Sophos Report: 20% of Macs are Carrying Windows Malware

Source: MacBook Pro/ Apple

Windows malware is so prevalent that it didn’t come as a surprise when security firm Sophos found out that one in every five Macs is infected with it. The issue was revealed after the antivirus company made a sampling of 100,000 Apple notebooks. Mac owners were asked to download the free antivirus software from Sophos, and it turns out that 20 percent of them are silently harboring Windows malware.

The security firm noted that the malware will not affect the machine unless users activate Apple’s Boot Camp software to switch from OSX to a Windows operating system. Among the infected machines, 2.7 percent of them were carrying the virus that is specifically tailored for OS X, while the rest came in with a variant of the Flashback Trojan, or “Flashplyr.”

Nevertheless, Sophos believes that Mac owners should be “responsible members of the society,” and make sure that their system is not infected with Windows malware, which is a great way to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Meet the Flashback Trojan

It should be recalled that Apple released a Flashback Malware Removal Tool last week, a couple of months after security firm Intego discovered the Flashback Trojan. It affected more than 600,000 Macs around the world, and is considered the worst malware that the product line has ever seen.

Designed for the Mac OS X Lion, it originated from a malicious website that tricked users into downloading a phony Adobe Flash Player. Once downloaded, it deleted the installation package, deactivated some network security software, and injected itself into certain applications. Then it connected to remote servers and sent specific information about the infected notebook.

That’s why the Cupertino-based company decided to roll out a removal tool for Macs that don’t have Java installed. It will basically scan the computer and erase any known iterations of the malware. In some cases, it may require a user to restart his or her notebook to completely remove the Flashback Trojan.

Advice for Mac Users

What makes Sophos’ finding shocking is the fact that most viruses found on the infected Macs date back to 2007. They could have easily been detected if users had run an antivirus check sooner. That’s why the security firm advises Mac owners to download antivirus software and keep it updated.

The same thing goes for the operating system, programs, applications, and security patches. The origin of the apps that users download should be trustworthy, and they should be cautious when clicking any links attached to files that they open. Most of all, it’s important that all users be well informed about the old and new malwares that lurk across the cyber world.

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