Although Mac OS holds a market share of roughly 8 percent of desktop operating systems and therefore in theory presents less of a target for malware makers, it is far from immune to online threats, malware or aggressive adware. While the Windows operating system has been a popular choice for malware devices, Macs have recently been in the spotlight for both number of reported vulnerabilities and new types of malware.
The misconception that Macs are completely safe from online threats has been put to the test recently, as cybercriminals have focused on not only delivering spying and surveillance tools to them, but also on infecting them with ransomware.
Ransomware for Mac
If ransomware has been a nuisance for Windows machines for the past couple of years, Mac users were skeptical that it could also happen to them. Although security researchers published a proof-of-concept that ransomware could be real, it was spotted in the wild only a couple of months later.
Dubbed KeRanger, the Mac ransomware was the first successful attempt at infecting users with the same type of threat that Windows PCs have been struggling with for years. This not only proved that cybercriminals are exploring new financial opportunities, but that they’re also hard at work developing new threats for Macs.
Traditionally, Macs were mostly used to harbour Windows malware – although it was completely benign to them, the Macs would be used as an attack platform to infect USB devices and Windows systems once the malicious files were moved.
Another problem that Mac users have been facing lately is the emergence of annoying adware. Applications that display unwanted popups or redirect users to various services and websites have begun to plague users, and their removal has been troublesome at times. Granted, this is not malware per se, but it is the type of behavior that can affect productivity and irk the average user.
Trojans, Phishing, and Worms
Because online threats don’t discriminate between operating systems, Macs are also prone to fraud, phishing and other online scamming attempts. Online banking scams or fraudulent websites can trick users into initiating online transactions and paying for fictitious goods, or into revealing their passwords on fake websites.
When coupled with apps that display aggressive ads, fraud and phishing attempts might bring unwanted financial repercussions or end up causing data loss and identity theft. Trojans claiming to install various video codecs or other software are also popular attack vectors for infecting Macs and being used to alter and divert traffic to malicious websites.
Even a rogue version of Flash Player – a method widely exploited on Windows operating systems - was used to trick Mac users into downloading a remote control tool. More than that, Flashback – the name of the malware – could also be invisibly installed when users visited poisoned web pages.
Even rogue security solutions were used as a cover-up to trick Mac users into downloading what they believed to be security software, only to end up installing backdoors and giving cybercriminals complete access to their data. Just like any other operating system, Macs are prone to worms, malware and even ransomware as of late, making data security and privacy a top concern for users.
There’s Way to Stay Safe
Besides exercising extreme caution regarding what apps you download and install or what URLs you click, recent malware trends have made it mandatory for Mac users to install a security solution. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is more than equipped to keep annoying adware at bay, protect your online shopping experience and fend off both Windows and Mac malware, with a minimum performance footprint.
Macs are no longer immune to online threats. The fact that cybercriminals have been developing platform-agnostic malware makes it imperative that users start protecting their personal data. May it be documents, photos, or any other personal information, it has become a necessity to secure Macs against online wrongdoers.
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