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If you own a Windows-based computer, it may be hard to believe that many of your Mac counterparts don't run antivirus software.

Viruses and malware are a fact of life for Windows owners, and as a result, there is a sizable ecosystem of security software vendors whose mission in life is to protect PC owners from the constantly growing number of threats.

But Mac owners may be getting a taste of the hassles PC owners have become accustomed to...

According to reports, a growing number of Mac owners have fallen victim to malware software called Mac Defender, which tricks its victims into believing that it is legitimate security software.

Such attacks are common on the PC, so it's not exactly surprising to see malware authors applying the same approach on a different platform.

The Mac is no longer a niche luxury for creatives; it's now penetrating even the corporate market. Last quarter, corporate Mac sales grew an impressive 66%. That's good news for Apple, but it also provides hackers and fraudsters an increasingly attractive target.

Obviously, the possibility that Macs would eventually be more aggressively targeted by 'bad guys' isn't in itself surprising. If anything, it's surprising that it has taken this long for sophisticated and polished Mac malware to emerge and gain some traction.

Unfortunately, Apple isn't taking a proactive approach to nip the problem in the bud. It has essentially instructed its support staff to deny that a problem exists, and unlike Microsoft, isn't yet willing to get its hands dirty helping Mac owners clean up their malware messes.

At some point, that will likely have to change. That's because Apple is facing an economics challenge, not a technology challenge. With Macs playing such an important role in the computing ecosystem, the profit potential of targeting them will increasingly give criminals the incentive to create more sophisticated Mac attacks.

No matter how good Apple is, it will realistically need to acknowledge this and treat its customers to the truth.

Patricio Robles

Published 23 May, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2429 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Mickey

I'm a windows user and haven't run AV software in a decade. Very few viruses, on any platform, can just infect you without the user having to do something foolish.

over 5 years ago

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Steve

Agreed... No matter how big the company is, there is a responsibility to customers to treat them openly and honestly.

over 5 years ago

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Tony James

Apple do have a responsibility to treat its customers better. There is also a good point raised about how high profile machines will attract better skilled hackers and more dangerous threats.

almost 4 years ago

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