Mac Threat Detections on the Rise in 2019 According to Malwarebytes Report

Mac threat detections were on the rise in 2019, according to data shared by Malwarebytes, a company that makes anti-malware software for Macs and Windows PCs.

Looking at the top 25 threat detections in 2019, six of those were Mac threats, with Mac threats accounting for 16 percent of total detections. Malwarebytes found this number significant because its Mac user base is 1/12 the size of the PC user base, but Malwarebytes does not provide direct year-over-year comparisons of Mac malware numbers.

macadware

Mac adware

Perhaps 16 percent doesn't sound impressive, but when you consider the number of devices on which these threats were detected, the results become extremely interesting. Although the total number of Mac threats is smaller than the total number of PC threats, so is the total number of Macs. Considering that our Mac user base is about 1/12 the size of our Windows user base, that 16 percent figure becomes more significant.

For the first time in 2019, Mac malware broke into the top five most-detected threats, accounting for the second and fifth-most detected threats during the year.

The number two malware was Mac adware known as NewTab, accounting for four percent of overall detections across platforms. NewTag is adware that uses browser extensions to modify the content of webpages, and it's found in Chrome. It is no longer able to be installed in Safari because of changes Apple has made to extensions.

The number five malware, PUP.PCVARK, was responsible for three precent of total detections. PUP.PCVARK (with PUP standing for potentially unwanted program) is a collection of Mac programs not intentionally installed by the user.

Malwarebytes says there were 9.8 detections per Mac in 2019, compared to 4.2 detections per device for Windows PCs. That may sound significant, but there are caveats with that data point.

macthreatdetections
All of the machines used for these figures have Malwarebytes installed, and Mac users tend to believe antivirus software is unnecessary. Macs represented in this data may have "already had some kind of suspected infection" prompting users to install the Malwarebytes software, which would skew the numbers.

For that reason, Malwarebytes believes the overall threat detection rate for all Macs is not as high as its data sample suggests.

Though Malwarebytes suggests Mac malware is on the rise, it's worth noting that the threats Macs are facing consist primarily of adware and "potentially unwanted programs." There are more nefarious malware programs able to infect Macs, but these are more targeted and limited in scope, so unlikely to affect most Mac users.

Top Rated Comments

Attirex Avatar
14 months ago
“Floors Are Dirtier Than Ever According to Swiffer Analysis.”
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Swazaloo Avatar
14 months ago
"Mac Threat Detections on the Rise" . -- Says company who stands to profit from people buying their software to treat said detections.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DoctorTech Avatar
14 months ago
So we have a scary looking chart but we don't really know if the data is accurate and some of what we are calling malware might be things users intentionally added to their browsers that we decided to call "potentially unwanted programs".

I have been a Malwarebytes user for several years now and I like their software but I hate this type of scare tactic "journalism" / marketing.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tuckerjj Avatar
14 months ago


So I guess the pre-installed Windows Defender is doing its job. I think its about time that macOS should have an in-house av. The first thing I did after setting up my Macbook Air was to install MalwareBytes and security apps from Objective-See.

It already has it, XProtect ('https://www.apple.com/business/docs/resources/macOS_Security_Overview.pdf').
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TomMcIn Avatar
14 months ago
Number 2 goes with Google Chrome so is really a Google problem. Would have been helpful if they told the readers how PUP.PCVARK gets on to a system.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lalatoon Avatar
14 months ago
So I guess the pre-installed Windows Defender is doing its job. I think its about time that macOS should have an in-house av. The first thing I did after setting up my Macbook Air was to install MalwareBytes and security apps from Objective-See.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro magsafe

MagSafe is Coming Back to the Mac: A Look Back at Apple's Original Magnetic Charging Technology

Friday January 15, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Surprise late night rumors last night provided us with our first in-depth look at what we can expect from the new MacBook Pro models that are coming in 2021, and there are some significant changes in the works. Along with additional ports, a new flat-edged design, and the removal of the Touch Bar, Apple's updated MacBook Pro machines will readopt MagSafe. MagSafe in the 2021 MacBook Pro...