macOS malware detection grew 744% in 2016

- Adrian Ungureanu

Apple’s software platforms became more and more attractive to cybercriminals in the past few years. They are still very clean in comparison with the Windows and Android platforms, but the evolution of malware threats for macOS in 2016 rises some concerns.

The latest McAfee Threat Report shows that macOS malware grew by 744% in 2016, with around 460,000 instances detected. The numbers, even though growing are still tiny, in comparison with what happens on other platforms.

All malware detected last year combined totaled more than 600 million instances. Of this, around 15 million examples were mobile malware – almost all of it Android.

The large increase in macOS malware was mostly due to adware bundling – software that results in Mac users being exposed to ads rather than risks to their machines.

More worrying examples of Mac malware do exist, however, such as the January attack which hijacked Safari and the Apple Mail app to cause infected machines to crash, the Fruitfly malware used to attack Macs in biomedical research institutions and a Word macro targeted specifically at Macs.