IT security and control outfit Sophos has revealed the results of a poll that shows the number of people who believe that Apple Macs will be increasingly targeted by cybercriminals in the future has risen from 79 percent two years ago to 93 percent now. Sophos undertook the poll as the first financially motivated malware for Mac OS X was discovered. It also, without much surprise, suggested that half of us do not think that Mac users will face as big a cybercrime problem as Microsoft Windows users.

OK, so the results are not exactly earth shattering stuff when it comes to surprises, but it does tend to indicate that Apple Mac users are now a lot less optimistic than they were just a couple of years back and that the spectre of Mac malware attack is now hanging over their heads.

“Although we have seen the first attempts by criminal gangs to make money through Mac OS X malware, there is still only a tiny number of viruses and Trojan horses for Apple Macs when compared to Windows PCs. It seems unlikely that the Mac virus problem will ever be as big as the Windows one," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Yes, the Macintosh malware threat is a concern - but it's important to put it in perspective. Mac users now have the opportunity to prove their smarter than their PC cousins by putting the proper defences in place and stopping the hackers in their tracks. By resisting the urge to click on unsolicited weblinks or to download unknown code from the web, they can help to send a clear message to cybercriminals that it's just not financially rewarding to target Macs."

Sophos has produced an explanatory podcast on the whole subject of the Apple Mac threat, entitled Big Mac Attack or Super-Sized Hype.