Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How To Protect Your Mac From Malware - Yep, It's No Longer "Just A Windows Problem".

I know what you're thinking - "this is fantasy, my Apple Mac can't get Malware." There is no doubt that for many years Malware was exclusively designed for the Microsoft Windows platform. Why? Because 98% of the existing PCs were running Microsoft Windows. If you are going to create a profitable underground business (and that's what Malware exploits provide) you go where the users are.

Today, the "Malware Business" has become very lucrative. Mac OS X and it's Mobile counterpart, IOS have gained considerable market share, so these systems are now on the "bad guys" radar.


Before you panic, you should know that the chance that your Mac will be infected is still quite low. Apple devices continue to be secondary "Targets" and the unified hardware/software design makes exploits unlikely, but not impossible. In fact, Apple keeps a close eye on malware development and uses an internal "antivirus" built into OS X, called XProtect. This system consists of the quarantine of any app downloaded from the Internet - rather than the Curated App Store, the use of signing certificates to verify that an app is coming from a legit source, and regular security updates that include a databases of known malware targeting Mac OS X.

First, you should check to be sure that your Mac malware database is always up to date. Here's how:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Open the App Store Preferences
  3. Make sure that these two items are checked: 1. Automatically Check For Updates and 2. Install System Data Files and Security Updates.

In addition, I would recommend installing an anti-virus program. Some Mac users would say it's not needed, but I believe it's a good precaution. There are plenty of excellent, free applications from well known Anti-Malware vendors. I have two recommendations - both are well supported and require very little user intervention. Give
Sophos and ClamXav a look. ClamXav is also available in the Mac App Store.

You will be pleased with either choice and your Mac will be well protected.