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One In Five Macs Holds Malware — For Windows 285

Posted by timothy
from the time-to-update-parental-advice dept.
judgecorp writes "One in five Apple Macs is infected with malware, according to Sophos. But most of that is harmless to the Mac... it is Windows malware ready to be transmitted to the Windows population. Only one in 36 Macs has OS X specific infections."
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One In Five Macs Holds Malware — For Windows

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  • Re:Infected? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:25PM (#39783225)
    Correct but it does indicate mac peeps aren't particularly careful about what they download or what sites they visit. This is going to cause them problems later when we see more mac malware.
  • This is true. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tokerat (150341) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:27PM (#39783259) Journal
    I've run Macs most of my life, and recently backed up the entire contents of a machine to a Windows box with the space needed for the backup; close to a million files (app bundles contribute largely to this number), about 120 common-use files had various infections that Norton picked up.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:29PM (#39783309) Journal
    There are those who believe that having a virus scanner anywhere is a bad idea. Especially something like Symantec, which can slow your computer down more than many viruses.
  • Re:Infected? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:55PM (#39783749)

    ...but how is it 'transmitted'? That implies an installed transmitter, ie. malware.

    I guess we'd have to attach it to an email and send it along to them. Since it's can't act on its own, and it isn't active on the system, it's just sitting there like any other file on my Mac.

  • Re:Infected? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wkcole (644783) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:01PM (#39790931)

    ...but how is it 'transmitted'? That implies an installed transmitter, ie. malware.

    A lot of Windows malware is transmitted via email, because there's a long history of Windows mail clients (most importantly Microsoft's crapware) being directly vulnerable and/or facilitating deceptive mail.

    I have a lot of Windows malware on my Macs because I have email addresses that have been used openly and actively for 20 years and so have made it onto all sorts of indiscriminate spamming lists that are used for malware distribution. Because mail abuse is a professional focus of mine, the archives of malware-bearing spam I have accumulated is a resource, not an infection. I'm not sure why anyone else would retain all of their junk forever, but many people do so. It is a rare hour when I can't identify a log entry from my mail server rejecting mail that is almost certain to be bearing malware, and a rare week when I don't have at least one spam slip through carrying some form of malware.

    If you dig down past the click-bait page referenced in the /. submission, the original source of this story is a blog post by Graham Cluley at Sophos: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/04/24/mac-malware-study/ [sophos.com] and it includes a breakdown of the strains of Windows malware seen on Macs. The top 2 I recognize as mail-borne and some of the other named ones are likely to end up the browser cache of any carelessly wandering user. It is an act of irresponsible fearmongering by Cluley to say (as he does) in an unqualified way that these "can still be spread to others" and compare the 20% infection rate to the 20% rate of Chlamydia infection in young men in the UK. Those in men are infective, a Mac with a Windows trojan in its browser cache or junk mailbox is not.

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