in the chart above) the evil MacKeeper.

    IMHO, MalwareBytes is the best option on the market for Mac users.
    jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    jas99jas99 Posts: 120member
    What about Sophos? Is it as good as some say it is?
    surgefilterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    macOS has always been a small target for malware because of the comparatively small install base.

    Windows is the most popular commercial OS, macOS is the least popular, and Linux is high value because it's usually used by businesses.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,057member
    lkrupp said:
    rob53 said:
    Not a surprise to most of us. It’s always been this way. 
    The critics will still claim security through obscurity even though macOS has been on the rise for years now.
    Doesn't matter what critics claim, the numbers prove the situation. I've seen way too many people and businesses still using XP and I doubt these systems have had security updates.

    I do remember the days when Microsoft and Symantec were the most prolific means to attack a Mac. Seeing Mackeeper at the top shows that Apple is not the company creating the attack vectors but commercial products are. Theres no way to find every single bug in an operating system but "trojans" (see article) and phishing still outweigh any actual macOS bugs.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    thttht Posts: 4,630member
    It would be helpful if the data was presented as infections per computer. If it is just total infections, it's just a population metric, which doesn't say much about how this or that computer is susceptible to malware.
    FileMakerFellerbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    JP234JP234 Posts: 532member
    You have to ask yourself two questions when it comes to malware and viruses:
    1) Who would best understand who to write bad code?
    2) Who would profit from writing bad code then scaring people into buying their software to prevent it?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    It would also be helpful if the infection rate were expressed as a percentage of the installed base of each OS.  It looks like these percentages are fractions of the total number of infections, regardless of OS.

    54% of all malware infections were found on Windows, 39.4% were found on Linux, and macOS only had 6.2% of infections.


    watto_cobra
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