Unfortunately, we can no longer say that Mac systems are completely safe from malware attacks. Mac computers are preferred over Windows as it is believed that OS X doesn’t have a lot of malware to worry about. But this is not completely true as Mac malware do exist but they aren’t as plentiful as Windows malware. Mac OS is Unix-based, making it less susceptible to threats as compared with other systems. But recent malware attacks including ransomware outbreaks have shown that Mac is also not safe.
With that been said, precautions help avoid the infection for sometimes but not always. So, here’s a list of ways how you can ensure you’re not blindsided by such malicious threats.
- Keep Mac Updated
To avoid any risk, OS should always be updated. Updates are released to guarantee clients and servers stay protected against vulnerabilities. This doesn’t mean that you’re 100% secure but is more of a precautionary measure that one can follow. It protects you from getting affected by small threats that could deteriorate data over time.
- Keep Applications Up to Date
All users should regularly update software and apps to enable new features, bugfixes and compatibility with newer OS. These updates also provide latest security and protection to your system and patches any known security loopholes.
It is always recommended install application updates and new packages through Apple Remote Desktop for better security.
- Take Proper Security Measures
Like other computers, Mac OS also includes a host of hardware and software security implementations. Enabling strong passwords, restricting user accounts, and limiting administrative rights prevent unauthorized access to your data. Firewalls and secure network protocols also provide security from unknown sources and prevents access to malicious websites. These measures not only protect from malware infections but also block communication between infected devices on your network.
One should always keep check on client and server usage to limit chances of any surprise attacks. The process of security for a Mac client will differ from a Mac server, depending on its use. Any denounced applications, services, and connected devices should be considered a weak link that could be exploited by hackers.
- Incremental Backup
Once your Mac is compromised by ransomware, all stored data becomes unusable. As without getting the decryption key nothing will work. It locks you out from accessing your own data.
One of the best way to keep ourselves protected is through timely data backups. You could also use an external hard drive for saving backups, or could schedule automatic backups on cloud.
Backup clients such as Time Machine, Ubiquitous and iCloud service can also be used, which you can find in the latest Mac OS.
- Data Encryption
Encrypting data is a good practice it helps prevent your Mac from getting infected via ransomware infections or other threats. Encryption software such as File Vault 2 can be used to encrypt complete data, apps, etc. thus protecting them from getting damaged when the user is logged out.
VPN and Proxy servers should be used to secure network connectivity and reroute traffic to secured network to allow connectivity between trusted networks or other devices.
- Guard your Windows Boot Camp installations
Generally, Mac users do not use any other system other than Mac OS on their Apple hardware. But some users do use Windows with the use of Boot Camp for dual-booting.
But users fail to realize that using a dual operating system doubles administrative rights and it becomes less effective.
- Other Precautionary Measures
There are times when browsing the internet, you see a message claiming a malicious software, malware, or virus is detected on your Mac. If this happens with you then follow these simple steps:
- Exit Safari using Safari > Quit. If you are unable to quit, force-quit the app by pressing ctrl + click the Safari icon and choose Force Quit.
- Delete unknown files, to do so go to the Downloads folder and Trash any install files, or files that you don’t recognize.
- Empty the Trash: Control-Click the Trash icon and choose Empty Trash.
- Following these simple steps, you can avoid falling into the trap of installing malware to remove malware.
In case you suspect that there’s malware on your Mac, simply follow these steps to remove it
- If the app is open, check the name of the app.
- Move or close the app window.
- If unable to close the app, open the Utilities folder (Command-Shift-U).
- Now, open Activity Monitor.
- Choose All Processes.
- Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor.
- Look for unusually peculiar apps you don’t remember installing. These are usually rouge security programs that cause malicious activity on your system.
- Click the Quit Process button (top-left) and select Quit.
- Quit Activity Monitor.
Do not forget to re-open Applications folder and locate apps such as MacDefender, MacSecurity, Mac Guard, Mac Shield, FakeMacDef or MacProtector etc. These are malware disguised as genuine looking apps. Once you locate them, drag them to Trash and then empty trash.
Always Follow These Simple Internet Guidelines
- Avoid visiting suspicious and untrusted Web sites, especially pornographic websites.
- Keep a check of what you download. To keep you away from threats, Mac OS X requires you to enter administrator password before installing any app. Download media and applications from well-known and trusted websites, i.e. the Apple App Store. If you are downloading anything else do a quick Internet search and see if any other users reported issues after installing that program.
- Use an antivirus program.
- Use Mac OS X’s built-in Firewalls and other security features.
- Avoid Peer-to-peer sharing applications.
- Check for security updates from Apple using Software Update and install them!
We hope these tips help you stay secure and use your Mac without fear of malware and ransomware infections.