The Mac vs. PC debate isn’t nearly as intense as it was earlier in the 21st century, but a new malware report could stoke the flames a little bit for the first time in years.
Antivirus company Malwarebytes released a big ol’ report about the prevalence of different types of malware across different operating systems this week. There’s plenty to chew on, but the most eye-catching finding is that for the first time anyone can remember, Macs are more susceptible to malware than Windows PCs.
Malwarebytes measured the average number of threats detected per endpoint, which basically means “device” in this context. In 2018, Macs only averaged 4.8 threats per endpoint, but that number ballooned to 11 in 2019. Windows devices, by comparison, only saw 5.8 threats per endpoint last year.
According to Malwarebytes, the culprits for Macs are largely adware and “cleaning” programs like MacKeeper and MacBooster. Those old “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials never could have predicted this.
For years and years and years, it was a commonly held truth that Windows was less safe than macOS. The easiest explanation was that there were just a lot more Windows users than Mac users, so characters of ill repute focused their efforts on Microsoft’s OS. In late 2016, Microsoft reported that there were 400 million Windows 10 users; Apple told TechCrunch several months later that its Mac userbase was just a quarter of that.
While there seemed to be other, more technical reasons for Windows vulnerability, Macs are apparently popular enough now to warrant more attention from people who make malware. Mac market share has been slowly but steadily rising in recent years. As more people use Macs, it figures that more exploits might pop up.
Either way, if anyone out there is still assuming a position of superiority for being a Mac owner, now might be the time to stop.