The BlackHole RAT is just the beginning.
The big security news today focuses around a new piece of malware designed to target OS X users. Macs have a reputation for being "virus free", which makes this news all the more disturbing to long-time Apple fans. The offending piece of malware, BlackHole RAT, even makes a reference to supposed Mac vulnerability. Once it has control of your system, BlackHole RAT displays this message to users:
"Hello, Im the BlackHole Remote Administration Tool. I am a Trojan Horse, so I have infected your Mac Computer. I know, most people think that Macs can't be infected, but look, you ARE infected!"
Until recently, targeting Mac computers really wasn't worth the time for most malware programmers. There were so many more Windows PCs, it just didn't make sense to target a relatively small chunk of users. But now Mac market share is at a high point, and growing. iOS devices are wildly popular and inching closer to OS X every day.
Malware programmers have already identified a huge and vulnerable pocket of users in smartphone owners. Only six percent of smartphone owners in an AVG survey recognized that their phone had aps that could broadcast payment details without their consent. Today's handsets are as powerful as a computer, but they have not achieved the same level of gravity in the customer mindset. While Apple never dominated the PC market, they are a huge player in smartphones. Which makes their products well worth targetting. The iPhone is not immune to the 55,000 new malware threats targeted towards mobile devices that come out every day.
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And, since iOS and OS X are growing ever more connected, unfriendly software suddenly has an easy access point to your Mac. Symantec's CEO is already on the record as stating that Macs are just as vulnerable as Windows PCs. Even if he jumped the gun a little, malware like BlackHole RAT makes it clear that the long, blissful days of the invulnerable Mac are coming to a violent end.