Apple Macs have always been relatively immune from malware and other malicious software – mostly due to the limited user base making them a less attractive target for Cyber criminals but also in part due to an operating system that is considered inherently more secure than Microsoft’s Windows.
Recently I have noticed a steady increase in reports of malware for Macs, both in industry and national press. However, it was seeing a rather worrying graph at a recent CompTIA (the IT industry’s trade association) event that made me think that we all need to change our approach to securing Macs.
In some respects Apple have been a victim of their own success – with their devices becoming more popular they have become a bigger target. And with Mac users traditionally not installing anti-malware software on their computers, they could be considered vulnerable.
In its 2014 security bulletin IT Security firm Kaspersky Laps reported 1500 new malicious programs for Macs in 2014, an increase of 200 over the previous year. They also stated that the average Mac user encountered 9 threats during the course of the year. However, to put it into perspective a lot of these threats are ‘adware’ – programmes that create pop up advertising links, rather than being a real security threat.
The most worrying development for Mac users is the discovery in recent weeks of ransom-ware, in this case software than encrypts your files and demands a ransom to allow you to access it again, targeted specifically at Macs. The kind of threat can be truly damaging if the correct precautions are not taken. It looks as if Apple has managed to release an update to block this particular threat however it certainly looks to be part of a trend and it would be sensible to expect further Mac based threats in the future.
So what can you do about it? Right now there is no need to panic. However, it is certainly good practice to take the basic precautions of installing antivirus/antimalware software on your Mac and most importantly to always ensure you have a full backup of your files. Call us on 0845 507 0846 if you would like to know more.