Common Security Threats Facing Mac Users and How to Stay Protected

Common Security Threats Facing Mac Users and How to Stay Protected

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The belief that Macs are safer and less prone to malware threats than Windows computers is a myth. In the past, Mac users were less likely to be targeted by cybercriminals because there were so few of them. However, the macOS user base is growing and becoming a lucrative target for cybercriminals. Today, Macs are as vulnerable as PCs when it comes to malware attacks, phishing, and other online threats computer users face. 

For instance, the number of attacks aimed at Mac users through malicious and potentially unwanted programs has increased significantly over the years. These are primarily Trojans and adware such as NewTab, which redirects users to illegal revenue-earning sites. Other malware threats affecting Mac users include spyware, crypto miners, and backdoors. Beyond malicious software, there’s also been a significant increase in phishing attacks on macOS users, experts say. 

Here are a few ways to set up your Mac to be secure from these threats. 

Use Antivirus Software 

Most Mac users believe that they do not need any antivirus software, making macOS a soft target for cybercriminals. The macOS built-in antivirus, XProtect, can protect your device against common, well-known malware, but it doesn’t stand a chance against newer, more sophisticated threats. Install antivirus software such as Bitdefender, Kaspersky, McAfee, etc., to complement XProtect. 

Install a VPN Software

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) scrambles your internet traffic and masks your IP address for maximum privacy and anonymity when browsing the internet. A VPN comes in handy when you have to use public Wi-Fi at an airport, coffee shop, etc., to check your email or shop online.  Using a VPN on your Mac effectively protects you from people sniffing the network with the intention of grabbing login credentials, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. 

Stick To Safari Browser to Protect Against Phishing

Phishing for Apple IDs has become increasingly common among cybercriminals. When it comes to phishing, some of the biggest threats Mac users will encounter are phishing emails, websites, and certain online services they might use. Use Safari browser to protect against phishing attacks. Apple’s internet browser offers several ways to protect you from phishing attacks and other threats online. 

Enable Firewall

The vast majority of macOS threats involve tricking users into downloading and executing malicious files from the web. Therefore, using an inbound firewall will reduce the risk of attack significantly. Luckily, macOS comes with a built-in firewall with inbound network protection. All you need to do is make sure that the firewall on your Mac is enabled to keep viruses, Trojans, adware, crypto miners, and other online threats from penetrating your system. 

Encrypt Your Data with FileVault

FileVault will encode the data on your Mac so that it’s locked and can’t be read unless you enter a password. If you have sensitive information on your computer, ensure that you enable FileVault to keep your data from illegal access by hackers and other online threat actors. FileVault will encrypt and lock up your entire hard drive as soon as your Mac is shut down. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault to enable full disk encryption. 

Audit Your Privacy and Security Settings 

Check what personal information your Mac is collecting, where it’s stored, and how it’s shared. You can do this with an audit of your privacy and security settings on your computer. Did you know that some apps receive details about your physical location? Are you comfortable with sharing your physical location with different applications on your Mac? If not, navigate to the Security & Privacy tab and choose the Privacy to update these settings. 

Keep Your System Updated

Last but not least, keep your software, including your apps and operating system, up to date to ensure protection against emerging threats. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving to take advantage of vulnerabilities in your system. Apple releases security updates to close newly discovered gaps in security promptly. Ensure that you are running an up to date version of macOS to guarantee protection. 

Contrary to popular belief, macOS is not immune to cybersecurity threats such as malware, phishing, and data breaches. As macs become more prevalent in the business environment, the number of threats targeting the Apple ecosystem will continue to rise. It’s vital that Mac users take the necessary security precautions to protect their devices.