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Mac Computer Users Experiencing a Sharp Rise in Malicious Cyber Attacks

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, October 9 2012

Mac computers have long been considered far more secure than those on the Windows operating system. Over the past year, however, there has been a sharp rise in the number of malware attacks directed at Mac users — particularly those who work for human rights organization, reports Andy Greenberg for Forbes.

At the SecTor conference in Toronto last week, security researcher Seth Hardy of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab research center warned that 2012 has seen a significant increase in new variants of targeted, Mac-focused malware reported to the group by the human rights organizations it seeks to aid. Over the year so far, it’s seen five new types of espionage malware for Apple’s operating system appear, compared with just one in 2011 and none in prior years.

It turns out that Macs were not less vulnerable because of superior engineering, but because Apple had a smaller market share. Now that it is the computer of choice for NGOs — particularly human rights organizations — Mac users are feeling the heat.

In June, even Apple itself tacitly admitted that its machines are being increasingly targeted by malware when it deleted a long standing claim on its website stating that Macs “don’t get PC viruses”–a clear a sign as any that the sense of security afforded by Windows’ larger temptation to hackers no longer offers Mac users real protection.

“People ask me, ‘Are Mac users no longer safe?’,” Hardy says. “Despite that smug feeling of superiority and increased security, Mac users have never been safe. They just weren’t as vulnerable as Windows users.”

Might be a good idea for Mac users to find the nearest CryptoParty.