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Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019 says Macs were the focus of attacks in 2019.

To put Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019 in perspective, you need to ask about the methodology. Malwarebytes is a highly effective adware, malware, adware, potentially unwanted program (PUP) scanner used primarily by business. Its free scanner is my choice to check on the efficiency of other AV apps.

So, its ‘audience’ is a snapshot of its users. Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019 (report here) comprises data sets collected from product telemetry, honey pots, intelligence, and research conducted by Malwarebytes threat analysts.

So in making any statement, it knows the number/type of endpoints and relates that back to incidents per endpoint type. The report has statistical merit.

Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019

In general

Adware (cybercriminals use malware to deliver unwanted ads to gain revenue) reigns supreme for both consumers and businesses on Windows, Mac, and Android using ever more aggressive techniques.

While Adware is more a nuisance the difficulty in removing it escalated.

Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019 Adware

Mac summary

  • Adware: 30 million Mac detections (24 million Windows)
  • Mac threats increased more than 400% over 2018
  • 11 threats per Mac endpoint (5.8 threats Windows)
  • Top of the list is adware NewTab

Macs became the more attractive targets to cybercriminals. macOS built-in security systems have not cracked down on adware and PUPs to the same degree as malware. It leaves the door open for borderline programs to infiltrate.

Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019 macOS
There are holes in macOS when it comes to Adware and PUPs

NewTab is an adware family that attempts to redirect searches in the web browser. It comes in apps with embedded Safari extensions. These include fake flight, package tracking, maps, or directions pages.

Traditional Mac malware, such as backdoors, cryptominers, and spyware came via by a group of files exhibiting similar malicious behaviours. OSX.Generic.Suspicious is a group of detections all exhibit known bad behaviours that no legitimate software program would engage in.

Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019

Only one incident involved anything other than tricking the user into downloading and opening something they shouldn’t.

Malwarebytes says Mac users can no longer say that their beloved systems are immune from malware. And despite the relative low-grade hassle from adware compared to that of, say, ransomware, these families are becoming more and more aggressive. They are displaying malicious and persistent behaviours to trick users into a false sense of security.

If 2019’s threat landscape tells us anything, it’s that it’s time to take a good hard look at Mac security and finally get serious.

Windows summary

Global Windows malware detections stayed at 2018 levels. But attacks on business endpoints increased by 13%. Cybercriminals follow the money looking for high ROI victims.

Malwarebytes State of Malware 2019 Windows 10

As the business world finally moves the security-hardened Windows 10, the efficacy of old malware relying on un-patchable CVEs dries up. And Windows users are more likely to run AV whether it be the free Windows Defender or a paid product. Windows users are perhaps more aware of the need for care.

In the consumer area, it was Adware and bitcoin mining relying on vulnerabilities in older Internet Explorer and more recently the Chrome engine (the latest attack vector). Making money from Crypto mining has almost dried up. Trojan/ransomware activity declined because consumers simply won’t pay the ransom.