News has broken today that two new forms of malware have emerged (one spyware, the other ransomware) that target Macs specifically and are being offered for free on the dark web by their creators. Pete Turner, Consumer Security Expert at Avast commented below.

Pete Turner, Consumer Security Expert at Avast:

  “The discovery of new ransomware and spyware variants which target Mac OS is hardly surprising, given the increase in open-source ransomware programs and licensed malware development found on hacking forums.

“Despite the smaller install base of Mac OS making any malware or ransomware strains less profitable for cybercriminals, it was only a matter of time before Mac-specific variants emerged.

“As seems to be the case in this instance, the malware’s creators are using a RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) model, allowing those without the necessary coding abilities to play cybercriminal. It is this availability of ‘malware for purchase’ which has changed unassociated instances of mischief making or theft into a real, lucrative underground economy with malware being a viable if illegal source of income.

“Consumers need to be aware that the notion that there are more vulnerabilities in Windows than Mac OS, which render it less secure, is a fallacy. Rather it’s the smaller install base which makes Mac OS a less attractive target for malware developers. Mac owners need to take the same precautions as PC owners when protecting their devices by using a reputable third part antivirus software.”

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