The days of Apple users being able to pretty much ignore the security issues that have plagued Windows users for years have been slowly coming to an end. We have seen a definite increase in machine infections ourselves, and searching online suggests that this is not a localised problem.
One nasty we recently had to deal with was an app on a Mac called DownLite. This purports to be a program for torrent downloading, but actually attaches itself to your browser to spy on your online activities. Here is a guide to deal with removing DownLite.
Apple themselves have issued instructions on how to remove another recent threat - "Mac Defender". Using an approach that will be very familiar to wary Windows users, alerts appear on websites that your machine has been infected, and you are offered a download to solve this. It's downloading this program that infects your machine as it pretends to clean your computer. It then sits there and tries to steal credit card details.
This problem isn't confined to Mac devices either. Due to their ubiquity, iPhones are a very valuable target for attackers, and new malware is being detected that can compromise these phones. Researchers have recently discovered a new threat along these lines. "WireLurker" targets both OS X (ie the operating system that Macs use) and iOS (the operating system iPhones use). It works by first infecting the Mac, and then uses the USB connection to an iPhone to download malicious applications to the phone without the user's knowledge. While currently most prevalant in China, there's no reason that this infection, or something similar could take root here.
Apple are now being more proactive in addressing these threats, and are beginning to provide security updates to counter these threats as they are discovered. We recommended ensuring your both your Mac and iPhone is always up to date with the latest Apple operating systems, and you install any security downloads that Apple provide as soon as possible. It's also possible to get Mac versions of virus scanners like AVG and Avast that try and protect against such threats. As always though, it's better to always be wary when browsing online and when opening email attachments. If in doubt, ask your Windows using friends and colleagues for advice - they're already battle-hardened to these threats! We wrote some general advice on viruses, malware and spyware in our 3 IT Support Hints and Tips article a few months ago that could be helpful here.