Personal Data Protection & Mobile Security Solutions
 

No One Is Invincible: The Evolution of Mac and Android Malware

by CHWatch on June 21, 2011

Malicious software that threatens computer users’ security and privacy has been around since the days of giant floppy disks and 100 pound computers. As computers have become even more paramount to our everyday lives, malware becomes an even greater threat. Our communication, friendships, work, relationships, news, and so much more all revolve around and rely on computer technology and successful, healthy operating systems. With more computer users than ever before, new viruses are emerging at astounding rates.

Threats to Apple

For years, one of Apple’s big claims to fame was that Macs have less virus threats than machines running Windows. While this notion is for the most part true, it is not the entire story. For the most part, viruses have targeted Windows users because there are more Windows users than there are Mac users it’s as simple as that. While it is true that fewer malware developers target Macs, Macs also boast a slightly better security system. OS X is based on the Unix operating system, which is one of the oldest and most sophisticated operating systems in existence. Unix was developed to be significantly more secure for its multiple users. For this reason, Macs have a better track record with computer viruses, worms, and general security threats.
With that said, in recent years Macs have been more directly targeted by malware developers. Currently there is a fake antivirus malware out there for Mac OS X. This malware is using techniques that have been successful on Windows devices, prompting for administrative passwords and account information. Posing as antivirus software, this Trojan shows up under names like Macsecurity and Macguardian. One reason that this virus has been so successfully malicious is because of Mac users’ feeling of invincibility. Many Windows users are no longer fooled by fake pop-ups and dangerous sites, but Mac users may be more nave to the process. Unfamiliar with malicious attempts at corrupting their systems and personal security, Mac users are falling for these devious threats.

Threats to Android

With the evolution of new technologies, comes the evolution of new threats to that technology. Smartphones with application capabilities have opened a pathway to a completely new means for malware distribution. While the Android and the Android market are heralded for being completely open (unlike the Apple app market), this also means that anything (including viruses) can be sold as an application. Android phones have become a hot target for viruses because of their immense popularity and their newness. A virus can be attached to a legitimate application that is downloaded on the Android market. This virus then collects important information from your mobile device. The Android people are working to weed out bad applications from their market, but without any formal regulation it may be difficult to do a completely thorough job.

The Solution

The greatest advice that can be offered concerning computer malware and viruses is “be careful.” While this may seem like shallow advice, it truly is key to ensuring your computer’s security and your own personal safety. Computer users, Mac, Windows, Linux, and the like, should just be conscious of all the things that they are doing on their computer. If something pops up and prompts you for any sort of information, confirm first that it truly is what it claims to be. Also, when purchasing an application off of the Android Market review the product first. Look at the reviews for the product and look at the number of downloads the application has. If the application claims to be a Google Search app but only has 1000 downloads, be weary. The internet can be a malicious and dangerous place at times. Be careful and be aware.

Author Bio:

Nancy Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. She regularly contributes to the criminal justice degrees, which discusses about child abuse, human rights, divorce, and crime related articles. Questions or comments can be sent to: nancy.farrell13@gmail.com.

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