Do Macs Get Viruses?
It’s always a debatable question among Mac users.
Although, its true that Macs are less prone to viruses and malware in comparison with Windows OS. But this was the case a long time back now. Due to the immense popularity of Apple products, particularly Mac OS, hackers have now shifted their focus on Macs too.
Hackers and bad actors has always tried to breach the security of Macs. However they were less successful in their attempts because of the Mac’s built-in security features that keep it safe. According to TechCrunch, Apple shuts down apps the minute malware is detected in any one of them. But even macOS is vulnerable to user’s errors, which helps viruses and malware to sneak in.
What are the in-built security features of Mac that guards against viruses?
There are several built-in security features that guards Mac against viruses:
Like Windows have the Windows Defender program, Macs have the XProtect. It is the built-in antivirus program Mac have since 2009, and does the system scanning for viruses and malware. If it finds any suspicious program or files, it automatically quarantines them.
Notarization and Gatekeeper:
Apple is believed to be uncompromising in preventing malicious software from entering its devices. The company’s “notarization” process is one of the strictest in the world, where the apps go through various security checks, and if approved, they are allowed to run on Macs and iPhones. If not, they are instantly blocked.
Every notarized app is assigned a ticket that is checked by the Gatekeeper, when any app tries to get install on the Mac. Once verified, the Gatekeeper allows the software/app to launch on the Mac. If the Gatekeeper founds any app to be malicious then Apple will revoke its notarization. That means the app will no longer will run on the Mac.
Apple’s App Review:
Apple has its own Review process for Apps that are sold in the App Store. Apple says “We review all apps and app updates submitted to the App Store in an effort to determine whether they are reliable, perform as expected, respect user privacy, and are free of objectionable content.”
Is Apple Macs Built-in Security Is Enough To Guard Against Viruses?
Despite having such security features, Macs still can’t be said to fully secure against viruses. As today malware authors takes on proactive and sophisticated approach to get inside the system. Virus is actually a broad term, but there are various possible vulnerabilities that leads to security breaches.
Relying only on Mac’s default protection will give a good chance for the viruses/malware to get inside the system. Although, XProtect updates its threat database, however a comprehensive and real-time threat monitoring is important to take on proactive approach against these odds. So, you can rely on CleanMyMac X, that is notarized by Apple.
Secondly, besides viruses and malware there are a plenty of virus types that attacks Mac users. When you are online, you expose your data to plenty of third-party websites. These may be a phishing attack, spam emails, rogue downloads, bad torrent links, data breaches, malicious ads/links and risks of using public Wi-Fi. These threats can completely ruin your privacy and security.
What Are The Signs Of Mac Infected With Viruses?
There are some tell-tale signs that your device has been breached:
- If your Mac suddenly starts to run slow or applications are lagging much more than usual;
- Ads and pop up appear randomly while browsing and causes redirects to pages you don’t request for;
- Your default homepage on Safari suddenly starts redirecting to Yahoo or other unknown address. To know in detail, check out setapp.com.
- You may see unknown browser toolbar, extensions and apps that you didn’t install.
How To Guard Your Mac Against Viruses In 2022?
Ensuring that your Mac is virus-free shouldn’t only be the system’s headache. So, here are some tips for Mac users through which you too can protect your Mac from security threats:
1# Switch On Mac’s Firewall:
Mac’s Firewall is your first line of defense against any outside virus attack. To make sure your Mac can protect itself:
- Go to System Preferences
- Click on the “Security & Privacy”;
- Choose the “Firewall” tab. If the light next to the Firewall is green, it is on;
- Next, click turn on Firewall if it is off;
- Click on Firewall Option;
- Click on the “Enable Stealth Mode” box for added protection.
2# Use VPN For Public Networks:
Public Wi-Fi is a convenience that the technological age has granted us. They can be very convenient if you are on the move, but they can also be a threat to your Mac. Using a VPN like NordVPN or ClearVPN while using a public network creates a secure line between your device and your browsing sites. The data will be encrypted so that even if the Wi-Fi is breached, your Mac will still be safe.
3# Beware Of Clickbaits:
Email messages with unknown links and clickbait are prevalent for malware content. Don’t click on any unfamiliar email or unknown link unless you know who the message is from. Also, don’t download any strange attachments that you are unsure of. These are classic styles of phishing, with the only intent to obtain financial or other confidential information from your device. The easiest way to safeguard yourself is to be vigilant.
4# Trust Your Mac:
Trust in your Mac’s built-in security tools. Firstly, always download software from the Mac App Store or directly from the software’s official website. Your Mac will only run software from authorized developers. This vital security layer should not be ignored if your system warns you about a particular app you mean to install. Double-check that the app you’ve downloaded is the one you expected to download before you agree to open it. After the file is downloaded, it is scanned by Mac’s security tools to check for known malware. You must follow its instructions if it warns you about the search results.
5# Avoid Flash And Java:
Both Flash and Java are known offenders in spreading viruses in Mac. Outdated versions of these two browser plugins should be uninstalled altogether since they are becoming obsolete and almost non-existent in the modern web world.
6# Update Your Browser:
Browsing the internet is one of the most common ways viruses and malware sneak in on your device. Therefore, web browsers should be updated regularly to keep their security up to date.
7# Install Additional Antivirus:
Although Mac’s built-in security layers are pretty tough, it’s not unbreachable. Therefore, it is always a good idea to install additional antivirus software to add another layer of protection on your Mac. There are plenty of good options to choose from. Do your research well and select the best option, but we recommend CleanMyMac X.
8# Clear Your Cache:
If your Mac is recovering from a malware attack and you don’t want a repeat performance, immediately clear your cache so that no traces of the website from where the virus originated or infected files are left on your Mac.
9# Leave SIP Alone:
System Identity Protection or SIP makes it impossible for anything but a macOS update bundle to change core aspects of the operating system. Disabling SIP allows the malware to change the operating system’s core, making it harder to detect and remove.
10# Backup Your Mac Regularly:
If the worst happens and a virus does take your system down, it is worth regularly backing up your device to avoid losing your data and other information. It is also good sense to have your backups across multiple storage options, for example, to the cloud or in an external physical hard drive or SSD.
Prevention is always better than cure. Unfortunately, you cannot stop the inevitable from happening, but by following these guidelines, you can protect your Mac from absolute destruction.