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Mac malware rises by over 1,000% in last 12 months

Mac malware rises by over 1,000% in last 12 months
(Image credit: Apple)

A recent report by Atlas VPN has found that development of macOS malware surged by over 1,000% in 2020 with hackers keen to target Mac-based systems much more so than ever before. If you're worried about your safety online, check out our look at the best antivirus software. Many of the anti-virus software packages listed work on Mac as well as PC and can offer substantial protection against nefarious nasties. 

As part of Atlas' investigation, the firm found that 674,273 new malware samples were found in 2020 compared to a mere 56,556 in 2019. With an increase of 1,092% in the space of a year, it's fair to say that's a huge increase for macOS - an operating system traditionally seen as fairly safe from any threats such as viruses and malware. 

Malware is effectively everything you don't want anywhere near your computer. It can include password stealers, exploits that take advantage of your system, macro viruses, hacking tools, and the most sinister of the bunch - ransomware - which holds your data hostage until you pay your assailants a fee to unlock the files (if you're lucky). A catch-all term, it's clear that the malicious software has spread like wildfire in 2020 with an average of 1,847 threats developed each day. As a sign of how bad things have turned, Atlas added up all the new malware since it started measuring in 2021 and found that number reached 219,257 - a far cry from last year's number alone. 

While that might all sound very scary, when it comes to the best home computers for keeping you secure, macOS is still a safer option than Windows. A record high of 91.05 million new Windows malware samples were discovered in 2020, equating to an average of nearly 250,000 threats per day. Granted, new threats for Windows are climbing at a slower pace but that's because the figures were fairly horrific to begin with. 

So, what should you do? Besides installing antivirus apps, consider the best internet security software out there too to further protect you. As well as that, educate yourself and be wary of anything that looks too good to be true online, as well as avoid downloading files you don't recognise, or browsing nefarious websites. Recent findings have discovered that cybercrime cost the world more than $1 trillion in 2020 so it's not going to go anywhere any time soon. If you stay smart online though and use the right software, you won't have to worry about being a victim.