Fact: Apple Malware reported over a 700% gain in Q4 of 2016 (page 39)
One of the reasons that people gravitate towards Apple Mac products is because of the perception that Mac products "can't get viruses". While it's true that there are less cases of malware infection than with PC products that it's generally because the install base of Mac products is so much smaller. As the install base grows, the malware will follow.
The GOOD news for Mac uses is that for now the malware is mostly adware. Adware is generally bundled with programs installed from the internet and usually is more annoying than harmful -- most adware hijacks your browser, changing the home page, adding a toolbar and causing random popups to appear.
My favorite question to answer: So what to do? I recommend a few things:
- When possible, only install apps from the Mac Store. Most apps needed are available here and these are checked by Apple prior to being made available so the chances of there being malware embedded are very low.
- When not possible to install from the Mac Store, only install apps from a trusted source. Apple (and Microsoft for that matter) adds security around installing apps from unknown sources for a reason. When you see the "You are installing software from and unknown developer" message, double check to make sure you really need to install the application in question. My favorite piece of safety advice to anyone using any type of computer is that when you are asked "Are you sure?" pause a second and be absolutely certain that you are sure you want it to do what you asked it to do.
- Get an antivirus application. I know, I know. For years there was no need on Mac and it's still questionable as to whether it is. But there are some solid, light weight apps that won't cause very much of a performance issue and you are better safe now than sorry later. I recommend Webroot Secure Anywhere.
- Update! Just like Microsoft Windows, MacOS has security updates release periodically as well. Make sure these are being installed automatically or check via the Mac Store once per month. Most exploits use known and patchable vulnerabilities in the operating system or third party apps. Looking at you Adobe...
If you have any other questions about Mac security, PC security or anything else, please contact us today!
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