Sophos claims 20 percent of Macs have malware – counting Windows e-mails

Sophos’ Naked Security blog:

One in every five Mac computers is harbouring some kind of malware, a new study from the experts at Sophos has revealed.

The key phrase here is “some kind of malware.” Sophos is including Windows malware, sent to you by e-mail, for example, by unwitting Windows users. That stuff will never give OS X a problem.

How many times have you received a spam e-mail or message from a Windows using friend (or total stranger) with a strange file attachment?

Get rid of it, obviously, but you’re using a Mac for a reason – and one of them may be so you don’t have to deal with Windows and its problems.

What’s more, Sophos’ thesis is predicated on assumptions made using data retrieved from “Mac computers which have recently downloaded Sophos’s free Mac anti-virus software.” Mac users who have downloaded anti-virus software are a self-selecting group if ever I heard one. One in five of those Macs may have some kind of malware on them, but I’d be very surprised if that was the same as the public at large.

Mac users don’t routinely use anti-virus software. I expect that many of them are downloading Sophos’ product with the expectation that they’re going to find problems.

Sophos is simply trying to drum up interest in its own products – the blog post links back to its anti-virus software for Mac, which is indeed free, but is also quite capable of building a captive audience for other products in the future.

  • Dante found the anti-virus software makers just one circle up from virus writers when he visited hell.

  • MacMarty15221

    If you are responsible for tech support of a mixed Mac / Windows working group, you will be HAPPY that the Macs are scrubbed for Windows malware. I am.

    • jpmhughes

      Peter is not suggesting that is untrue. What is being said is that Sophos “claims” are inaccurate and most likely self serving. If there is going to be a discussion about malware in general, these inaccurate figures do nothing to help.

  • SilverPanda

    I downloaded Sophos and used it about 5 times, always to clean my family’s flashdrives after they’ve been used in others’ computers and before connecting them back to my family’s PCs.

    It’s quite unnerving that every time our flash drives are connected to either public PCs or a friend’s PC, they come back with trojans. Every damn time. And my Mac is the dock impeding the malware from successfully infecting the Windows PCs here.

    While scanning my Macintosh HD, though, Sophos always came back with nothing.