Symantec quits beating the 'OS X malware' drum

The latest Internet Threat Survey from Symantec is a whopping 120 pages and no mention of malware for Apple's OS X.
Written by Munir Kotadia, Contributor

The latest Internet Threat Survey from Symantec is a whopping 120 pages and unlike in its previous reports, the company has avoided any mention of malware for Apple's OS X.

Around 18 months ago, Symantec's seventh bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report warned Apple users that OS X was increasingly becoming a target for spyware.

At the time, Symantec said: "Out of the public eye for some time, it is now clear that the Mac OS is increasingly becoming a target for the malicious activity that is more commonly associated with Microsoft and various Unix-based operating systems".

However, since then, apart from Leap-A or the Oompa-Loompa virus, Mac users have enjoyed a seemingly uneventful time when it comes to malware. Of course Apple has, deservedly, been slated for its hardware troubles but that is another issue entirely.

In Symantec's latest report, which was published on Tuesday, the company talked about vulnerabilities in various browsers as well as the amount of time it took OS vendors to release patches. But there is no mention of spyware or Trojans targeting Apple's platform.

Symantec does say there was "evidence" of security researchers turning their attention to OS X.

"During this reporting period, 12 vulnerabilities were disclosed that affected Apple Safari. This is double the six reported in the second half of 2005 and triple the four that were disclosed in the first half of 2005. The sharp increase in the number of Apple Safari vulnerabilities over the past 12 months offers evidence that security researchers are increasingly turning their attention to Mac OS X."

So criminals, hackers and malware authors seem to be ignoring OS X but it is being inspected by researchers. I must confess, that makes me feel safer. I'd rather security researchers look for potential flaws than miscreants.

So what happened to the threat of Mac spyware? Has it gone? Have we been infected without knowing about it? Or is it simply not worth mentioning this time around?

It's a surprise really -- especially with MacBook and MacBook Pro sales booming, it would seem that Apple's platform has never been such an attractive target.

I have asked Symantec about the omission and am waiting for a response.

Click here for an update.

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