Apple has always been known as a company that could protect us from viruses and malware, but it seems the tides are changing. According to McAfee, one of the most credible cyber security companies in the world, Mac users are beginning to see a big jump in viruses on their computers. As more people buy Macs and other Apple devices, the more prevalent these cases become. So, how could Apple drop the ball on security like this?

How Much Malware Are We Talking About?

A lot, to put it simply. McAfee released a report earlier this week that exposed some vital information regarding lapses in Apple’s security on their Mac lineup – both laptops and desktops. Per the report, the fourth quarter of 2016 saw a 700% increase in malware detection on Macs. There were 460,000 cases in Q4 2016, trampling the mere 651 cases for the same quarter in 2015.

Where did all of this come from? Adware bundling, according to the report’s authors. When companies purchase ad space on websites, adware is what pops up on our screens.

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Some of these ads are bundled with others, thus creating a bundle that is downloaded all at once. When our security scanners perform checkups, they detect a lot of malware due to the high volume of adware we’ve downloaded onto our devices, and this has resulted in the huge (understatement, I know) increase in detection.

McAfee isn’t the first company to report findings like this, either. In 2015, security firm B9+Carbon Black reported a rise in cyber attacks on Mac OS X software. According to the firm, Apple was targeted by competitors because of the recent increase in sales of Apple computers. This represented “a growing attack surface for sensitive data,” the report stated.

Many of these cases were also due to more companies purchasing Apple products and failing to use Mac-compatible security systems. Many – actually most – malware detecting programs are not compatible for all operating systems, like Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. If you don’t use the correct software, your computer is more vulnerable to viruses.

How Can We Protect Our Macs from Malware?

It’s worth noting that not all malware is harmful. With that said, it can be used to transfer viruses and harmful software to our computers through applications we download. The best way to ensure your computer and information are safe is by only downloading applications from the App Store or Apple-approved developers.

The more we rely on electronics for everyday activity, as well as keeping vital information safe, the more careful we have to be when it comes to protecting them. While companies like Apple have people dedicated to working on better security, hackers are working just as hard on programs and software to break through whatever firewalls there are. In January, Malwarebytes, another cybersecurity firm, found a software that held the ability to freeze an Apple computer. This virtually shut the device down and left all of its files vulnerable to any kind of cyber attack by the hackers.

It’s important that we pay attention to what we put on our devices. Just like our bodies, our computers only work as well as what’s inside them. You can also check out some of the best antivirus programs we’ve found to help you keep your computer safe.

[More: Consumers Prefer Microsoft Surface Tablet Over the Apple iPad]

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  1. I don’t understand why this is surprising. Malware affects PCs the same way. The only reason there wasn’t as much Malware for Apple was that nobody was using macs until recently with all of Apple’s excess profits going straight into marketing. But unlike PC Apple was never prepared to deal with it since it doesn’t even advise its consumers to install antivirus. So this is the consequence of that. Bragging about how nobody is making viruses for your platform doesn’t protect you from them when they start. Now Apple’s platforms are very popular and they are dealing with what that means just like Microsoft already knows too well.

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