Mac User? Pay Attention to These Threats

Apr 23, 2021

While Macs are typically more secure than their competitors, it does not mean they are impenetrable. Macs are vulnerable to cyber attacks as criminals are getting more sophisticated. Recently, Apple accidentally approved malware to run on MacOS. 

The malware was able to bypass Apple’s strict security controls before it was identified by a security expert. Although Apple instantly removed the malware application, attackers responded by releasing another malware.

In this digital age, cyber threats are gradually increasing and Mac users are not left out. More attacks against Mac devices are being released, which are becoming undetected before they are later discovered. We have put together some of the Mac security threats that Mac users must pay attention to.

Common Mac Security Threats 

Some of the common Apple security threats include malware, phishing, spyware, malware and adware. Let’s take a look at each of these risks:  

Phishing Attacks 

Phishing is known as fraudulent attempts to steal confidential information. Phishing attacks on MacOS have increased in the last few years. Cybercriminals use phishing emails and text messages to propagate their attacks. Hackers also use fake websites that look like office Apple pages to trick Mac users to share their personal information such as Apple ID and credit card numbers.  

One popular phishing campaign is threat actors who create fake websites that look like Apple’s official page. Cyber attackers may also use other brand names to trick victims into clicking on links, taking them to a malicious website and stealing personal information and login details.

Growing Interest 

Some years ago, Apple computers had cybersecurity vulnerabilities that might have been downplayed because they were not exploited. The reduction in market share for MacOS devices made iMacs and MacBooks not worth the trouble for cybercriminals. However, the market for MacOS devices is increasing and so, too, is the interest in targeting them. 

Spyware

Under the disguise as a security tool, Mac users have been exposed to spyware tools that can collect user information and delete important files. In some cases, users may not know when files are deleted.

Malware Scams

Over the years, the number of Mac users who have experienced cyber attacks from potentially unwanted software has grown significantly. The common one in the MacOS ecosystem is the Shlayer family, a group of threats camouflaging as Adobe Flash Player or its updates that’s normally found on websites that distribute pirated content.

Another type of phishing is websites that look like official malware infection detection pages. Mac users are tricked into installing a fake antivirus app that infects devices with malware. In reality, a non-existent threat became a real one.

Adware 

Even though it’s considered a mild security risk, adware invades privacy by tracking cookies in your browser, which reveals your browsing history. This data is sold to third-party advertisers. This is a big privacy invasion. Have you ever thought about why you keep getting pop-up adverts? The answer is adware.

Dangerous User Behavior

Mac users must face the same threats or risks that are affecting Windows users according to their daily internet activities. Apple and Safari browsers are vulnerable to threats from malicious plugins and websites. Users may navigate malicious websites and install dubious plugins that may affect the health of their system and its performance. Flash drives containing malware are also a source of risk. 

The Effective Measures to Secure Mac Devices 

How can you protect your Mac from security risks and threats such as spyware and phishing? Not following these measures can leave you vulnerable and exposed to privacy and data attacks. Therefore, be vigilant and take the right precautions to keep your Mac and information safe.  

Enable Built-in Encryption Tool

Did you know Apple has a built-in encryption tool to secure your files? The tool encrypts files to safeguard your data from getting into the hands of cybercriminals. FileVault is Apple’s built-in disk encryption feature that’s designed to encrypt your hard drive and all the files stored on the drive. This encryption makes your files inaccessible to anyone that does not have an encryption key or password. Information like financials, company data, social security and sensitive information must be protected with FileVault.  

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication 

This additional security method is essential for your Mac security. We all know that passwords can be stolen. This extra code is your backup security measure to prevent illegal access to your Mac device. 

We recommend not depending on the code that’s sent through text because it can be intercepted. Use an application to retrieve the code. If two-factor authentication is not available, create unique and strong passwords that make use of a combination of numbers, symbols and letters. 

Download a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) masks your original IP address, replacing it with an IP address in a different location. When you download and install a VPN from a reliable provider on your Mac, you can browse the internet privately, and it’s a secure way to encrypt your data. A Mac VPN is a good defense against hacking and identity theft. This application is very useful when using public WIFI.

Keep Software Updated 

Your Mac’s software and other programs need to be updated regularly in order to keep the device safe from hackers and cyber attackers. Outdated software is vulnerable to Mac cyber attacks; it has security vulnerabilities that hackers already know how to exploit. 

When an update is available, it’s highly recommended that you install the latest OS X version to remove vulnerabilities. To ensure you never miss any update, it’s ideal to set up automatic installations. 

Use Adblocker 

Pop-up ads are irritating and can invade your privacy. The best way to avoid this interruption is to install a Safari browser extension. This extension will protect you by blocking all ads and preventing malicious websites from snooping on your browser activity. The extension is also a useful tool to safeguard phishing websites that pose as trusted websites. 


If you need a cybersecurity tool that can protect your Mac against these threats, then choose Vicarius. Vicarius is a vulnerability management software that targets cybersecurity officers as well as IT managers and operators from the U.S. market.

 

Photo by Greg Jeanneau on Unsplash

Written by

Kent Weigle

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