More Mac malware common on 2011 prediction lists

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Will 2011 be the year that threats against Mac platforms and devices finally reach the tipping point?

Yes, according to a number of security firms.

McAfee, in its annual list prognosticating what next year holds from an information security perspective, believes that Apple-targeted malware will increase in sophistication.

"Historically, the Mac OS platform has remained relatively unscathed by malicious attackers, but...the popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments, combined with the lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices, will increase the risk for data and identity exposure, and will make Apple botnets and trojans a common occurrence," the company said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, PandaLabs predicts a similar increase in threats, especially as the market share for Mac users grows.

"The greatest concern is the number of security holes in the Apple operating system," the company said. "Developers will need to patch these holes as soon as possible, as hackers are well aware of the possibilities that these vulnerabilities offer for propagating malware."

CoreTrace, an application whitelisting firm, foresees considerably more exploits in 2011 aimed at mobile devices, such as those running Apple iOS, the specialized version of Mac OS X.

Threats geared for the Mac are not unheard of, but Apple users have been more likely to be hit by a phishing attack than malware in the past.

Apple's media relations department is closed for the holidays, and a representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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