The Threat of Apple Malware – Does Your Mac Need Protection?

For many years Apple users have not worried about malware to the extent Microsoft Windows users have.  Has the immunity to malware finally come to an end? Some might say yes, while others disagree. Apple computers no longer hold the niche market they did years ago.  As the sales of iPad and iPhones has risen, so has the sales of Apple computers. In the last quarter of 2011, Apple sold more than four million desktop and laptop computers.  This increased market share has not gone unnoticed by malware developers.

Consider the fake AV attacks of 2011 when Mac Defender was discovered and the release this year of the OSX.Flashback.K trojan.  It’s believed to be the largest Mac infection to date and was designed to steal page views and advertising revenue from Google.

The issue that Apple faces is that the more success Apple has with Macs, the higher the cyber security risk will be for users who don’t have protection.  Even while there has not been many Mac viruses, the risk of attack is rising and the malware might not even be directly targeting the Apple computer.  According to a report by Sophos, one in five Macs currently harbor malware made for Windows computers.

The best way to deal with this threat is to practice basic security protections.

  • Make sure that your Mac is up-to-date and all software is current.
  • Consider enabling the built-in host firewall.
  • Install anti-virus.
  • Understand that many attacks are social in nature so users should practice caution before clicking on links or opening attachments.

While the threat of attack on an Apple devices remains low, the threat is real. Why take any chances when there are several free AV products available. Just by installing AV and practicing a few basic best practices you can drastically reduce the possibility of ever having any trouble with malware on your Mac.

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