One In Five Macs Harbour Malware

The latest research from Sophos shows that there's a growing level of malware attacking Mac computers - and not just native malware, but also that of the Windows variety.

While Windows malware won't do a Mac user any harm as such - unless they also run Windows on their machine - it can still be spread via Apple's computers. And that's a worrying prospect when you consider that one in five Macs are infected with Windows malware.

Sophos gathered its data using 100,000 Mac computers running the firm's free anti-virus software. The company also found that 2.7 per cent of Macs were carrying OS X malware.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, commented: "Some Mac users may be relieved that they are seven times more likely to have Windows viruses, spyware and Trojans on their Macs than Mac OS X-specific malware, but Mac malware is being surprisingly commonly encountered. Mac users need a loud wake-up call about the growing malware problem."

He added: "Cybercriminals view Macs as a soft target, because their owners don't typically run anti-virus software, and are thought to have a higher level of disposable income than the typical Windows user."

The most common threats to the Mac are fake anti-virus programs and the Flashback malware we've heard so much about lately.

According to Sophos' figures, OSX/Flshplyr makes up 75 per cent of Mac-based threats, and OSX/FakeAV 18 per cent, accounting for almost the entire arena of Mac malware by themselves.