For a long time, Mac users have been able to sit back and watch as Windows users had to deal with increasing ransomware attacks. But according to new evidence, there may come a time in the not-so-distant future when Mac users won’t be so immune.
According to security research (via Wired), hackers are putting more effort into creating macOS versions of malware attacks that are prevalent on Windows. MalwareHunterTeam has found that a collective known as LockBit is working on ransomware encryptors that work on both Macs using Apple M-series chips and Intel processors.
The findings indicate that LockBit is in the early stages of development and may not have ransomware that’s completely ready to be unleashed. But the collective is working towards that end. “It would be naive to assume that LockBit won’t improve and iterate on this ransomware, potentially creating a more effective and destructive version,” said Patrick Wardle, a Mac security researcher, to Wired.
Wardle told Wired that it appears that LockBit is in the “very early stage” of its work and they still need to figure out how to get by macOS’s built-in protection measures. Malwarebytes‘ Thomas Reed said that “the viability may improve in the future. Or it may not, if their tests aren’t promising.”
Apple often promotes macOS’s built-in security measures and validity checks to spread the idea that its Mac operating system is secure. Those are real reasons why malware isn’t prevalent on Macs, but the major reason (as Wired points out), is that the Mac doesn’t have an installed base as large as Windows, especially in businesses. With protection practices and counterattacks increasing in the Windows market, malware collectives are looking for fresh targets, and that includes the Mac, which is being used more in businesses.
Apple has protections in place within macOS, but it’s always a good idea to take an active approach to protect yourself and your Mac. Macworld has several guides to help, including a guide on whether or not you need antivirus software, a list of Mac viruses, malware, and trojans, and a comparison of Mac security software.