Mac malware surges over 1000% in 2020, claims study

Apple, Cybersecurity, News

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According to an Atlas VPN investigation, the development of macOS malware surged by 1,092% in 2020. To be exact, 674,273 new malware samples were found in 2020, when there were only 56,556 samples detected in 2019.

Malware, or malicious software, is a collective term for all kinds of threats. Microsoft lumps malware into thirteen distinct categories: backdoors, downloaders, droppers, exploits, hack tools, macro viruses, obfuscators, password stealers, ransomware, rogue security software, trojans, trojan clickers, and worms.

Coming back to the numbers, the development of malicious software for Apple’s desktop operating system macOS spread like wildfire in 2020, amounting to a historic high of 674,273 samples.

According to Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN:

“Contributing to this record surge in threats is the fact that new malicious software is now easier to engineer than ever before. 

“Nowadays, hackers do not even need advanced programming skills since they can purchase a ready-made malware code, tailor it to their needs with a little bit of coding and establish a completely new threat.”

Interestingly, if we add up all the new malware since the beginning of measurement in 2012, we get 219,257 samples, which is still well below last year’s numbers. From 2012 until 2019, new malware’s development reached the maximum high of 92,570 samples per year.

Windows malware in the millions

However, even though macOS malware development surged to record-highs, hackers still abuse Windows users much more often. Data shows that a record-high of 91.05 million new Windows malware samples were discovered in 2020.

In other words, cybercriminals developed an average of 249,452 threats per day.

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Chris Price
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