By Tony Larks, Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing, Trend Micro
For a long time there was no way of disputing this falsehood, because cybercriminals were only keen on attacking the platform where the most users were – Windows. It never made economic sense for the bad guys to target Macs so the myth that they are impervious persisted. Unfortunately things have changed.
The cool factor of Apple’s iPod, iPad and iPhone products have made people want to buy Macs in greater and greater numbers – so great that it’s now worth hackers’ while to start targeting them. And targeting them they are. Here’s a pick of just a few Mac attacks:
- Mac Defender – this fake AV attack was designed to con Mac users into buying bogus security software in order to solve a security problem they didn’t actually have.
- Gh0st RAT – a sophisticated attack launched by suspected Chinese hackers and designed to covertly nab sensitive info from infected Macs.
- Flashback Trojan – hugely successful malware which has infected over 600,000 Macs. This Trojan Horse can secretly turn a Mac into part of a botnet or steal sensitive data. It is succeeds because users can get infected just by visiting a dodgy web page.
The bad news is that Apple’s on-board security technology is not good enough to protect Mac users from these kinds of threats.. The firm has also been very slow to roll out updates to its’ operating system. Updates that patch the security holes exploited by hackers. On the plus side, however, these holes are easy to block, and with some basic steps you can breathe a little easier.
- Always keep up-to-date with any new OS patches from Apple. It took the firm six weeks after Microsoft, , Oracle and Adobe released their patches for the known vulnerability exploited by Flashback. This makes it even more important for Mac users to update their systems as soon as Apple updates are available.
- Take advantage of Software Update feature on your Apple devices, to ensure all the apps running on your Mac are of the latest, and therefore most secure, version.
- Go with a third-party security supplier who offers a cloud-based threat protection service, like Trend Micro Safe Surfing for Mac, to block all threats dynamically before they reach your machine. Apple’s built-in security software is very basic. It only checks for known malicious files but this will not protect users from newly discovered vulnerabilities, that Apple doesn’t have a patch for yet. You can get a <free 6-month license> of Safe Surfing for Mac.
- Be alert. It’s the most obvious advice in the world, but you can be your own worst enemy by believing the hype that Macs don’t get viruses. As we’ve seen more and more recently, the bad guys are targeting Mac users. They follow the money. Don’t be caught out.
Tony Larks works for Trend Micro and is guest blogging for the Fearless Web. The opinions expressed here are his own.
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