Updates to macOS security software data: what has happened?

If you use LockRattler to keep an eye on the silent updates which Apple has been pushing for the data used by the security tools in macOS, you will have noticed something remarkable: those updates have gone so silent that some don’t seem to come at all.

Gatekeeper Configuration Data is the exception: the last update was pushed ten days ago, on 4 September 2018.

But the last update to Apple’s Malware Removal Tool MRT, which used to be updated every month, was pushed almost three months ago, on 19 June 2018, and XProtect hasn’t had any update to the signatures which it relies on to detect malware for over six months – since 13 March 2018.

As far as I am aware, Apple hasn’t announced any replacements for XProtect or MRT.

Security expert Thomas Reed of Malwarebytes assures me that new malware which has appeared over the last six months doesn’t appear to have been particularly suited to the signature-based approach adopted by XProtect. However, that doesn’t answer the inevitable question as to what Apple does recommend Mac users for protection against malware. I’m sure that Malwarebytes has issued very many data updates for its own Mac products over that period.

Hopefully Apple will get round to explaining what is going on, preferably before we start installing the release version of Mojave. Does that bring something to replace XProtect and MRT, or should we be looking at third party products? It would be helpful to know.