While Macs are generally considered more secure than other competitors, it doesn’t mean they are impenetrable. The fact is they are vulnerable to security risks as cybercriminals are agile and getting more sophisticated. Recently, Apple accidentally approved malware to run on macOS. The malware was able to bypass Apple’s strict security controls before being identified by a security researcher. And even though Apple quickly removed the malware app, attackers responded by unleashing another malware.
In this new digital age, cyber threats are increasing, and Mac users have not been spared. More and more attacks are being released — some stealthily, going undetected for a while before being discovered. We have put together a list of some of the most common cyber risks mac users encounter.
Common security threats
Some of the common security threats Mac users face include phishing, malware, spyware, and adware. Let’s take a closer look at each of these risks:
One popular phishing campaign is threat actors who create fake websites that mimic Apple’s official page. Another is mentioning the brand’s name to trick victims into clicking on links taking them to these malicious sites and stealing login details and personal information.
Another variation of phishing is websites that pretend to be official malware infection detection pages. Users are duped into installing a fake antivirus application that infects devices with malware. In essence, what was a non-existent threat became a real one.
Under the disguise as a security tool, Mac users have been exposed to rogue spyware tools that can delete important files or collect user info and sell to hackers. In some cases, users are not aware when files are deleted.
Though considered a mild security risk, adware invades privacy by tracking cookies in your web browser revealing your browsing history. This data is mined to sell to third-party advertisers. This is a gross invasion of privacy. Have you ever wondered why you keep getting a pop-up ad? The answer is adware.
5 effective measures to secure Mac devices
How do you protect your mac from security risks such as phishing and spyware? The measures we are about to share with you are not complicated. Not following these simple steps can leave you vulnerable and exposed to data and privacy attacks, so be vigilant and take the necessary precautions to keep your information and your Mac secure.
Enable built-in encryption tool
Did you know Apple has a built-in encryption tool to secure your files? The tool encrypts files to protect your data from getting into the hands of cybercriminals. FileVault is Apple’s built-in disk encryption feature designed to encrypt your hard drive and all the files stored on the drive. This encryption makes your files inaccessible to anyone who does not have a password or encryption key. Information such as social security, financials, company data, and other sensitive information should be protected using FileVault.
Turn on two-factor authentication
This extra layer of security is vital for your Mac’s security. Since passwords can be stolen (especially when they are easy to guess), this additional code is your backup security measure to prevent unauthorized access to your device. We recommend not relying on the code being sent as a text (SMS can be intercepted) but instead using an app to retrieve the code. If two-factor authentication is not available, create strong and unique passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Download a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) disguises your real IP address, replacing it with an IP address in a different location. When you install a VPN from a trusted provider on your Mac, you can browse the internet safely and privately. A Mac VPN is an excellent defense against identity theft and hacking threats as it encrypts data on your network. This app is especially useful when using public WIFI.
Keep software updated
Your mac’s software and other programs must be updated regularly to keep the device safe from hackers. Outdated software is vulnerable to attacks; it has security vulnerabilities that hackers already know how to exploit. As soon as an update is available, it is recommended that you install the latest OS X version to remove vulnerabilities. To ensure you never miss an update, it is generally a good idea to set up automatic installations.
Use an Adblocker
Pop up ads are annoying and invade your privacy. One way to avoid this disruption is by installing a Safari browser extension. This extension protects you while online by blocking all ads and preventing websites from snooping on your browsing activity. The extension is also a useful tool to guard against phishing websites that pose as trusted websites to steal accounts and personal information.