Home Did you know ? Is Malware Still a Threat to a Mac in 2021?

Is Malware Still a Threat to a Mac in 2021?

by Abeerah Hashim
Mac malware threat

When it comes to computer security for regular users, Apple’s MacBooks often win over Microsoft Windows in public opinion. That’s because Apple constantly brags about online privacy for all its devices. But if that’s the case, the question arises, is malware still a cybersecurity threat for Mac users?

Maybe, yes, given the fact that numerous malware (including ransomware) targeting Mac devices keep surfacing online occasionally. Although Apple’s security claims are true to some extent, they aren’t fool-proof. Hence, like any other device, you, as the end-user, need to protect your MacBooks from external threats.

Apple Ships Macs With Built-In Security Features…

The basic reason why people believe Macs to be more secure is that Apple puts great focus on hardware security. The tech giant ships its computers with various security components, like the M1 chips, that have secure enclaves to encrypt your data.

On top of that, MacBooks software security features, such as built-in antivirus, and features like execute disable (XD), system integrity protection (SIP), and Gatekeeper, further prevent malware from making critical changes to core system files, even if it somehow manages to enter the system.

… Still, Macs Remain Vulnerable To Malware!

Despite all the security measures, as I said above, nothing is foolproof with MacBooks.

According to recent statistics from AV-Test, more than 670,000 malware surfaced online aiming at macOS in 2020 alone. That was further backed by the appearance of over 48,000 PUAs the same year. Now that we have passed half of 2021, the count is still terrifying with roughly 7800 malware and more than 14,000 PUAs for macOS emerged already.

Although, the built-in preventive measures can save your device from major damages. However, relatively low-impact or sneakier threats like adware can still intrude on the device quite easily via various means. Some of these routes include apps from unofficial sources, torrent files, phishing emails, and online ads on websites.

Not only such viruses can enter your system, but can also slowly take over various controls to disable or compromise device security. For example, the recently discovered Shlayer trojan enters Mac devices via phishing websites. It then evades the built-in macOS security features to settle on the target device and execute malicious activities.

How To Protect MacBook Against Common Cyber Threats

The growing instances of macOS malware show that the probabilities of getting malware infections are as high for MacBooks as other non-Apple devices. Therefore, users should remain vigilant about protecting Mac systems.

At first, make sure to have your systems up-to-date – both the apps as well as the OS. That’s because these updates not only patch previously existing security bugs but also bring more features enhancing device safety.

Secondly, users should stop relying on the built-in Mac security only. Of course, enabling device security is important, but that only serves as the first line of defense. For robust protection, you should ideally install dedicated tools to prevent various threats.

For example, installing a robust Mac adware cleaner ensures you get a seamless and safe browsing experience with no interruptions. Besides removing any existing adware from your device, it also prevents further intrusions in the future. Likewise, having a robust antimalware solution and using a VPN is also important to protect your Mac from external threats.

As they say, “security is a myth” – that applies to Macs too. Although the risks are far lesser than other devices, they unarguably exist. Therefore, it is important to apply best practices to protect your online security from all threats, even if own a Mac. The more vigilant you get, the safer your Mac remains against the threat of malware attacks.

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