Macs And Malware: Mac Defender is Only the Beginning

Mac FlagMalware on the Mac. To some it is as fanciful an idea as dragons or honest politicians. To others it’s a growing concern.

Just to be up front about things I drive both Mac and PC. I use both in my home office on a regular basis and there are different things I like about each. Unlike many of the starry eyed Mac fanbase I don’t see it as a perfect platform. An excellent one, yes. A perfect one, no. The idea that Macs are impervious to viruses and malware is one I frankly find laughable.

I’ve long said that as Mac consumes more and more market share it would eventually attract hackers and their ilk. You see there is a heavy element of ego involved with the efforts of most hackers, and since Windows machine make up the vast majority of the computers in use it is easy to see that the most widespread chaos could be caused by going after that OS.

Mac’s increased market share is probably behind the recent Mac Defender scare. Malware for the Mac has now arrived and the public is slowly becoming aware of it.

Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica brings us the money quote in her recent piece on the subject:

In fact, users should remain cautious even without MAC Defender on the loose, warns repeat Pwn2Own champion and security expert Charles Miller. He pointed out that we Mac users are no more secure than our Windows-using counterparts, and that we’ve just been getting lucky up until this point.

“Mac OS X is no more secure than any other operating system. It has vulnerabilities, and it will let you download and run malware,” Miller told Ars. “The difference is that there simply isn’t that much malware written for it. The bad guys have focused all their energies at Windows, which makes up the vast majority of the computers out there. However, as market share for Macs continues to inch up, that equation is going to change and bad guys will begin to focus in on Macs, if that hasn’t already started to happen. And as I mentioned above, Macs are no more inherently secure than Windows, so when the bad guys decide to go after them with gusto, it’ll get ugly fast.”

Go give the whole thing a read, Mac-users.

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Image: Pete Prodoehl /Creative Commons license


  1. I’ve been meaning to say this ever since the day you put this post up, George: awesome reappropriation of the Black Flag logo. Made my day.

  2. Strangely enough it was finding that image on Flickr that inspire the post, believe it or not! (One should always be open to inspiration from strange places!)

  3. Flickr is the modern day equivalent of tea leaves – projecting your desires, thoughts, and concerns on pictures instead of sodden leaves. :)

  4. I’d say that is true of social media in general. I’ve often used StumbleUpon or random Twitter surfing for the same purposes.

    Great analogy, btw!

  5. Thanks, Loki. And I agree that SM is a constant source of inspiration – it’s like a previously-undiscovered, idiot muse that had been slumped in the corner all along, eyes screen-focused, inspiring in short bursts.

    I dub her Thalia-Calliope-Melpomene-Euterpe, the second. :P

  6. Wonderful! Although I’d have to say that social media is closer to Mnemosyne than the muses themselves.

  7. I think that seems pretty accurate.

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