Mac Viruses and Malware

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Posted on: 13 July 2017 by Jim Nanireko

Mac viruses and malware are quite rare but they exist. Apple users are sometimes lucky to pick up some kind of malware during their Internet surfing. It is then quite difficult to get rid of such programs.

The big number and variety of Windows viruses is already considered to be something ordinary. At the same time, any new Mac malware always causes quite a big hype.

Apple is quite seriously approaching all security updates. They quickly patch all the vulnerabilities and holes in the operating system. Various viruses and malicious software are constantly being cleared away.

How to recognize Mac malware

First, you should know that malware and viruses are different things. Malicious software (malware) does not attempt to infiltrate your operating system without your consent. It tries to disguise itself as a real, useful software. It kind of lures you to install it on your Mac. When installed it will systematically start collecting information about you. In most cases, it will want to find out information about your bank account, various passwords, and other personal info.

It is quite interesting that many pieces of malicious software on macOS and iOS are disguised as security software. It means that most often tools intended to remove malware are nothing but malware themselves. In most cases, these "guests" disguise themselves as antiviruses or programs against malware, which is quite ironic. Some famous examples are: MacProtector, MacKeeper, Advanced Mac Cleaner.

How it works

Using similar design and URLs a hacker takes you from a trustful website to his fake website that invites you to check your Mac device for malware. You download the program to scan the system, enter your Apple ID and password to install it. For several minutes or hours, this "definitely-not-a-pest" pretends to be useful and scans your MacBook and finds some problems. To solve problems, of course, it will ask you to enter credit card details. If you provide your sensitive data to this utility (hopefully not), it will go straight to the fraudsters who will instantly use your precious.

How to remove viruses and malware from Mac devices

We came to a very important point. You never have to pay for getting rid of the malicious software. As it was already possible to guess, never enter your bank data, whether it be apps or sites. Sometimes hackers can get impudent to the extent that they can call you and claim that they were able to detect malicious software on your computer. They will promise to remove it if you agree to pay. In this case, just hang up and that's it. A lot of tested antiviruses provide services to protect your device completely free of charge. All Apple operating systems include privacy and security settings designed to keep you safe. You may tweak those settings yourself free of charge.

But what to do in cases you enter a website claiming a malware is found on your Mac? If you are in Safari (or any other browser) and have received a warning about malicious software, a virus or any other problem, then immediately close the browser. If the browser refuses to close, then force the application to close. Then go to the Downloads folder and delete all the installation files or files that will trigger your alarm.

Social Engineering

By design and nature, all Mac devices, are perfectly protected from various viruses and worms that try to attack them directly. However, most Mac successful attacks were possible due to human errors. In most cases, users themselves are forced to click on various rogue links or doubtful email attachments, through which they download and run malicious software on their computers.

During such attacks, your Mail client may forcefully create a huge number of draft emails, or iTunes will be forcibly opened an incredible number of times. One way or another, the task of these attacks is to overload the system memory and cause a shutdown your OS. The end task of these attacks is quite simple - to force you to call a phony Apple tech support number. You can avoid these attacks in a fairly simple way - just update your operating system as often as possible.

How to protect yourself in the future

Make sure your Mac device’s OS is always up-to-date. Open App Store and click on "Update All". Enable automatic updates. Open "System Settings", click on App Store and select "Automatically check for updates". Make sure that your Mac is allowed to install only applications from trusted developers. You can enable this option in System Settings - "Security and Privacy" and "General".

Do I need to install the antivirus on Mac?

Some people believe that strong passwords and installing applications only from trusted sources is a sufficient level of protection. Others believe you still need to install additional antivirus software to be able to protect your privacy better and not to be a medium in sending viruses to Windows users. The choice is always yours.

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