Macs are Vulnerable, Too

Apr 21, 2021

Macs have always been known to be safe and secure because MacOS has built-in security features that make Macs less vulnerable than Windows. However, these features are not sufficient to totally safeguard Macs from viruses and other malware. 

Apple computers are not immune to all spyware, ransomware, and malware; they can get infected. This may cause serious issues especially if you use Mac for work.

Malware threats and Mac cyber attacks are everywhere. Macs face an increasing number of online threats and risks because hackers create malicious programs for Macs. This is why Mac users need to be cautious while they are online. Consider installing good antivirus software to always scan your Mac device and eliminate cyber threats.

Signs That Your Mac is Infected

It’s difficult to know the exact type of malware on your Mac by yourself. However, there are some common signs that your Mac may be infected:

  • You are bombarded with aggressive banner ads and pop-ups that may appear even when you’re not online.
  • Your Mac suddenly starts to run slower than usual, crashes or speeds up for no reason.
  • Text on web pages turns into hyperlinks.
  • Your browser is unresponsive, suddenly changes its homepage and you’re redirected to spammy websites.
  • You notice files, apps or browser extensions that you don’t remember installing.
  • You notice a decrease in available storage space.

However, a lot of malware programs are designed to be installed without you noticing it and can run in the background without your knowledge. 

How Macs Get Malware

Mac computers can get infected by malware in the same way as Windows:

  • Your computer is vulnerable to malware attacks if you use outdated software. Hackers can install malware on your Mac using these vulnerabilities.
  • You can get it if you click on pop-up ads that warn you about an imaginary virus detected on your computer.
  • Your Mac can be infected if you click a link in an infected email or open an email attachment.
  • Some malicious programs may enter your computer bundled with free apps that you download from third-party websites. 
  • You can get a virus if you click a link in the chat window of a messaging app.
The Latest Mac Cyber Threats 

Adware is an irritating type of malware that takes control over your computer and displays unending ads and pop-ups that track your online activity. 

Spyware is designed to gain access to confidential information such as passwords, credit card details and browsing behavior. Such programs gather data that can be sold to third parties or used for identity theft.

PUPs are unwanted programs that normally come bundled with other applications that you download. They may show you ads and track your browsing history.

Trojans may get into your Mac by pretending to be helpful. They run silently in the background and steal useful information or download other types of malware.

Ransomware hijacks your entire device and encrypts your valuable files so you can’t access them. Then, hackers demand payment in exchange for the release.

Viruses are codes that hijack system resources. They got their name because they spread across the system and reproduce themselves. 

You need to know that you’re not safe online because you’re just using a Mac. Macs also need additional security.

Most Mac Malware is More Nuisance than Danger 

Firstly, Macs are not generally vulnerable to what we traditionally group as malware. This means the code can do horrible things like encrypt your drive for a ransomware attack or delete files on your Mac. Apple’s protections against Mac cyber attacks and attacks against Mac devices are very strong. 

Secondly, Macs are only vulnerable to adware. This does things like redirect searches or load tabs automatically to earn ad revenue for the attacker. 

Thirdly, Mac malware is not a virus. These are not applications that can spread from one machine to another, installing themselves. MacOS does not allow unsigned apps to be installed without the permission of the user. 

The way Mac malware gets installed is to fool users into doing it. In the case of Malwarebytes, this involves advertising junk applications as if they do something essential. Innocent users are tricked into installing them and sometimes paying them. MacKeeper is an example of the best-known scamware. 

Many adware is installed through sketchy browser extensions. These will take over the browser to generate traffic for websites that pay the adware companies to get it. 

That does not mean the risk of other types of malware is zero. Sketchy applications normally make it through App Store review and some have eluded security control. However, the risks are very low. 

You Can Protect Yourself Against Vulnerability 

You can protect yourself by installing apps only from Mac App Store or trusted developers. Ensure you only install browser extensions recommended by trustworthy sources. 

If you think you may have been careless concerning app security in the past, you can get a scanner and cleaner tool. In some cases, the free version is all you need. However, the premium versions will continue to monitor and block malware. Yes, Macs are vulnerable but if you follow the above tips, your Mac will be protected against cyber threats and risks.

If you need a cybersecurity tool that can protect your Mac against security threats and safeguard your computer against cybercrime, 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 KOBU Agency on Unsplash

Written by

Kent Weigle

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