Recent trends are showing that the number of cybersecurity threats to Mac users is pushing dangerously close to the number of threats faced by PC users. This is because cybercriminals are increasingly targeting Mac networks due primarily to their popularity. While the threats vary between the two different operating systems, it’s clear that iOS is being actively and successfully attacked. In fact, Mac users face several unique and worrying threats.
PUPs: Potentially Unwanted Programs
One of the biggest threats to iOS is Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). PUPs are usually bundled together with applications that you did want to download. What these apps will do is bury the fact that you will also be downloading a PUP deep in the user agreement. Since most people click yes to these agreements without reading them, PUPs “gain” your consent to be installed onto your Mac.
Top PUPs that infect Macs include PCVARK and JDI. They offer applications that purport to clean your Mac, speed it up, or, ironically, remove malware. In reality, they slow down your Mac, collect private information, and display tons of ads.
Unlike PUPs, adware usually makes its way onto Macs through more straight-forward means. They can infect you through a vulnerability in your web browser, or be downloaded along with another app without your consent. Once downloaded, the adware will barrage you with ads, trying to entice you to click on one.
NewTab and Genieo commonly infect Macs. Both attempt to redirect your searches to web pages that will generate ad revenue for their developers. They can slow down, and sometimes even crash, your web browser.
While PUPs and adware can be annoying, malware is arguably more dangerous when they infect Macs. Malware doesn’t infect Mac computers as commonly as PCs (yet), but they’re still just as threatening. Malware can steal your credit card information, passwords, or otherwise hijack your Mac. They must be installed by the user in order to infect your computer, and they commonly do so by disguising themselves as another, legitimate application or link.
OSX.Generic.Suspicious and FakeFileOpener are common pieces of malware to watch out for on Macs. When installed, they will launch themselves without your permission to redirect you to malicious sites and search engines.
What Can You Do?
You probably already know not to click on sketchy-looking websites or open strange emails, but cybersecurity threats to Mac users get more sophisticated and harder to detect by the day. Even the most prudent Mac user will accidentally let something slip through. As a result, it’s imperative for Mac users to download antivirus software to keep themselves safe.
While it may seem enticing to go with free protection, this kind of software will often do the opposite of what you intend, harvesting your data and slowing your computer. A paid version of Malwarebytes Mac protection, on the other hand, removes malicious applications by studying the behavior of the unwanted software and moving to shut it down before it can infect.
The software is constantly being updated so that it can better analyze emerging threats before they become a problem. There are so many advantages to having a good antivirus application installed on your Mac; the time to get one is now.