On Mac, 50% of malware comes from… a single app?

Alexander Boero

November 16, 2022 at 12:15 p.m.


macOS Ventura © Mathieu Grumiaux for Clubic

© Mathieu Grumiaux for Clubic

If the Windows and Linux operating systems concentrate the majority of malware, macOS remains a safe bet, without being completely immune. The Apple OS also has a particularity.

Cybersecurity firm Elastic Security Labs has just released its annual Global Threats Report, doling out good and bad points about the malware-proof capability of different operating systems. Macs live up to their reputation by showing some resilience. But every rule has its exception.

One and the same software distributes half of the malware detected on macOS

In its report, Elastic Security Labs indicates that 54.4% of attacks were detected on Windows, and 39.4% on Linux. Only 6.2% of identified malware ends up on macOS devices.

This is obviously not much, and this flattering data for Apple can spontaneously be justified by the historical interest that the company at the apple has for security as well as by the weaker market share of macOS computers, compared to devices under Windows. But one statistic is puzzling. In fact, 50% of malware detected on macOS comes from a single source: MacKeeper software.

Paradoxically known for removing ads, viruses and other unnecessary files from Macs, MacKeeper itself remains a purveyor of annoying ads. The software is in this sense very widely used by hackers, who exploit some of its properties.

MacKeeper, a reputation seriously tarnished

MacKeeper has extensive permissions on Macs as well as access to processors and files. The report insists on the fact that this software, although designed to protect users, can actually endanger your system. It is in any case the biggest threat of contamination on the operating system of Apple.

Over time, users found that MacKeeper was particularly difficult to completely uninstall from their machine. Some then directly reported it as malware. Its former owner, Zeobit, was taken to court in 2014 for issuing false virus detections in an attempt to trick users into signing up for a paid plan.

More generally, the report indicates that Trojan horses account for more than 80% of detected malware, all operating systems combined. Cryptomining software comes in second place, with 11.3% of detections. Ransomware follows, with just 3.7% of malware.

Sources: Elastic, Neowin

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