Malware on the Mac: is it mostly hype or a real problem faced by real people? If you ask John Gruber, the answer might be the former—there are lots of proof-of-concept scenarios and virtually none that manifest themselves beyond a slow news day. If you ask Ed Bott, however, the answer would be the latter—he recently interviewed an AppleCare employee who claimed that the recent release of fake antivirus app “MAC Defender” has caused a spike in malware reports among Mac users.
The truth is hard to tease out. Partly because Mac OS X still makes up a comparatively small percentage of the global OS market share, and partly because Apple itself is a secretive company, it’s not easy to find out whether malware on the Mac is indeed becoming more common, or it’s simply being reported on more often.
Still, we tried to do exactly that. Ars spoke with 14 different Mac support specialists—including several Apple Store Geniuses—in order to get a handle on whether things have changed when it comes to dealing with malware. Their experiences are all over the map, but the general consensus does seem to lean towards a low amount of malware problems—until you get to the Geniuses.
Not an epidemic?
Many third-party Mac support specialists told us that they had not seen a noticeable spike in malware issues on the Mac recently.
“The majority of Mac users I support are somewhat technical, but even the ones that aren’t have been trained (by me) to be paranoid and come running to me if they’re not sure about something,” longtime Ars forum member Comp Guru, also known as Sean Murphy, told Ars. “MAC Defender is just like ‘Security Center 2011’ that plagues the Windows 7 users in my office, and a few have actually installed it. One came very close to paying the $85 to make the ‘infections’ and ‘drive errors’ go away. Luckily she came to me first and I removed it with Malwarebytes. On the Mac side I’m glad it’s an easy-to-remove application if someone does happen to install it.”
Source: Read more at Arstechnica