Mac virus development soared by 1000% in 2020, making it a target platform for hackers and cybercriminals worldwide.
We’re talking about new MacBooks with Apple’s M1 processor, but they are already the target of new viruses; The fact that they use a different processor architecture has not prevented this type of development.
Mac in general has become a more attractive platform for hackers and attackers as a result of its increased popularity; And as a result, viruses and malware designed for macOS are becoming more and more common.
What we may not have been aware of is the magnitude of the situation. Now, a study by Atlas VPN claims that never before have so many Mac viruses been found.
The study claims that macOS malware development skyrocketed 1000% in 2020 over the same period last year. To better understand what we are talking about, it should be noted that in previous years the presence of malware designed only for Mac was really rare on the Internet.
The researchers found that more malware had been created in 2020 alone than in the entire period between 2012 (the first year with data) and 2019; Indeed, even if we compiled all the malware created in the last decade, we wouldn’t come close to the figure obtained in 2020.
In numbers, 674,273 new samples of malware designed for macOS were recorded in 2020; In 2019, just over 56,000 samples were recorded. That’s quite a record that no other year can reach, or even come close to; So far, the worst year for Mac malware was 2018, when more than 92,000 samples were recorded.
Still far from Windows
To explain the reasons behind this unusual growth, Atlas VPN researchers point to the fact that it’s easier to create malware than ever before. Today’s hackers don’t need advanced programming skills to discover and exploit security holes in the system.
Instead, malware has become just another product that can be purchased on the so-called ‘Dark Web‘; It is on these forums and websites that ready-to-run code is offered, easily adaptable to different targets. What’s more, such code is easy to modify to create new types of threats, for which systems are unprepared.
It should be made clear that, while this rise in Mac malware is surprising, it is still far behind Windows; Microsoft’s system is still by far the most used, so it’s not surprising that it is also the most attacked, on a different order of magnitude.
No less than 91,05 million new malware samples were recorded in 2020; That’s an average of almost 250,000 new threats developed every day. That’s 135 times the number that Mac computers suffered.
Threats against Windows 10 also grew in 2020, but not at the same rate; Compared to the previous year, it’s barely a 2.22% growth. But when we’re talking about numbers in the millions range, that’s little consolation. At the very least, it means that the increase in computer usage and sales from confinement and telecommuting hasn’t translated into more threats developed in response.