For years, Apple prided itself on the security of its computers, sometimes satirizing its competitor, the PC, through ads meant to show how Macs were more stylish and easier to use.
But like the mid-'90s Macintosh TV, those ads and the accompanying bragging have pretty much disappeared. Now, a report from a well-known anti-malware software company might explain why: Macs are twice as likely as PCs to get infected by adware.
According to research by Malwarebytes, threats to Mac computers increased by 400 percent in 2019. On average, PCs detected 5.8 threats per system in 2019, compared with 11.0 such threats to Macs. A year earlier, the Mac figure stood at just 4.8 threats.
It should be noted that most threats to Macs come in a somewhat different form to those to PCs, although both can be classified as adware or potentially unwanted programs. In its report, Malwarebytes highlighted the apparent change in the computer environment. "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 company said. Overall, Malwarebytes said it detected 30 million threats to Apple computers and 24 million threats to PCs.
Macs (and PCs) under attack:
- Threats to business computers increased by 13 percent in 2019, while threats to personal computers declined by 2 percent.
- Most computer threats were directed at North American users (48 percent), while users in the Asia-Pacific region were safest, with 12 percent of the threats.
- So-called "Ransomware" threats against organizations "remain higher than we've ever seen." For example, Ryuk (a specific form of Ransomware) attacks leapt 543 percent from the last quarter of 2018 to 2019.