Can Macs Get Malware and Viruses?
With cyberattacks becoming an increasingly sophisticated and ever-present threat, business leaders are right to think very seriously about how they can protect their data. But do you need to worry about your Macs?
The accepted wisdom has always been that Mac users don’t need antivirus software. As Macs only account for around 10% of the market, cybercriminals have been slow to target them. However, the truth is that Macs can indeed get viruses and malware, so you must be aware of the risks.
Busting the myths about Macs and malware
Some people mistakenly believe that Apple products are immune to viruses and malware, but sadly that’s not the case. All Macs, from Mac Minis to MacBooks and iMacs, can be infected by viruses and malware, and be hacked by cybercriminals. Traditionally, Macs have been less vulnerable than Windows computers, but that’s simply a numbers game.
With Windows machines accounting for the bulk of the market, the rewards for successfully infiltrating Windows computers are far greater than for Macs. However, with more businesses now switching to Macs, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting them, with attacks on Macs rising by over 400% from 2018 to 2019. This is resulting in everything from computer slowdowns and unwanted pop-ups to sensitive data being held to ransom.
Apple Mac’s built-in antivirus measures
Apple does include some antivirus software within its Mac operating system that can help to fend off many cybersecurity threats and provide some peace of mind.
The Mac’s built-in antivirus software includes XD (execute disable), ASLR (address space layout randomisation) and SIP (system integrity protection) to protect your critical system files and prevent malware from doing harm. Other tools such as XProtect, Gatekeeper and the Malware Removal Tool also provide important protection and make it almost impossible for Mac users to download harmful files.
However, that does not make Macs immune from Malware as hackers are constantly updating their attacks to try to get around this protection. The advice from Apple is clear – avoid any third-party apps (those not found in the Mac App Store) if you want to stay virus-free.
Read more about the in-built security on Apple Macs.
How to protect a Mac from malware and viruses.
So, how do you keep your Mac safe out there in the cyber Wild West? Apple takes care of the technical protection with its in-built antivirus measures but there are also a few common sense steps that you can take.
- Learn how to spot fraudulent emails – there are always telltale signs they aren’t from a trusted sender
- Don’t download unfamiliar software and always stick to the official Mac App Store
- Always treat pop-ups and unfamiliar antivirus ads with suspicion
- Be careful when plugging in USB sticks or cables and make sure you always know where they’ve come from
- Do not connect to public or untrusted Wi-Fi networks, or use a virtual private network (VPN) if you do
- Make sure you regularly update your backups
- Always update your Mac’s OS so it contains the latest security measures
- Keep a close eye on your Mac and don’t let anyone you don’t know use it
Keeping your Macs and your business safe
Are Macs the computer of choice in your office? Want to get a cybersecurity expert to check your IT infrastructure and make sure you have every precaution covered? Then give us a call on 01473 599020 or email email@example.com to discuss your options.