Apple's popularity has drawn the attention of cyber-crooks

The time when we could joke about Apple products having no malware because no one cared enough to make one is gone. A new research from Symantec has shown that the significant surge in popularity of devices such as the iPhone and iPad have drawn the attention of cyber-crooks.

In a research posting, Symantec says that threats mostly come from cybercrime groups expanding their reach into the Apple ecosystem, as well as high-level attack groups like the Butterfly corporate espionage team that infected OS X computers in targeted organisations.

To make things even worse, the usage of Apple device is hitting the stratosphere – Symantec quoted a Forbes article which says that three quarters of all mobile purchases made on Black Friday were done via an iPhone or an iPad. This statistic has made Apple a prime target for cyber-criminals.

The research also found that the amount of Apple-targeted infections and new malware threats has increased over the past two years. The Symantec data showed that the number of new Mac OS X threats rose by 15 per cent in 2014, while the number of iOS threats discovered this year has more than doubled, from three in 2014 to seven so far in 2015.

The biggest vulnerability is the jailbreak, Symantec says, with nine out of 13 iOS threats documented being available only on jail-broken devices.

While the total number of threats targeting Apple devices remains quite low compared to Windows in the desktop space and Android in the mobile sector, Symantec warned that Apple users cannot be complacent. It added that should Apple platforms continue to increase in popularity, the number of cybersecurity threats facing Apple users will likely grow in parallel.

Image credit: Symantec