Mac malware is becoming more prevalent among cybercriminals
While the number of computer viruses created for Windows platform vastly surpasses Mac’s, the latter is becoming more popular among bad actors, and threats like ransomware, coin miners, spyware, data stealers and similar malicious applications are developed for macOS every day. For that reason, a 2-spyware team created a new category dedicated entirely to Mac-related malware. It is called Mac viruses.
For a very long time, Mac was considered to be a safe platform, merely because the number of users was much lower, and hackers considered it to be more efficient to create malware for Windows-based devices. However, in recent years, Macs and iOS devices became much more popular among users, and they had to face the harsh truth: they are not that safe as initially thought.
While Macs are set up with advanced virus defense features, such as Gatekeeper, Application Firewall, and File Quarantine, computer hackers are innovative and manage to surpass computers’ defenses. And, because Mac malware is becoming more frequent, users will have to make certain changes to their browsing habits, as well as equipping their machines with reputable security software.
Mac viruses: how do they spread and operate?
Because most of Mac OS X and macOS users did not have to deal with malicious software, they were not aware of the distribution techniques. Here are the most common methods that crooks use:
- Software bundling is most commonly used to inject potentially unwanted programs like Advanced Mac Cleaner. Such apps clutter the system and display invasive advertisements, redirect to suspicious websites and modifies web browser settings;
- Fake Flash Player updates are common to distribute malicious software;
- Backdoors that are already installed on the system can proliferate additional malicious software and upload multiple other files without users’ permission;
- Malicious email attachments can deliver macOS viruses;
- Phishing websites can trick users into thinking that their computer is infected with malware and they need bogus security software in order to eliminate it.
The primary goal of Mac malware is to usually monetary gain, although sensitive data harvesting is not uncommon as well. Potentially unwanted programs, such as adware or browser hijackers, typically rely on deception to make users visit questionable websites (pay-per-click scheme) or make them buy products from sponsors. Some malware, however, can be created to frustrate random users, and have no distinct purpose.
If you are using Mac, make sure you take care of its security
There are several different severity levels of various malware. Therefore, dealing with threats requires different measures. While annoying adware apps can be eliminated by simply moving them to the Trash bin, some might leave traces, while malicious programs might require advanced troubleshooting or even IT help.
Hackers are continually evolving malware distribution techniques, as well as increasing its obfuscation features and minimizing the detection. Fortunately, security researchers are constantly working to prevent malware outbreaks around the world. Unfortunately, threat actors will not give up, so extreme caution is needed in order to protect virtual safety and the security of the computer.
Good news is that there are plenty of security solutions available from security researchers. In most of the cases, scanning Mac thoroughly should suffice, and such process should remove even the most stubborn malware. Additionally, if one AV engine does not work, several others are worth choosing, so that the threat will be eliminated eventually.