20% of all Macs Carrying Windows Malware, Says Sophos

20% of all Macs Carrying Windows Malware, Says Sophos

Apple users have generally eschewed anti-malware software and safe online practices, because “Macs don’t get viruses”. We’ve learned that’s a fallacy, of course, and Mac users would be wise to heed some advice about malware safety, but Sophos found that Macs were actually more likely to spread malware than be infected by it.

In a blog post that veered sharply and irretrievably into disturbing comparisons between computer malware and Chlamydia, security firm Sophos announced a study that found that of the 100,000 computers they surveyed (that were equipped with Sophos software), one in five had some kind of Windows malware lurking onboard.



(Yes, Sophos can benefit from making people scramble to buy security software. Yes, Sophos actually links to its own anti-malware software in the post announcing the findings. No, you should not disregard the findings or what they portend.)

Note well that Windows malware can’t do much to a Mac, but that doesn’t mean Mac users can’t be carriers for the stuff; all it takes is sharing a flash drive, sending an email attachment--any typical computer-to-computer communication, really.


Additionally, Sophos found that one in thirty-six (2.7%) Macs actually had Mac OS X-specific malware on board. Yep, the number of infected Macs is ten times smaller than the number of Macs carrying an infection.

Armed with that information, Mac users should take heed, be a good neighbor, and take precautions against malware. (No, it doesn’t have to be something made by Sophos. Nobody’s endorsing anybody here.)
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This reminds me of when I installed BitDefender on Linux (free for home users).

I don't typically use AV on Linux, because there really aren't any Linux "viruses" in the wild, but I thought it would be fun to see how well the product worked.

Much to my surprise, it found 8 viruses!

All of them were viruses for Windows (and unable to run on Linux), in attachments that had automagically been sent to my Thunderbird junk-email folder.

>> but that doesn’t mean Mac users can’t be carriers for the stuff; all it takes is sharing a flash drive,...

I'm going to go devil's advocate here and say that if someone on Windows runs an infected file and has no AV on their system, that's on them - not the Mac user.   I can explain...


>> sending an email attachment--any typical computer-to-computer communication, really.

By that argument, you must also insist that Cisco routers run Windows AV and scrub the data passing through them to protect the poor Windows OS.  Didn't any of the $200 people paid for the OS go towards security?  Why should the rest of the world protect the for-profit monopoly?

What's ridiculous is that this is typical news for most tech sites:  Throw "Mac" and "Virus" into a headline and suddenly it's big news - even when that news is really "Virus affects Windows - Mac maybe distantly involved maybe.".  Why?  If the Mac-iverse were burgeoning with viruses as people would like us to believe, these "Mac Virus" articles wouldn't really be news - would they?

Anyone who thinks that Mac's are just as vulnerable as Microsoft's OS, just look at the most common points of entry and consider which default browser people on each system are using:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_browsers#Security_and_vulnerabilities

 

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