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Study: Even Mac computers are exposed to malware

A survey carried out by students at the School of Economics at the University of Gothenburg together with the security company Kaspersky Lab shows that even Mac computers are exposed to viruses and malicious code. In the survey, almost one in ten Macs were affected by attempts to install malicious code.

In the survey, participating students were asked to install an anti-virus program on their Mac computers during the month the study was conducted. With the help of the antivirus programs’ status reports, it was then possible to read how many attempts to run malicious code were made.

The investigation shows that 8.2 percent of all participating Macs had been exposed to attempts to run malicious code. The survey also shows that female users run a 50 percent lower risk of being exposed to malicious code.

The reason for the large difference between men and women is thought to be that men tend to visit websites that often contain malicious code such as games and file sharing sites. Another hypothesis is that men are more likely to underestimate the risks compared to women.

– The survey confirms that Mac computers are by no means exempt from the risk of being infected by malicious code, although this happens less often compared to PCs. The majority of the malicious code that exists exists for Windows, but it is also important to understand that even if a Mac is not visibly infected, it can carry and spread viruses intended for Windows, for example, says David Jacoby, security analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

A total of 61 students participated in the survey, which took place over a month in November 2010.

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