Mac Threats Growing Faster than Windows Counterparts 

For years, Mac users have been comforted by the idea that Mac products are more secure than their Windows Counterparts. That trend may be over. Recent reports show that, for the first time ever, Macs outpaced Windows PCs in the number of threats detected per endpoint.

What the Research Shows 

A February 2020, “State of Malware Report for 2020” from Malwarebytes, an antivirus software developer, suggests that Mac malware is growing much more common. In fact, Malwarebytes detected 11 threats per endpoint for its Mac users, compared to 5.8 for its Windows users. The Mac threats were up quite a bit from the 4.8 threats detected per endpoint in 2018. This nearly double threat level is the first of its kind for Mac users. Overall, Mac threats increased by more than 400 percent, year-over-year.

Apple product on couch

Apple's Reaction

In response to these rather startling numbers, Apple has responded with data to explain the increase. The company noted that the sharp rise is partly influenced by its increase in macOS customers last year.  In addition, the company noted that, “This data only includes threats detected by the Malwarebytes software, of course, and it is limited to Mac users who have Malwarebytes installed. Many Mac users may not install antivirus software like Malwarebytes until there's a sign of something wrong, so it's important to take that into account when viewing these numbers.” Apple also made sure to distinguish that the majority of the threats were Adware. In their most recent version of MacRumors they marked that, “Adware overall was more aggressive in 2019, targeting consumer and business endpoints on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. There were a total of 24 million Windows adware detections and 30 million Mac detections, with the top consumer threat detections belonging to adware families.”

apple phone

What Does This Mean for Mac? 

Mac users should no longer be lulled into complacency that they are safe merely by having a Mac. The Apple logo on the machine is no reason to feel that your devices are 100% secure.  It is also important to note that most Mac threats are not as dangerous as some of the threats detected on Windows machines and consist of adware and potentially unwanted programs.  Mac users often don’t install antivirus software like Malwarebytes until there's a sign of something wrong. It’s important to take into account that the statistics above include both users who do install antivirus and those who do not. The data only includes threats detected by the Malwarebytes software, so that may account for some of the increase.  All users should remain vigilant by installing all software updates, patches, and any antivirus programs that are available. If you have questions about these increases, talk to our team at Spectra Networks about how you can strengthen your system.