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Symantec: Macs, Malware and Security Myths

22 Nov 2013

It’s called the Halo Effect. iPods and iPhones created a “halo” that drove sales of Macs to business users.

I noticed it a couple years ago, as I watched the number of Macs sitting around the conference room table began to grow.

There got to be lots of those silver rectangles, with the glowing white apple, sitting on the table.

Apple reported 50 percent growth in Mac sales to businesses in Q4 2013. But as more of us are using Macs for business, some common misperceptions about Mac security persist. What do organisations need to know?

Cybercriminals always focus their efforts where they see the most “bang for their buck” – the larger PC market.

It’s a game of numbers – hackers go after what will give them the greatest return on investment. Up to this point, that’s been targeting Windows systems. While the volume of malware targeted at Macs is still low compared to PCs, the halo has been noticed. Attackers have started to go after the Mac.

We’ve all heard about Flashback, the single threat that spread to more than 600,000 Mac users. But there is another aspect that really ought to get you thinking.

Macs are often the computer of choice for executive managers. These executives have access to sensitive information like financial and corporate data, and hackers are likely to target these Mac users because the data on their devices is valuable.

Just in the last year, we saw the following newly discovered threats for Mac. In quotes is the description of the threat from Symantec’s Threat Write-Ups:

OSX.Netweird – “Full featured remote access tool”

OSX.Kitmos – “Opens a backdoor on machine and steal information”

OSX.Hackback – “Trojan horse that steals information from the compromised computer”

OSX.Janicab – “Opens a back door and steals information from the compromised computer“

OSX.Hormesu – Opens a back door on the compromised computer, may steal information”

OSX.Seadoor – “Opens a back door, steals information…”

OSX.Olyx.C – “Opens a backdoor…”

You get the idea.

It’s time to bring those corporate Macs into the family of endpoint machines at your business. They need to be fully protected and managed in order for businesses to maximise productivity and mitigate risk.

The recent release of Symantec’s Endpoint Protection (SEP) 12.1.4 makes Mac protection easy and provides additional enhancements across platforms.

The latest version of SEP offers intrusion prevention technology and antivirus protection, with single console management and reporting for Windows and Mac.

By implementing robust security and following general best security practices, businesses can rest assured their users are safe from evolving threats – whether on a Mac or PC.

By Kevin Haley - Symantec