Recent malware attacks affecting Mac perceptions, according to new research

The rise in high-profile malware attacks is damaging CIOs' confidence in Mac security, according to new research from endpoint security software firm Avecto.

Following the detection of WireLurker last year, a type of malware that infects OS X computers, 40% of CIOs say they now have less confidence in Mac security.

However, the perception that Macs are fundamentally safer than Windows computers was also revealed in the research, with 28% still believing OS X is simply 'more secure' than Windows.

Avecto questioned 100 CIOs at companies with over 1,000 employees and from a range of industries about their Mac estate and associated security strategies.

Paul Kenyon, VP at Avecto commented: "For too long there has been a false belief and a naivety that Macs are inherently securer than Windows PCs. But either way organizations must view them like any other device: an endpoint that can be exploited."

Irrespective of whether opinions are changing, Macs have established a significant footprint within the enterprise. Only 21% of companies now say they have no Macs in the business at all. The Apple footprint is growing too, with 36% of CIOs claiming that the number of Macs running within their business has increased over the last year.

Paul Kenyon continued: "As Macs become commonplace in business, they will be increasingly targeted by cyber criminals as a way in. Often, Macs are treated as an accepted risk and simply managed outside of corporate policies. It's no longer possible to ignore this growing risk or wait until a breach forces your hand.

"There needs to be concerted effort from IT leaders to gain control of their Macs and ensure they are secure, while still offering the user experience that makes them such a popular choice."

Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack and Apple security expert added: "Apple devices aren't protected by some divine force, they are vulnerable to many of the same attack methodologies as any Windows computer. Rather than expecting the vendor to provide complete protection, CIOs should take the matter into their own hands and look to proactive security solutions."

Patrick will be hosting a live webinar on 15th October entitled "Why are Macs a hacker's dream?"