On January 24th, 1984, Apple Computer, Inc. launched the Macintosh Computer, a game-changer in tech history. This brought the dawn of a new era in computing. A common statement that I hear regularly is, “I am running on a Mac and Macs do not get hit with viruses.” While Macs are less susceptible to malware than Windows PCs, they CAN still be compromised.

Four reasons Macs have a lower number of malware infiltrations:

  1.  Less popular: Macs make up a significantly smaller portion of the computer market compared to Windows PCs. This makes them less attractive targets for malware creators, who often prioritize targeting the larger user base of Windows PCs.
  2. Sandboxed apps: macOS uses app sandboxing, that restricts what applications can access on your system. This makes it harder for malware to spread. Sandboxing is a virtual container used to separate an app and its associated processes from the rest of your system to safeguard from authorized or malicious activities from impacting the host system.
  3. Gatekeeper: Gatekeeper is a security feature that controls what apps you can install on your Mac. It only allows apps from trusted sources, like the App Store, by default. It uses verification processes such as checking apps downloaded from outside the App Store that may be malicious.
  4. Automatic updates: The macOS updates automatically, which helps to patch vulnerabilities more quickly, before they can be exploited by malware. If your device is not currently automatically updating, adjust your settings immediately.

Macs are not invincible, there are some risks you should be aware of:

  1. Mac malware exists: While less common, malware specifically designed for Macs does exist. Ex: Turtle – encrypts and renames files, and overwrites original content with encrypted data. These files will have “TURTLERANSv0” in their file names.
  2. User behavior matters: Regardless of the platform, clicking on malicious links, downloading suspicious files, or ignoring security updates will put your computer at risk.
  3. Advanced attacks can bypass defenses: Sophisticated hackers can potentially find ways to exploit vulnerabilities in macOS. Ex: Malicious web content such as visiting compromised websites, Zero-Day phishing, Embedding commands in shortcut files, and manipulation of AppleScript binaries.
  4. Bad Actors Look New Victims: The Bad actors are working to expand their business and target market so they are working on breaking systems that are perceived to be safe – such as Macs. They want to catch people asleep at the security wheel.

Macs are generally less susceptible to common malware but it is possible for them to be infected, especially if users are not careful! Continue to train your end users and apply proper security tools to your Mac systems.

#cybersecurity #informationsecurity #mac #pc



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