Mac OS X users face fewer malware threats, but they are there

An urban legend that persists is that Macs don’t get malware. While it’s true that the rates are much lower than for other operating systems and devices, a report reveals the average Mac user is still under attack. 

According to Kaspersky, the average Mac user encountered nine malware attempts in 2014. This was less prevalent than Windows or mobile operating systems, but still reached one out of every two Kaspersky Lab user.

The most common attacks were  adware attacks would change bookmarks, add a default search engine or otherwise attempt to get advertisements on users’ systems. Other attacks included Trojans and more malicious programs such as WireLurker, which installs third-party apps on devices when phones or other iOS devices are plugged into the computer.

Battling complacency

Clearly, Macs come under attack much less frequently than their Windows counterparts. And Android still leads in mobile malware attempts.

But the idea of anyone being completely safe from malware is wildly optimistic – and dangerous. Believing you’re immune from malware attacks often leads to unsafe browsing habits.

Remind users of the dangers by:

  • Keeping in front of them. Security training isn’t a one-time event. It should be ongoing with shared articles or stories following current events.
  • Making the message cross-platform. Remind users that anything that connects to the Internet can be target to attack (Apple, Windows, mobile, desktop, etc.). They need to be thinking about implementing security best practices no matter what device they’re on.
  • Focusing on the biggest risks. While it’s possible that Macs will be targeted, the primary target is still Windows devices. Make Macs part of your security mission, but remember to give the most advice on the devices most at risk.

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