For as long as we can remember, both the company Apple and Mac owners alike flaunted the fact that OS X was impervious to destruction by malware, viruses and all the threats that PCs faced. Today, you won’t hear Apple boasting such claims because Mac viruses exist! Since 2011 we’ve seen spyware, adware and more sneaking their way into Macs, causing major problems. We know there are real issues afoot because Apple stopped using the “Macs don’t get viruses” tagline about two years ago.
Why Attack the Mac Now?
There are a couple of theories as to why Macs were safer. One is that they simply had superior security with less ways for hackers to get in and violate your privacy. The other was that there were less Macs on the market, so online criminals didn’t find it worth their time to try and penetrate their safeguards. Now, with the huge popularity of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, many believe that the online thugs have found it completely worthy of their efforts. Apple products are still believed to be more secure, but predictions are that the hackers won’t give up and keep trying to breach security with the large amount of users on the market.
Potential Problems Macs Are Facing
OS X has Unix as part of its makeup, so that is a natural armor against viruses. Unfortunately there is so much more to be afraid of than viruses. Adware, crapware, spyware all enter your computer on the down low and leave pop ups, take over your browser and even track what you’re viewing, then trick you into clicking the wrong thing during an installer. You’ll be seeing false ads for software on your search engine, odd apps linked with adware into installers for real software.
If you aren’t worried, you should be. Once the adware takes up residence in your browser, it starts to dissect what happens on the most secure sites like your credit card statement, bank, email and more, sending the gathered info back to their servers. A major computer bug called Shellshock was discovered on some Macs, which allowed hackers to essentially take them over and execute a whole host of commands on the victims’ computers. Phishing attempts have also increased, with criminals sending out fake emails and websites that have been so spot on they’ve fooled even the most savvy users. Holes in Java have been to blame for many of the security breaches.
What Mac Owners Need to Look For
All is not lost, as Macs are still thought to be safer than PCs. Invest in 3rd party security on top of X Protect that comes with OS X, since tests have shown it to be less than effective against many malware hazards. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 2015 is one recommended security system. When installing apps, always go directly through the Mac App Store because these apps have been verified by Apple. Since Java was responsible for the majority of 2013 attacks, disable its plugin. Otherwise you must be careful what you click on, and don’t trust pop up error messages.