In the last two weeks there have been outbreaks of two Mac Trojans. That might seem fairly common place in the Windows world but Mac has a long history of being relatively immune to virus threats. This actually brings up an interesting issue as well. Apple has been trying to position themselves as a direct competitor to Microsoft for years and the tools they have marketed themselves on are ease of use and security. Now that they finally built a strong niche it looks like their increased user base could damage one of their largest selling points.

This is of course speculative giving the nature of the Trojans distribution. The two most recent attacks have been spread primarily through file sharing networks such as Limewire and Torrents. Neither of which should be used without extreme care given vulnerability as well as legality issues. Despite this, if one group of distributers found it worthwhile to propagate malware it is very likely that they will again in the future. As with all escalation the attacks will become more sophisticated and attempt to target a larger user base.

Does this mean the end of the worry free days of Mac users? Possibly; but it’s unlikely to happen at the scale that plagues PC users. Apple has positioned itself for the casual audience. Design firms aside, Macs are very rarely used as a corporate platform. Ultimately, this brings into question the return on investment for virus and malware distributers. Most Trojans target big business for the amount of information that can be attained and for the amount of damage that can be done. Neither of which has much value from targeting home users and their iTunes libraries.

Regardless, there has been threats and whether they continue or not there is no better time to learn from your PC counterparts. Back up your data and keep a watchful eye.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department