Viruses and Malware Come to Mac Computers
I’ve been pointing out for years that Mac’s are not immune to virus and malware attacks. Rather, Mac users have been enjoying “security through obscurity”.
There have long been “proof-of-concept” viruses created for Macs by hackers who, rather than wanting to do harm, simply wanted to show that such was possible. Similarly, hackers have broken into Macs simply to prove that it was easy to do so.
If the point of a virus is to self-propagate and infect as many machines as possible, and while Macs have traditionally comprised less than 4% of the market share of personal computers, why would virus creators target Macs?
Ironically, the fact that there have been relatively no viruses in the wild that affect Macs has been one of the selling advantages that have helped drive up the sale of Mac computers in recent years.
I’ve been wondering how long it will take for the Mac platform to reach critical mass and attract the lure of malicious programmers. Apparently, the time is sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, Apple are taking steps to address the growing threats to Macs. They’ve quietly introduced rudimentary malware scanning in Snow Leopard, and continue to add virus signatures for new threats as they emerge. And there are already a number of third-party antivirus programs for the Mac by companies such as Symantec, Sophos and Intego.
No need to panic. If you’re running Snow Leopard, simply hit your Software Update utility. If you’re running an older version of OS X, sorry, I’m not sure if Apple have made malware scanning available to your system yet.