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Malware infections on Mac are increasing

Over 700,000 individual instances of malware recorded this year

A new report released by antivirus specialists McAfee suggests that an increasing number of Apple Macs are being targeted by malware.

McAfee’s detailed report on the latest trends in online security suggests that although Macs suffer significantly less from malware than Windows devices, they’re far from invincible.

Just after the company’s findings were released, another global cyber attack in the form of the Petya ransomware virus has made headlines. We’ve had reports from members over the past year of ransomware infecting Mac devices, although Macs largely escaped the recent WannaCry ransomware infection that swept the globe in May this year.

With Macs rising in popularity, the operating system macOS, is becoming a more worthwhile target for scammers. So, what’s the best way to keep your personal data secure if you’re a Mac user, and how can you tell if your Mac has been infected by a virus?

Best Buy antivirus software – stay secure online

macOS malware is on the rise

Despite a largely well-deserved reputation for being safer than Windows PCs, Apple Macs can still get viruses.

In fact, McAfee’s latest security report shows that Apple’s machines are being hit by malware far more frequently than in any previous year. The figures (below) show that over 700,000 individual instances of malware were reported in Q1 of 2017. That’s almost as many as were reported across the whole of last year.

Image: McAfee

McAffe’s report explains: ‘During the past three quarters, new macOS malware has been boosted by a glut of adware’. Although not as harmful as regular malware, adware is still a pain. Misleading adverts in your internet browser encourage you to download sinister software that can slow down your device or put your personal information at risk.

Sneaky adware banners sometimes feature a fake ‘X’ button. Clicking it won’t close the advert, but instead will lead you to another malware-ridden website.

Our experts have tested a range of antivirus programs for Mac, including Norton Security Deluxe, Bitdefender, Avast and McAfee’s own Mac protection. To see which options we recommend, head over to our guide on antivirus software for Mac.

Windows has it worse

A whopping 700 million separate instances of Windows malware were recorded in Q1 of 2017 alone, according to McAfee’s report. It’s more important than ever to keep your PC secure. That massive number noted by McAfee is made up of around 30 million instances of ‘new’ malware, which hammers home the importance of updating your antivirus software regularly to combat emerging threats. Ultimately, the popularity of Windows makes it an obvious target for hackers.

Image: McAfee

As the battle against malware rages on, we continue to test the latest antivirus suites in our lab. We take a close look at how well every option shields you from viruses, and whether or not installing it will slow down your computer. To see which packages top our tests, explore our antivirus software reviews. If you don’t fancy paying up for software, take a look at our guide on the best free antivirus software.

Keep your Mac malware-free

Keeping your Mac free from online nasties doesn’t have to be tricky. Here are some things to take a look at if you’d like that extra peace of mind.

We have lots of advice on dealing with malware over on the Which? Computing Helpdesk. See our guides on removing a virus from your computer and how to remove ransomware for some handy security tips.

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