Apple Devices Now A Big Target For Cyber Attacks
In 2019, Mac computers with a Mac operating system held a 6% market share while Windows has a 36% market share. With Macs growing in popularity, they are becoming a big target for cyber threats and malware.
Malwarebytes identified a 400% increase in threats to Mac devices from 2018 to 2019, with an average of 11 threats per Mac device (PC’s average 5.8 threats per device). Macs are not immune to infections. While ransomware has been scarce on a Mac operating system, it has been easily targeted by crypto jacking (coin mining) operations, Potentially Unwanted Applications or Programs (PUAs or PuP’s) and the run of the mill online threat of phishing. Crypto jacking is best defined as stealing computing power (i.e. cookies that contain login credentials and passwords).
In 2019, the top 10 threats against Macs included PUP’s that are normally downloaded with the software that you actually want or comes pre-installed on your device. Some of these can be classified as “system optimizers” trying to improve your system.
Like Windows users, Mac users don’t typically install updates as soon as they arrive, leaving vulnerabilities to their operating system open to exploitation. Both Microsoft and Apple tend to patch their operating systems on a regular basis, and these patches can include fixes for hundreds of identified problems and vulnerabilities. Microsoft issues patches monthly, while Apple tends to issue them as needed based on severity of known issues.
Five Ways Mac Users Can Help Protect Themselves:
- Install paid “strong” security software on all Mac devices, including mobile devices, to protect against infections. There are several vendors out there. Just make sure the one you choose is a trusted source. And remember, free software may not give you the full protection you need.
- Upgrade the firmware (i.e. operating system) often. You should check the Mac device to see if there is an update pending and if so, this should be installed as soon as possible.
- Change passwords. You should be changing your Mac login password, as well as any email passwords on a regular basis of at least every 90 days. Please use at least 12 characters and use capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols to create a unique password.
- Be careful what you click on. Internet downloads can infect both a PC or a Mac. Look at the email address that sent you the weblink. If the email address is not from the person that you think, delete the message. If you do click on a message and you are asked to log into your account, please DO NOT do it. This is an attempt to steal your credentials and is considered phishing.
- Data Backup. It’s important that you back up your data on a regular basis. Remember, to unplug the external hard drive when you are not using the backup. If your Mac gets infected, the infection can also attack the external hard drive. You may want to consider using an on-line vendor for data backup.
Remember that all Macs, PC’s, Android’s, iPhones, etc., are computers that can be infected by the actions of their users. To ensure optimal Cybersecurity, follow the above suggestions, and always enlist the help of your trusted Cybersecurity and Managed IT Experts.
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