Security firm McAfee released a report recently that showed a big jump in 2016 regarding malware hitting the Mac operating system. The McAfee report said there were 460,000 malware instances affecting the Mac OS in the fourth quarter of 2016, an over 700 percent jump from the previous year during the same quarter.
McAfee’s new report confirms similar research by other cybersecurity firms in recent years that show an increased prevalence of malware affecting Apple computers. Essentially, as more people buy Apple aapl computers, there are more possibilities for malware to infect the machines.
But while an over 700 percent surge in malware may sound frightening, it should be noted that "the big increase in Mac OS malware was due to adware bundling," the report’s authors wrote. Adware refers to software that automatically displays online advertisements to users when they surf the web.
Adware, while annoying and obtrusive to some users, is considered by security researchers to be relatively harmless compared to the kinds of computer viruses that can help criminals hack into people’s machines.
One way people can protect themselves from accidentally downloading adware is by only downloading apps from Apple's approved online store instead of installing software from less reliable sources.
In January, cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes said that it discovered a new type of malware that could freeze Apple computers.