Criminal Gangs Hit Macs for 1st Time

New Sophos security report reveals cybercriminals moving beyond Microsoft

BOSTON –– IT security and control firm Sophos has published its Security Threat Report 2008, examining the threat landscape during the previous 12 months and predicting emerging cybercrime trends for 2008. The report reveals that in 2007 organized criminal gangs for the first time arrived at Apple's doorstep with the intention of stealing money. With proof that hackers are extending their efforts beyond Windows, Sophos is warning computer users of all operating systems not to be complacent about security.

Sophos experts note that malware for Macs has been seen before, but until recently, organized criminal gangs have not felt the need to target Mac users when there are so many more poorly protected Windows PCs available. However, late 2007 saw Mac malware not just being written by researchers demonstrating vulnerabilities or showing off to their peers, but by financially-motivated hackers who have recognized there is a viable and profitable market in infecting Macs alongside Windows PCs. For example, many versions of the malicious OSX/RSPlug Trojan horse, first seen in November 2007, were planted on websites designed to infect surfing Apple Mac computers for the purposes of phishing and identity theft.

"Cybercriminals have begun to notice a trend in consumer’s attractions toward Apple Macs during the last year,” said Mike Haro, senior security analyst at Sophos. “This trend has led to a number of viruses and malware created by hackers for the purpose of attacking a growing number of consumers who purchase Mac computers. Mac users need to be aware that while the threats that exist right now are few in number, they still need to take adequate measures to protect themselves.”

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