US Windows security vendor Malwarebytes has joined the small but determined band of companies that see gold in selling anti-virus software to Apple Mac users.
The company has launched its first Mac-oriented product, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac, one of only a dozen serving a market that until recently many thought was too small to bother with.
Although a less busy sector than that for PC security software, Mac security has slowly expanded over the last five years or so as the number of reported threats has risen to level that are still pretty modest by Windows standards.
The software was built from the ground up, the firm said, and was not a cheap port from the products it already markets for Windows.
“We’ve had repeated requests from our customers and community for malware protection on the Mac, and are now proud to unveil the first version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac,” said Malwarebytes vice president of products, Chad Bacher.
“Our vision is to provide protection across all devices, regardless of type or operating system.”
According to Bacher, the growing problem on Macs was less executable malware so much as adware installing in and through browsers with Genieo, Conduit, and VSearch examples of this type of nuisance.
These could inject pop-ups, change a user’s browser home page, and add unwanted toolbar add-ons he said.
The software is free for home users although in keeping with the PC version using it on multiple machines requires a Premium license. We were unable to confirm the price but the PC version is $24.95 per annum.
Malwarebytes also announced that it had acquired AdwareMedic, a Mac security product from a small developer called The Safe Mac, whose creator Thomas Reed had been appointed as the head of the firm’s new director of Mac offerings.
“It used to be that Mac users were relatively safe from adware and malware. That’s plainly not the case anymore. The bad guys are writing Trojans and ad pop-ups for the Mac,” said Malwarebytes CEO, Marcin Kleczynski.
There are also circumstantial reports that company chief executives - a sector that increasingly uses Macs - are being targeted by targeted malware aimed at the platform. Stopping such unusual software represents a rare but big challenge far beyond the remit of stopping adware.
Apple itself is touchy about the whole issue of Mac vulnerability, earlier this year going as far as to pulling iOS App Store apps that described themselves using terms such as ‘anti-malware’ and anti-virus’.
The App Store can be controlled in a way that no Mac can where users are free to download what they want.