Apple's OS X faced an increasing number of malicious attacks in the past year with antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab noting roughly 3.7 million infection attempts blocked by its software, the firm reports in its 2014 Security Bulletin (via The Telegraph). The annual report quantifies malicious activity by analyzing attacks blocked by Kaspersky's anti-malware products.

According to the 2014 report, the average Mac user faced nine threats in the past year. The study tracked nearly 1500 new malware programs targeting OS X over the past year, 200 more than in the previous year. More than half of the detected malicious threats were AdWare modules that add links to default browser bookmark lists, change the default browser search engine, and insert advertising links in order to generate ad revenue.

osx-threats
Other more serious but less prevalent threats include a Trojan keylogger, a screenshot capture program, and the Wirelurker malware that attempts to steal data from iOS devices connected to a Mac. Though increasing, the number of malicious programs on OS X is lower than what is recorded on competing platforms such as Windows. Overall, Kaspersky Lab says its software blocked over six billion malware installation attempts over the past year, meaning that OS X remains a tiny fraction of devices being targeted.

As an antivirus vendor, Kaspersky Lab naturally has a vested interest in convincing customers to adopt its products, but it also puts the company in a good position to monitor threats and collect data from those using its tools.

Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
102 months ago
OS X remains a tiny fraction of devices in use. Go figure.
As marketshare increases (which has been happening for years), OS X will become a more enticing target - although at this point, Windows is so much larger, it would seem OS X would need to get a much larger PC market share (20%-30%) before it really gets put in the bad guys sights.
Hogwash. I'm sick of hearing this marketshare argument. How do you explain that before OS X, there were more viruses/malware threats on the Mac for OS 8 alone than there have been for OS X's decade+ old reign? This isn't about marketshare.

Here's the thing that people love to forget: OS X is damn secure. It's a UNIX system. Apple implement so many security features to prevent malware installations. They put additional sandboxes to ensure that if a malicious application is installed, it can't edit or access any of the really important stuff (protected by root, blah blah).

How many hackers out there would love to make a Mac-bricking virus? How many hackers would love to have that under their belt -- those brilliant brownie points of screwing a smug Mac users' computer. But it hasn't been done -- yet.

And that's down to marketshare? No, it's because OS X is difficult, if not practically impossible, to hack. With every new iteration of OS X they make more under-the-hood changes. With Mavericks they even changed how third-party apps used Accessibility features, to increase security.

Fact is: Windows is easy to screw. You can delete some registry entries even without admin privileges. All the services are stored in the registry. Windows updates, every single core function, or file allocation, is buried somewhere in the registry. The amount of times I've remoted into a computer to see the Windows Firewall/Update service deleted. Not 'disabled', full on deleted. Simply a folder deleted from the registry, and boom -- a right PITA to fix.

Microsoft are an utter joke when it comes to things like this. Using the marketshare argument is frankly a total insult to the OS X programmers, Apple's mentality, and people who get inundated with calls about malware/viruses on Windows PCs.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gmcalpin Avatar
102 months ago
You're right, OSX is very secure and stable, but OSX is still only around 5-7% of the market. That always has been a factor and remains so. We're just not worth the effort for them.
That's nonsense. The first hacker to hit a huge percentage of Macs to "prove" that they're insecure would have HUGE bragging rights, regardless of the install base.

That doesn't happen because they can't. Period.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nunyabinez Avatar
102 months ago
Mac Users better thank the Unix Kernel and GateKeeper2 Technology for only have just 9 malware virus. I can only image Windows.

Please be careful with the terminology you use. Malware =/= virus. I am still unaware of any legitimate virus on a Mac, i.e. malicious software that attacks without intervention from the user.

On the other hand, no system is secure against malware, i.e. software that requires the user to install it. Granted it may be very sneaky about it, but the only way bad software gets on a Mac is if a careless or ignorant user puts in on. And I don't mean ignorant in a pejorative way, just a not aware way.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
H2SO4 Avatar
102 months ago
……...OS X remains a tiny fraction of devices being targeted.
OS X remains a tiny fraction of devices in use. Go figure.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Intelligent Avatar
102 months ago
And their users are typically painted as people with money to burn who less computer savvy. Seems like a prime set of targets.

This is a myth, mac users are in no way less tech savvy than windows users in general.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lincolntran Avatar
102 months ago
Hogwash. I'm sick of hearing this marketshare argument. How do you explain that before OS X, there were more viruses/malware threats on the Mac for OS 8 alone than there have been for OS X's decade+ old reign? This isn't about marketshare.

Here's the thing that people love to forget: OS X is damn secure. It's a UNIX system. Apple implement so many security features to prevent malware installations. They put additional sandboxes to ensure that if a malicious application is installed, it can't edit or access any of the really important stuff (protected by root, blah blah).

How many hackers out there would love to make a Mac-bricking virus? How many hackers would love to have that under their belt -- those brilliant brownie points of screwing a smug Mac users' computer. But it hasn't been done -- yet.

And that's down to marketshare? No, it's because OS X is difficult, if not practically impossible, to hack. With every new iteration of OS X they make more under-the-hood changes. With Mavericks they even changed how third-party apps used Accessibility features, to increase security.

Fact is: Windows is easy to screw. You can delete some registry entries even without admin privileges. All the services are stored in the registry. Windows updates, every single core function, or file allocation, is buried somewhere in the registry. The amount of times I've remoted into a computer to see the Windows Firewall/Update service deleted. Not 'disabled', full on deleted. Simply a folder deleted from the registry, and boom -- a right PITA to fix.

Microsoft are an utter joke when it comes to things like this. Using the marketshare argument is frankly a total insult to the OS X programmers, Apple's mentality, and people who get inundated with calls about malware/viruses on Windows PCs.

Market share argument is easier to digest for non-OSX crowd, not the truth.

The truth is, OS X is damn secure and stable, but the majority of windows users (who like the market share argument) are not ready to admit it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...