Are You a MAC User? Reports Show Threats Grew 400% in 2019; More Dangerous Than Windows OS

Published on February 17, 2020

How safe is Apple’s Mac OS? Probably not as safe as you think. While Apple is the popular kid in the computer world, they’re hardly the safest.

Recently, Mac computer threats have risen 400%, according to USA Today, making them far more dangerous and vulnerable than the average Windows. Use a Mac with caution. 

The Threat

A new report on malware from a cybersecurity company, Malwarebytes, reports that a Mac is far more dangerous than the average consumer assumed. They are more susceptible to threats than Windows PCs. Now, most Mac threats are not as dangerous as malware.

Still, as the damning report points out, the dangers cannot be ignored: 

“What we saw was a virtual landslide of adware and PUP (potentially unwanted programs) detections, far outpacing growth on the Windows side. While these threats are not considered as dangerous as traditional malware, they are becoming a much larger and more noticeable nuisance for Mac users, who can no longer say that their beloved systems are immune from malware.”

The Threat of Apple

Apple products continue to become less safe as the years go by. In only a span of two years, Mac saw a 400% increase in potential dangers and Malwarebytes software. Mac is now officially at the top of Malwarebytes’ overall threat detections list. It’s very embarrassing for Apple and not something a Genius Bar will ever tell a consumer: 

Thomas Reed, who contributed to the report, told Recode

“There is a rising tide of Mac threats hitting a population that still believes that ‘Macs don’t get viruses. I still frequently encounter people who firmly believe this, and who believe that using any kind of security software is not necessary, or even harmful. This makes macOS a fertile ground for the influx of new threats, whereas it’s common knowledge that Windows PCs need security software.”

Apple’s Response

Apple, of course, is pointing the finger elsewhere. It’s taking little responsibility for the uprise in dangers facing their products and customers.

Oh and it’s definitely not the first time Apple has played dumb. Apple reps told USA Today it’s because of “suspicious” software from developers and programs that are deceptive or expensive to remove. Again, it’s always somebody else’s fault.

According to Apple, when developers become a part of the Apple Developer Program, they must accept the Program License Agreement, which Apple says is “ensure that their software is safe and secure for their users.”

Apple’s reps added:

They also agree to cooperate with Apple systems … designed to help protect users from malware (e.g., viruses, trojan horses, backdoors, ransomware, spyware) or malicious, suspicious, or harmful code or components when distributing Developer ID–signed Mac software outside the Mac App Store.

This is another reason why Apple and its products nag customers about constantly updating their systems, although that can often open a can of worms, too. Especially on older Apple products. The product line just isn’t as reliable as they should be, given the cost. 

But What Accounts for the 400% Spike?

To add more fuel to the fire, iPhones aren’t safe from malware either. It’s not just apple computers at risk. There have already been countless horror stories about iPhones and photos hacked. We’ve all seen it happen to celebrities. It’s horrifying, 1984 drama, and Apple is at fault.

As it increases market share, Macs get attacked more and draw more cybercriminals. The “MacOS” security systems aren’t hard enough on adware and PUPs as they are on malware, which leaves holes for cyber attacks to occur. Mac users should be especially wary of ad scams. 

Since 2010, Macs have steadily become less safe. One option is to add extra security. Malwarebytes, for example, offers consumers free protection with Anti-Malware for Mac. There’s an average of 11 threats per every mac device.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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