Last friday, researchers at the security company F-secure announced that they’ve found some new malware for Mac. As of now, they know that the trojan opens pdf file to distract the user while it installs a back door.The pdf contains chinese text of a political nature, that is said to be offensive to some.
While it is not impossible to get viruses and malware on Macs, there is a general understanding that you don’t have to worry about it as much. Some naively think that this is because Macs are more secure. In reality, the Mac OS can be just as easily hacked as Windows.
The reason that Mac feels safer than Windows is simply because there aren’t as many malicious programs and viruses being developed to attack Mac. Windows PCs hold 90% of the market, and are therefor the bigger target. A hacker has very little monetary incentive to go after Mac because they hold such a small chunk of the market. No wonder earlier this year on the official Internet Explorer blog they stated that “1 out of every 14 programs downloaded is later confirmed as malware” (Robert McMillan).
The few hundred pieces of malware found for Mac certainly seem insignificant compared to the nearly 2 million pieces found across the market (wired.com). However, most Mac users don’t utilize anti-virus programs because they feel they don’t need to. Because of this, even though there is much less malwar out there that could infect them, they’re much more vulnerable to attack.
So this newly discovered pdf Trojan is concerning. It’s just another sign that as Apple’s share of the market grows, the target on Macs will only get larger, and more needs to be done to protect and educate their users.