For years, Mac users were told they were safe. The misconception that only Windows computers need antivirus protection is just that – a misconception. In a world where every connected device is a potential target, Mac users need to rethink their security. Macs are also at risk, and Mac-designed malware is definitely not new.
Why are Macs considered immune to threats? The macOS operating system is based on the UNIX architecture. This system is known to be more secure than others and especially less attacked by hackers because it’s not as popular as Windows. It’s going to cost the hacker more to build Mac malware than Windows-based malware.
Why are Macs not immune to threats? A safer operating system does not mean that it can not get viruses. Vulnerabilities in third-party software essential for web browsing (browsers, Java, Flash, Adobe) can be exploited by malicious code. Adware and ransomware are currently the most frequent infections that target Macs, and will remain one of the most important trends. On the other hand, phishing attacks can not be prevented by the operating system. For its part, Apple is criticized for not reacting quickly enough to security vulnerabilities. For example, the Rootpipe vulnerability discovered in October 2014 was patched only 7 months later, in April 2015.
How do I know if I have been infected? You wouldn’t, because most of the malware is very stealthy these days. It’s the same with PCs: hackers realized that the more silent they are, the longer they can get away with it. Modern Mac and Windows malware does not slow down your system, unless they are Bitcoin miners.
How to protect your Mac? Keep your system and software up-to-date, install security updates. Beware of traps set by hackers. If something seems too good to be true, it certainly is not. Install an antivirus that protects the Mac in real time against infections. Bitdefender recently obtained a 100% detection score on the AV-Test tests (June 2019). Keep in mind that nothing replaces a complete security solution designed for Mac in addition to a cautious attitude when receiving messages or attachments from unknown people in particular.