Mac OS X is no longer immune, reveals Kaspersky’s 2014 Malware countdown

Pierluigi Paganini December 11, 2014

Apple’s Mac OS X is no longer immune to malware and bugs says Kaspersky Security Lab.A survey of 2014 reveals that more malware attacks targeted Mac.

For years, Mac OS X has been flaunted as the most immune OS to malwares and bugs. Well, the reign of Mac might end in 2014, with users’ on the receiving end of over 1,499 new malicious programs, which is just a fraction of the 3,693,936 malwares targeted on Mac users, according to a 2014 security bulletin by a Russian anti-virus and internet security firm Kaspersky Labs.

“Over the past few years, we’ve discovered more and more malicious samples targeting Mac devices. Yet, there still remains a common misconception that Mac OS X is safe from malware and viruses,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Adware top the list of 20 most malicious programs targeted on Mac OS users. Adware are spread through legitimate programs downloaded from App stores rather than buying from official websites of the developers. Once installed on the computer, the adware can add advertising extensions to browsers, change the default search engine among a host of other malicious activities says Kaspersky.

The 2014 malware countdown won’t be complete without WireLurker malware which freaked out millions of Mac users earlier this year. The malware which originated from Chinese App store, Trojanized over 467 App and infected over 300,000 Apple users.

WireLurker malware not only threatened OS X itself, but also used Macs as a carrier to get to iOS devices connected to the infected Mac,” notes Kaspersky

Other notable malware threats to Mac users as reported by Kaspersky include;

  • OSX.Callme- a malicious program distributed through MS word, which gave online fraudsters remote back door access to a system while at the same time propagating itself to all listed contacts on the compromised machine.
  • OSX.Laoshu– malicious program which makes screenshots every minute. The malware is signed by the trusted certificate of the developer therefore eluding many anti-malware programs in the victim’s system.
  • Trojan spyware with a remote control function that enabled hackers to intercept key strokes
  • Trojan-Spy.OSX.CoinStealer – a one of its kind malicious programs designed to steal bitcoins for OS X. It imitates different bitcoin utilities built from open source code while it installs a malicious browser extension and/or a patched version of bitcoin-qt.

Geographically, Mac users in US suffered the most malware infections in 2014, leading the pack at 39.14%, followed by Germany 12.56%, Japan 5.51% UK 5.49% Russia 4.87% and France 3.69% of all reported infections.

mac os x virus trojan


Its terms of vulnerabilities, ShellShock is probably the bug of the year for Mac OS X users. The bug is coding mistake Bash, a software originally authored by Brian fox in the 70’s. Shellshock affected all Unix based operating systems including Apple Mac OS X, Linux and GNU. It allowed a malicious hacker to gain full control of a compromised system without a password or encryption key.

In such a precarious environment, Mac OS X users can no longer afford to be complacent in terms of keeping up with security updates and fortifying the defense mechanism.

“The myth of Mac OS X being invulnerable no longer stands true, and as cyber criminals continue to evolve their attack methods, users should also evolve by taking the necessary steps to bolster security on their Mac devices,” said Emm.

Kaspersky 2014 bulletin listed Oracle Java as the most vulnerable application used by fraudsters to spread malwares to users. Oracle Java accounted for 45% of malware sent to users, a significant drop from 90% last year. Other vectors include Browsers, Adobe Reader, Adobe flash player and Microsoft office.

Kaspersky is also cautioned users against a growing threat on mobile users. In 2014 alone, the antivirus firm blocked at least 1,363,549 unique attacks on mobile user compared to 335,000 attacks recorded last year. This trend is expected to continue in 2015 with more mobile banking Trojan expected in the coming year.

“In 2014 mobile malware focused on financial issues: the number of mobile banking Trojans was nine times greater than in the previous year and development in this area is continuing at an alarming rate,” said Roman Unuchek, senior mobile malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

(Security Affairs –  Mac OS X, malware)

Written by: Ali Qamar, Founder/Chief Editor at

Author Bio:
Ali Qamar is an Internet security research enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. He is the founder and chief editor at Security Gladiators, an ultimate source for cyber security. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57

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