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Malwarebytes builds all-new antivirus for Mac to curb rising infection rates

Mac computers, contrary to popular belief, aren’t immune to malware. Apple computers are increasingly common in workplaces, and anti-malware software designed for a Windows-only ecosystem can’t stop Mac viruses.

So Malwarebytes, which started offering a free Mac malware scanner for home users last summer, is expanding to the business sector with Malwarebytes Breach Remediation for Mac. This isn’t a port of the Windows software, Malwarebyte’s Thomas Reed told Digital Trends. It’s a Mac-specific solution, built from the ground up.

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“This tool only finds Mac malware on Mac machines,” said Reed. “Hundreds of Malwarebytes customers demanded protection for their Mac endpoints.”

The command-line driven tool is built primarily for network administrators, and can be deployed according to their specifications. Home users are encouraged to download the free Mac version of Malwarebytes, first released last summer.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in adware,” said Reed. “It’s undergoing exponentail growth, we’re seeing new stuff constantly.”

A lot of this malware is evolving quickly, and new variations aren’t detected by XProtect, the invisible anti-malware bundled with Mac OS X. There hasn’t been a real onslaught yet, despite media hype, but Reed feels the ecosystem may be vulnerable. Mac users, meanwhile, don’t have the same security habits as Windows ones.

“Mac users aren’t equipped to deal with it,” said Reed. “They think they’re safe.”

That feeling of security can lead to bad decisions. Most Mac infections happen because of attempts to pirate software, or users clicking banner ads for video players on porn sites. Having said that, even trusted software has proved vulnerable.

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“With the latest ransomware, somebody hacked the Transmission bittorent client website,” said Reed. “But that’s an exception to the rule.”

Malwarebyte’s free home version was released last July. That early versions, according to Reed, were little more than a skinned version of Adware Medic, a free program Reed built while blogging about Mac threats for his site The Safe Mac. That software focused entirely on adware, the most prevalent form of Mac malware. Malwarebytes for Mac has since been re-written from scratch, and at this point removes a wide range of Mac malware.

The commercial Remediation software is based on the same algorithms, but is much easier for IT administrators to implement as they will. It is available as of today.