Security experts predict rise in cyber threats against Apple iOS and OS X operating systems

“Security firm Symantec expects cyber attacks against Apple products to rise in 2016, after malware attacks against iOS and Mac OS X spiked sharply this year,” Jason Woods reports for AppleInsider.

“‘A rising number of threat actors have begun developing malware designed to infect devices running Mac OS X or iOS,’ said Dick O’Brien, a Symantec researcher,” Woods reports. “According to Symantec’s research, malware aimed at iOS doubled in 2015, while the number of Mac computers infected in 2015 was seven times greater than 2014.”

Woods reports, “The report noted that cyber attacks against iOS and OS X were ‘quite low’ when compared to the company’s main competitors — Android in mobile and Windows for desktop computing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Cyber attacks against iOS and OS X are and will continue to be quite low when compared to Fragmandroid and Windoze.

48 Comments

    1. If you are big antivirus company you need to sell your products and you have to create a new markets. People who know how to disable cyberthreats are the same who are creating them. Its dead simple.

  1. “malware aimed at iOS doubled in 2015”. What does that mean? Did it go from 1 to 2?
    “Mac computers infected in 2015 was seven times greater ”
    Did it go from 1 to 7?

    Do that stats mean anything?

    If I didn’t know better I would think that Symantec might have a hidden agenda to sell more products to people who don’t need them.

    1. Symantec is already infamous for FUDing OS X. They invented the ‘Security Through Obscurity’ lie, inferring that OS X was going to be deluged with malware and Apple fanatics would end up suffering just as much as Windows sufferers. It NEVER happened. The asinine 2005 Symantec FUD was what inspired me to study computer security.

      Thank you Symantec, you F-ing A-holes!

      1. i think the word should have been “implying.” But more to the point, I sourly remember Symantec as a company that “acquired” at least two competing Mac anti-virus programs, decent ones that I used back in the late 80s and 90s, and killed ’em off, so as to become king of the hill–a position they have abused ever since. In much the same way, Microsoft “acquired” competing database software like dBase and FoxBase and shut ’em down. HP couldn’t compete with Compaq, so they bought ’em out.

        There are many forms of competition. Outside of IP theft and industrial espionage, the meanest is destroying the competition by hook or by crook, to set yourself up as a monopoly; then you gouge people for several years until the regulators rouse themselves from their slumber. You pay a modest fine, and agree to stop the ripoff behaviour. You get to keep your ill-gotten gains, though. It’s a pirate business model through and through, and it still works.

        1. Embrace, extend and extinguish

          Symantec bought and obliterated MacTools, which was the superior set of Mac utilities. But Symantec had the cash load they’d grabbed thanks to the nightmare of insecurity that is Windows. Thus, they attempted a monopoly on the Mac platform. Thankfully, there were always alternatives including FREE anti-malware of Mac OS.

          Symantec has historically and consistently hated Apple. I hate them back. Personally, I remember buying a Symantec Java development suite, back when Java was growing in popularity and hadn’t yet been bastardized by Oracle. Symantec killed the suite the next year. That was the one and only time I ever bought their crap.

          1. If Symantec hated Apple, why then did they acquire Mac anti-virus apps and synthesise their own? Why did they pitch to Mac users over the years? I don’t think it was hate, just frustration that Macs didn’t get viruses, and because of that their return on investment was close to zero. That led to the security through obscurity theory. I’m not convinced that Symantec authored that concept, even though they have profited over the years because some people believed it.

            1. Lots of semantic moments there. I’ve never been great at syntax:

              – I think you described why Symantec treated Apple and Apple users with hatred. In order for them their marketing folks to gather up some sort of market share in the Apple gear security market, Symantec has had to repeatedly lie, propagandize, about Apple security.

              No way did Symantec author ‘security through obscurity’. But they were THE people who applied it to Apple. I’d never heard of the concept before 2005. (I believe their FUD campaign began in April of that year and reached my eyes that August).

              My first confrontation with Symantec began with the Mac Tools purchase and demolition in 1994.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Point_Software

              It was the same old story of: If you can’t compete, cheat. We know this strategy oh-so-well in politics and business throughout history. Symantec applies it to the computer security market.

            1. I must admit that some of we veterans of the computer warz brought with us a refined and defined form of snark that his become part of the MDN tradition. This is why the old must always be overthrown my the young. New perspective shines new light on all things, or something like that. I need my pills!

  2. As the target grows, so do the desires of criminals. I find it interesting how some people work so hard to cheat. If the payout is low, that is the only deterrent.

    Android has to exist, for it to be the honey pot. Something or some one has to be the weakest link. We simply have to make it that way.

    1. You don’t have to be faster than the bear to survive a bear attack, you just have to be faster than the person next to you.
      Android is the person next to you.

    2. As the target grows, so do the desires of criminals.

      That is the essence of defense of the idiotic ‘Security Through Obscurity’ argument explaining why OS X and iOS have never been bombarded with malware. The other part of that idiotic argument was that OS X and iOS were just as susceptible to malware as Windows. The ‘Security Through Obscurity’ argument remains idiotic.

      Have attempts to attack OS X and iOS increased? Oh yes! The worst of the attacks have been happening in China where their obscene totalitarian state demands surveillance of their own citizens, especially in Tibet. The worst attack came through a bogus, illegally distributed WAREZ version of Apple’s Xcode application that resulting in software with built-in user surveillance capability. But even then, it all proved to be not much more than a scare, resulting in no significant malware.

      Don’t get me wrong. I point right in Apple’s face and accuse them of gross NEGLIGENCE this past year in their attention to security holes and exploits. And yet, OS X and iOS remain the single safest operating systems available, right along side the other UNIX based operating systems, OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD.

      So bite that, Symantec misery mongers! 💩💩💩

      [Yeah, I’m having fun with this joke-of-an-article!]

      1. My point is security isn’t perfect. The time you think you are bullet proof, is the time you aren’t. “security through obscurity” is only a part of the equation. You actually have to have something solid and secure to begin with. With that said, you put out something sweet and easier to obtain than what you are really trying to protect. If the mother load is on the Moon but there are plenty of resources on Earth, do you think people would bother with the Moon? The answer is of course, but it’s going to be some special and not just a script kiddy. Think NSA or any other national security. They won’t be breaking in either for your precious treasure either. They will go in for something you may not know you have.

        1. Social engineering alone is enough to hack into Macs. Recall the 2009 massive (100,000+) botnet of Macs thanks to WAREZ re-versions of popular Mac apps that snuck zombieware onto victim’s computers. Wetware error is never going away.

          But at least Apple, after giving up on the Copland/Gershwin Mac OS mess, picked the very best alternative OS: BSD UNIX in the form of NeXTStep. That core OS still beats all the competition. OS X is still designated as real UNIX.

          Symantec cries at night wishing everyone was running Windows or Android. 😆

    1. Yes, it’s the same old story from these guys, “Trust us. Macs are going to get more malware!” Then a couple of months/yeas later it’s, “Really, You should listen to us. Macs are going to get more malware!” Then again at a later time its, “But our research [ahem, aka our marketing department] show’s that we’re **really** right this time! Macs are going to get more malware!”

      They’ve been spouting this since the advent of OS X, but as just one example, there has never been a *new* virus in the wild attaching Macs since about the time OS 9 shipped. There hasn’t been a single worm in the wild in that time either. (Under System 6, System 7, and OS 8x there were new viruses — about 30 or so over those years. During that period the Windows OS had a confirmed number of viruses numbering in the thousands.)

      There have been several social engineering attacks (Trojans and such), but that is very rarely Apple’s or OS X’s fault. It’s the human that succumbs to those attacks, not the machine. You can’t cure stupid.

  3. Security experts predict . . .
    “Security firm” people from Symantec are NOT security experts, they are marketing people trying to sell their security software.

    Proof? You will NEVER hear Symantec predict that cyber threats against Apple are going down.

    1. You guys are so cynical.

      Is there any security company in the world that doesn’t market its products at least partially by warning its potential customers of risks? Sure, that’s fear mongering, and it’s everywhere.

      More to the point, while you guys slander Symantec for all manner of things, the fact remains that the number and intensity of attacks ARE increasing.

      Another thought crossed my mind — every company in the world, thanks to unrestrained capitalist wall street greed, is pressured by the legalized gambling class (activist investors) to ALWAYS show growth that is significantly greater than population growth. Why is this? It’s not good enough to create a valuable product and distribute it to everyone in the planet, WS demands that you GO TO WAR, and DEMOLISH the COMPETITION, and TAKE NO PRISONERS, and so forth.

      You might want to reflect on that, since no small amount of posters here seem to demand that Apple become a monopoly in every market it chooses to enter. Personally, I see Apple rapidly becoming the next Microsoft — “good enough” quality products, with a lot of talk about security and quality but never really living up to the promise. Apple provided superior products when it was the underdog and actually had to prove itself via superior user experience.

      The day will come when Apple, and probably several other arrogant tech companies, gets smacked by some attack. Twitter and Facebook are already data mined by evil organizations all the time. Good luck when iCloud is hacked.

      1. While I still love Apple products, I do see them losing some of their edge.

        Two drops in quality come to mind:

        1) The Mac “Pro” which can’t operate with the highest end graphics cards and GPGPU (general purpose GPU) cards that are used for engineering and science. This impacts me as it makes a Mac Pro useless for me when it should be my machine of choice.

        2) The “simplification” of GUI’s by removing any graphical hints such as button shapes around buttons, etc., in order to use as few non-white pixels as possible in iOS apps. This is backwards from good GUI design, where visual hints are considered helpful not just to those with poor eyesight but all our brains which were designed to interpret 3D type features both in our direct sight and peripheral vision.

        But no company was or ever will be perfect.

      2. I have provided facts about Symantec and offered my concluding opinion that they are scum based upon their verified actions. If that’s slander, let’s have more.

        If we’re going to talk about marketing, I tend to group marketing people and strategies into:
        1) Marketing Mavens, who are devoted to actually and seriously helping their customers.
        2) Mediocre Marketing, who don’t know what they’re doing and come up with a variety of yawn inducing strategies.
        3) Marketing Morons, who are outright hostile toward their customers.

        This latter form of marketing is the default in our current era of ‘Short Term Thinking, Long Term Disaster’. I say that because any business that bases its marketing on hating its customers is shooting itself in the head. THIS is Symantec’s strategy. The self-inflicted gun shots have taken their toll on the company, much to my schadenfreude glee. They were actually considering shutting down this past year. I would have applauded.

        The hit Symantec is taking from Google’s refusal to recognize their security certificates is a stupendous slap in their face where it hurts. Bravo Google! Reading about the lousy attention and bad attitude Symantec has had toward security certificates will convince anyone that this is a company with no regard for security standards. That’s self-destruction.

        1. I did want to add that even Intego, with whom I used to have a very good relationship, has become insular and questionable in their practices. They are guilty of FUDing Mac users a few years back.

          I’m in the middle of a debacle about a program being identified by Intego’s software as being infected with “RobSnap.A” malware. Nowhere on the net or at Intego is there any reference to what RobSnap.A does that is questionable. We’ve managed to figure out that it is synonymous with an open source software program called ImageSnap, but that is all. Intego has refused three times to answer my questions about this situation. Meanwhile, a software developer is having to deal with customer concerns that his program, which incorporates ImageSnap, may be dangerous to use. The situation is entirely unfair and unexplained, entirely the fault of Intego’s silence on the matter.

          So yes, even what I consider to be excellent computer security companies can face plant in public.

  4. Of course Symantec would say this. They sell anti-virus software. Apple has included two very powerful tools in OS X. Xprotect, and Gatekeeper. Both of these do a lot to protect Macs from malware. What Apple (and Symantec) can’t do is keep us from being stupid and downloading freeware that is laden with malware.

  5. THEY WISH!

    I watched a techy program on Fox today where a couple hackers demonstrated total PWNing of Android devices. They estimated something like 6 MILLION susceptible devices that could be PWNed with the famous innocuous text message.

    But then these two twerps dared say that iOS security was on a par with Android security.

    NO IT’S NOT! And the embarrassing face-plant of this latest FUD from disgusting Symantec (who were the first to FUD OS X security horrors,that NEVER HAPPENED, in 2005) will prove once again that Apple security is consistently the BEST there is. (Despite the fact that Apple has been dead lazy keeping up with exploits this past year).

    STFU and FO Symantec scum! All you’ve done is inspire Apple fanatics to hate you, as well we should. 😛

      1. Yes. *Hanging*Head* I watch Gotham. I was also a Fringe fanatic.

        In this case, I was channel surfing and perked up my ears at the subject matter. Fret not. I did down a tumbler of ipecac after the ordeal and purge my system.
        :-Q*****

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