Sophos: Over 20% of Macs carry Windows malware but only 2.7% harbor Mac OS X malware

“A new report by security specialists Sophos suggests that as many as one in five Macs now carry Windows malware, with one in thirty six Apple computers containing Mac-specific viruses and exploits, further worrying users as they come to terms with the fallout of the Flashback botnet,” Matt Brian reports for TNW.

“According to a recent snapshot taken from 100,000 Mac computers running Sophos’ free anti-virus software, over 20% of Macs ran a Windows-specific form of malware, but only 2.7% of machines contained Mac OS X malware,” Brian reports. “Of course, this raises the issue of anti-virus software on Mac computers, something that Apple device owners have not typically had to think about in the past. Windows malware may not be able to infect Mac computers, they can still be spread via USB sticks and removable storage, potentially infecting other computers in the process.”

Read more in the full article here.

26 Comments

  1. over 20% of Macs ran a Windows-specific form of malware

    Ran? I doubt it.

    Carried? Quite possibly.

    Most of us carry diseases of plants and other animals, but we don’t “run” them. Incompatible systems, you might say.

    1. Saying that 20% of Macs “carry” Windows malware is a blatant misrepresentation to let the ignorant believe that 20% of Macs are also adversely affected.

      I do occasionally run ClamAV (NOT Sophos AV), only to discover every few years that someone sent me an infected Word document or so.
      Much depends though on the friends that you have. *WINDOWS* friends that is.

  2. To translate 20% of Macs have been sent infected files from windows users, these infected files have no affect on the Mac but could cause windows users problems if the file is sent to them.

    1. exactly. They are sitting in the Mail attachment archive..and totally helpless. And there are no viruses for the Mac. I don’t understand why these companies use that term (other than click bait).

  3. I can understand if said viruses were in emails and email attachments which were copied and/or forwarded to other users; but wouldn’t the virus have to actually infect the Mac in order to propagate itself through memory sticks and other removable media? If it can’t affect the Mac, then how could it spread in that manner? Seems like more wishful FUD on the part of Sophos. Again.

  4. “Windows malware may not be able to infect Mac computers, they can still be spread via USB sticks and removable storage, potentially infecting other computers in the process.”

    REALLY … How?

  5. Doesn’t this look bad on Sophos antivirus because the sample they took were from Mac running Sophos antivirus and isn’t it suppose to protect users against such thing.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. What is the point of Sophos’s free antivirus if it’s not stopping malware? Do you have to pay for the full version for it to do anything besides send statistics about your supposed malware back to headquarters?

  6. That report is so lame! Mac users have known this for years… Heck I knew this when I moved to iMac 8 years ago…. just like infected emails.
    Why should we care?? All the more reason for more people to switch to Mac OS. Why should WE buy AV software to protect stupid, ignorant windows users? Why should WE bog our computers down with clunky AV software just to protect Windows people?
    To hell with them all. They got what they deserved by sticking to M$.

  7. This is an old argument that comes up from time to time. Of course these companies want to lay the responsibility on Mac users to get some software sales. The way I see it… I got the file from some Windows user, why weren’t they more diligent in keeping their system clean?

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