In general, many Mac users have considered themselves immune to malware, viruses, and cyber attacks. However, this is changing rapidly and it is important to be aware of the risks and necessary precautions that should be taken by both individual Mac users and companies that have Mac-based employees.
It is well-known, that for many years Mac users have had to deal with significantly less viruses and cyber attacks than PC users. This is because hackers target the more widely used operating systems, which are used on PCs. However, with more and more employees using Macs and Mac operating systems in the workplace, the number of cyber attacks has increased, with 2015 being the highest rate yet, as hackers try to gain access to confidential company data and intellectual property. Another reason PCs are targeted more often is because malware for Windows is ‘performing’ much better for hackers and criminals trying to extort money for releasing files back to the victim once a ransom is paid.
While all Macs have Gatekeeper installed, a cyber-security software, it’s important to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-malware program also installed. Bitdefender’s (an anti-virus software company) stance on this is that Mac OS X software is actually more vulnerable than Windows-based operating systems. Apple markets their products as virus-free and touts that their consumers don’t need an anti-virus software. The main reason for this is because they know that any installed anti-virus program will slow down their computers and operating systems. It is possible, however, to find a reputable anti-virus/malware program that will not consume a great deal of RAM and hard drive space. In addition to recommending a customized solution, an IT support company or managed service provider will be able to remotely monitor networks and manage the antivirus software so users don’t have to spend time worrying about becoming infected.
A few ways to protect your computer and your data:
- Keep your operating system and applications current with the latest security updates, and always install the latest security patches. This can be vetted beforehand and automated by an IT support company so that a user’s workflow is not interrupted.
- Install and run only one antivirus product (having two or more anti-virus programs installed can actually cause more of a security issue and slow a computer down significantly.
- Consult with your technical support provider or managed IT services provider who can customize an IT strategy and assist in finding the best solution to fit your needs.