For years, Mac users have felt safe from the threat of all types of malware. Viruses, worms and cross-platform risks were all strictly PC problems. However, there are a growing list of malware issues that could leave your computer vulnerable. Whether you use your Mac for personal browsing or work-related activities, find out how your computer is at risk and what you can do to protect it.
Rise of Mac Malware
In 2017, the number of Mac-targeted malware doubled from 2016. There are more and more viruses being made to specifically target Macs. In the past, Mac users were protected from virtually every form of attack thanks to the inclusiveness of Mac software. The small, tight-knit community of Mac users has now grown to become nearly 10 percent of all PCs.
Having more users means more potential for a user to create malware that could spread to your computer. Although your Mac is safe from most of the common PC threats that are circulating, you should be wary of these common Mac malware:
- SSL, Gotofail error
- Word Macro Viruses
- Meltdown and Spectre
- Mac Auto Fixer
Each malware can cause a range of issues on your computer, ranging from collecting personal data to rendering your PC completely useless. An example of the dangers of malware, and how to rid your computer of malware, is Mac Defender malware.
This scam targeted Mac OSX v10.6 and earlier. As with most malware, it hid behind the mask of a legitimate antivirus protection in order to infect a computer. Mac users were redirected from a website to a page that informed them that their computer had a virus. Sadly, this information was true, but the page went on to say that the free Mac Defender software could remove the virus.
Of course, Mac Defender was the virus itself, so users would give the software permission to be downloaded, and it would then access personal information. This tactic has become so popular that is has many names, including Mac Defender, Mac Security and Mac Protector.
Dangers of Malware
The dangers of malware can manifest in multiple ways. Most common viruses seek to gain access to your personal information. They can find your credit card information, steal your identity or simply sell your browsing history to a third party. More capricious versions simply corrupt or delete essential files, causing your computer to shut down and become inoperable.
The most destructive types of malware not only infect your computer but are also designed to spread to everyone in your network. This could mean literal network, through Wi-Fi networks, or it could mean an email chain that is designed to trick all of your contacts. Don’t let your computer infect all of your coworkers’, friends’ and family’s Mac computers as well.
A Walled Garden Isn’t Protecting Anyone
For most of its lifetime, Apple has used a “walled garden” approach, more commonly called a closed platform system. This means that all Apple devices are designed for two purposes. First, it means that Apple has a virtual monopoly on software for all of its hardware, which increases its sales. Second, and better for you, it makes it very difficult for anyone to create malicious software, or malware, to attack a Mac.
However, recent trends have caused this system to slowly erode. Despite the company’s striving, not only is Apple’s closed system becoming more open, but it’s also leading to more cases of malware.
Tips for Protecting Your Mac
Thankfully, you have plenty of tools available to keep your Mac working properly and virus free. From antivirus software to common-sense solutions, here are some of the best ways to ensure your Mac works correctly and is free from common malware in the future:
- Stay informed: Common malware features have a way of resurfacing. Stay up-to-date on the latest threats to Apple products and find out how other users have removed malware from their computers.
- Protect your passwords: Some personal-information theft comes from more straightforward means. If another user can get access to your passwords, your information is at risk without any malware needed. Keep your passwords private and consider changing them frequently in unique ways. Don’t stick with the same password, and consider using a mix of numbers, letters and special characters to keep it secure.
- Use the best IT security: Whether you choose an in-house team or hire a security-solutions contractor, IT assistance can help you avoid dangerous scams and software. This strategy is particularly important for businesses that routinely send and receive confidential information.
- Get the latest Mac antivirus: Despite all the malware threats that involve fake antivirus protection, there are many true antivirus software options available to you. Check out the latest antivirus software, but be sure to choose a reputable provider.
All the Mac Protection and Information You Need
Knowledge is essential to combating growing and changing malware strategies. The most important thing to remember as a Mac user is that there are dangers out there than can affect your computer. Safe browsing, thoughtful downloading and trusted antivirus protection are critical to protecting your computer.
Whether you’re shopping for the best antivirus software or looking for more creative ways to keep your data private, stay up-to-date with the latest information. We’ll help you find the best protection, alert you to common malware strategies and help you find the peace of mind you need to continue to use your computer effectively for business or personal use.