Current trends in Mac security threats


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Current trends involving Mac threats indicate that while attempts are on the rise, users remain the first line of defense — particularly as “show up when you want to” (SUWYWT) becomes the future of work.

The security risk remains

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, we saw multiple businesses invest in VPN software and new hardware as they equipped employees to work from home. In the UK, for example, Starling Bank claimed it purchased every available MacBook as the pandemic struck.

Now that working from home (WFH) is normalized, there’s a need to take stock of security concerns and remind employees of good security procedure on all platforms, including Macs. Apple’s platform seems to have enjoyed incredibly strong sales as companies upgraded for WFH, but even with better inherent security those Macs must also be protected.

The Mac is not invulnerable, and the frequency of attacks against it is growing, according to Thomas Reed, director of Mac & Mobile at Malwarebytes who spoke at the JNUC event last week.

According to Reed, Mac detections per machine are now almost twice as high as for Windows. “Mac detections for 2019 were about four times higher than 2018,” he said.

There’s a lot of reasons for this, of course, not least that the installed user base of Macs is growing. The other motivation is that the quality and value of the data on those Macs is higher, reflecting the wealthier user base. Numerous banks have consolidated around the Mac, which makes them a tempting target.