Edit: Some changes to the wording and formatting of the article.

Ian Barker of betanews reports that, according to a recent report by Kaspersky, Mac related viruses are increasing significantly over Windows viruses. This was a report done by the annual threat rate scale indicating nearly double the threat rate for Mac viruses. Mac’s average was 11, and Windows was 5.9. Overall, it’s a 400% raise “year-on-year”, which is highly unusual for any person knowing how secure Apple’s systems are. The more problematic virus type for Mac, Android, and Windows is adware, a virus which injects unnecessary advertisements in browsers including extensions and toolbars. These types of viruses are difficult to remove by normal means.

“It’s generally been accepted that Mac systems are much safer than Windows, but that could be starting to change as a new report shows Mac threats are growing faster than their Windows counterparts for the first time ever.”

– Ian Barker, betanews https://betanews.com/2020/02/11/mac-threats-overtake-windows/ | Accessed 2/11/2020

What should Mac users be worried about? Well, for one thing, Mac systems never really relied much on antiviruses based off the security levels set on a Mac. [Users who use] Windows systems seem to use an antivirus or antimalware a lot often, thereby decreasing the risk of an infection outbreak. The greater threat are large businesses using an outdated OS, which is why some recent Ransomware based viruses managed to target large businesses, some even on the federal scale.

Windows systems continue to remain vulnerable with an 13% increase adware rate, alongside a 463% rate for businesses. While Mac systems aren’t too vulnerable to adware, it seems that isn’t the case. Adware consists of 7/10 of the consumer and 5/10 of the business threat families in talking of the “Top 10” system.

It isn’t adware that Mac is worried about. PUP, or Potentially Unwanted Program, is also on the rise of Mac systems. While they may seem like questionable programs to many antivirus software, according to Malwarebytes, may also be bundled with adware, spyware, or other equivalent viruses, the file may also potentially be a trojan without significant infection such as using an unusual installer, pushing fake products, or making it difficult for users. Personally, PUP files can easily cause a lot of logs onto your registry system, thus making it a little difficult for it to be removed. Not all PUP files are malicious, and some may generally be considered false positives. Depending on where you get the source, it may be considered a PUP or a virus because it’s not very commonly associated with a setup file system or the code appears suspicious. You should treat all PUP as malware and work to remove them as well as finding more legitimate sources for programs classified as “PUP” that you feel are false positives.

“Analyzing and categorizing potentially unwanted software is a complex problem. Developers of potentially unwanted software rapidly evolve their products. Some even contain a few characteristics that resemble legitimate software to mask the unwanted functionality.”

– Malwarebytes https://www.malwarebytes.com/pup/ | Accessed 2/11/2020

What can you do to protect yourself from adware especially on the evergrowing Mac systems? The most recommended choice is to install an antivirus. One of the more recommended antiviruses for Mac is Kaspersky Security Cloud for the free users, alongside Malwarebytes for antimalware. It’s really common advice to avoid suspicious links, and don’t download from sites you don’t trust, but in all personal standards: You should verify that where you’re downloading from is legitimate, and if they have a means of contact, it should be only one step to verifying what you are downloading is secure. Programs can also suffer hacks and be infected, so make sure to verify that the programs you downloaded is within a reasonable size. Most programs infected are smaller sized than the official size of the program. If you do not trust the file and you have a sandbox based program, open the file in the sandbox program. If you plan to use a virual machine, make sure to disconnect the VM from the network to avoid getting infected on your host system as well as infecting other systems within your network. (i.e. Avast Sandbox, VMWare, Oracle VirtualBox)

It should still be considered that Apple’s systems are relatively safe as long as you reasonably protect yourself, as Apple has their own safeguards, but it’s about time you start getting serious with your Mac system. Get that antivirus on there, and you don’t need to worry about losing a lot of the precious data you have stored. Be smart, not sorry.

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