"Hello, I'm a Mac, and I don't get viruses." We've all heard that phrase before, right? Some of the crazier people even believed that. Well, for a long time here at the show, we've talked about the hows and whys of that statement. Whether it be a low popularity, lack of interest or all-around uncaring nature, hackers never seemed to want to bother creating viruses and malware on Apple devices. It surely wasn't because their operating system was indestructible or that their nonexistent virus protection was unbeatable. It simply was because, that with 90% of all computers having Windows on it, it seemed like a waste of time to build a separate malicious program for Mac.
With the recent increase in popularity of all things shiny in the Apple world, hackers, now more than ever, have taken interest in the Mac OS. I mean, when you have so many mindless sheep who flock to a product because one latte-sipping schmuck at Starbucks says it's the best, why wouldn't you want to suck the confidence right from that "I wear clothes that make me look homeless but call it retro" individual, along with their money?
So, that's exactly what is happening now. How are they doing it? We'll tell you after the break.
What is the perfect way to use the power of the media saying that Macs are getting more and more viruses to benefit you, Mr. Hacker? Fake antivirus programs, of course!
McAfee has reported that more and more of the fake antivirus programs keep popping up across all different types of Mac hardware, and it's all due to the Mac getting more and more popular, regardless of whatever the reason may be.
Dino Dai Zovi, co-author of The Mac Hacker's Handbook said,
Only once a platform has a certain level of market share does it become profitable for malware to attack it. As the Mac becomes more popular there will be more and more threats.
McAfee has said that these malicious programs have been downloaded, like all of the Windows malware, through links from hacked search engine results, emails, Twitter and Facebook spam. Once installed, the program can then grab whatever data it wants to and send it all over the world.
The programs also work in a different way. A message will pop up saying that they have a virus on their computer and that to remove it, the user will have to pay anywhere from $50-$100 for a program that they would install. The message would then go away, but the malware could still operate in the background.
Of course, this is all information that the savvy Windows users are already aware of and have installed antivirus software to protect us from, among other precautions. However, for the Mac user, there's only a handful of companies that have functional and reliable antivirus software. Mac enthusiasts still believe that the built-in safety features are enough to stop the current stream of malicious attacks, but there will soon come a day when these people will have to come out of whatever rocks they hid under 25 years ago and realize more levels of protection will be needed for their beloved operating system. Until then, Windows users will emit a small cheer of victory as the enemy can no longer use this as a reason to claim false superiority over us!