Mac attacks on rise

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Malware writers and hackers are turning their sights to Apple Macs, as the number of users increases, warns a security firm.

Apple this week recently marked its best quarter in its 31-year history, selling 2.5 million computers in that period. This rise is thought to be influenced by users' dissatisfaction with Windows.

But the growth of Apple use coincides with the system being targeted by hackers who will see greater numbers of prey – now making it worthwhile for them to develop malware. This goes against the popular belief that Mac products are immune from the efforts of cybercriminals.

Security firm Sophos has warned Apple Mac users not to be complacent about security following the recent discovery of the OSX/Hovdy-A trojan, which can steal passwords, open firewalls and disable security settings. As is often the case, hackers rely on users downloading the trojan, which may be disguised as a game or video link. It affects the Apple Remote Desktop Agent (ARDAgent) to gain root access. Hackers can then disable system logging, leaving no traces.

Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos, admitted that Mac OSX computers are less likely to be targeted than Windows PCs but she added, "In the last 12 months, we have seen growing evidence that cybercriminals are looking increasingly for opportunities to hack into Mac computers for financial gain.

“Although the problem is much smaller than on Windows, Mac users would still be wise to ensure that they run an anti-virus, keep up to date with security patches and to exercise care as to which programs they run on their computers," she said.

 

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