For years, Mac computers have been touted as being virtually impenetrable. Users of Mac computers traditionally think themselves immune from the problems so many Windows users have dealt with for the past few decades. These beliefs aren’t without reason.
Roughly a decade ago, Apple began running commercials about how much better their products were than Microsoft’s. One of their major claims was that Macs don’t suffer from security problems while Windows PCs were littered with such issues.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t true then, and it certainly isn’t true now. While Macs have come a long way since the early 2000s, they’ve also become a major target for hackers and other cybercriminals due to the increase in Apple’s market share.
So what exactly are the problems and what can you do about them? Some issues have been around much longer than you might think. Others are a more recent threat stemming largely from the increase in internet integration into our devices. We’ll discuss a few problems and what, if anything, you can do to deal with them.
- One major problem that isn’t tied specifically to Mac computers but to all devices that access the internet is the issue of unsafe or unsecure networks.
- No matter what platform you use to access the net, connecting through public WiFi or other unprotected hotspots puts your device at risk.
Over an unsecured network, hackers can breach a device in mere minutes. That includes MacBooks and iPads. Once they’ve infiltrated your device, hackers can steal or modify files as they see fit without you ever even noticing—at least not until it’s too late.
- The easiest solution to an unsafe connection is to make it safe by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.
- The best VPNs not only allow you to use encryption that has yet to be cracked to protect your data but also to be completely anonymous while accessing without ever experiencing network slowdown.
A VPN works by connecting you to a remote server before accessing other areas of the net. This has two effects:
- Remote servers are encrypted, and thus they encrypt your connection
- Because the servers are remote, they have a separate IP address that displays in place of yours and keeps you hidden within the swarm of other users
By removing yourself from the radar of hackers, your Mac gains a safe presence in nearly any public space. Plus, you can also access foreign content by manipulating your IP address since you can choose remote servers in many different countries.
- Although the controlled environment Apple has created for Macs is better at dealing with malware, it isn’t impervious.
- Since the 1990s Macs have had multiple different types of infections, including the first worm discovered in 2006 by the Intego corporation.
- These problems were relatively minor until more recently because Apple commanded a very small share of the personal computer market.
- That changed dramatically with the success of the iPhone, iPad and MacBook series.
- While it increased product diversity available to customers, it also made Mac computers a more appealing target for hackers and malware programmers.
Now, Mac users face many traditional problems that were once associated only with Windows. That includes getting a virus just from visiting a website or “Trojan horse” infections where the user is tricked into opening an infected file he or she mistakenly downloaded.
Of course, as the problem is similar to what Windows users face every day, the solution is also virtually the same.
Installing and keeping an updated anti-virus program helps prevent infections from happening and aids in removing the ones that sneak their way in.
There’s also one other security issue that Mac has proven notoriously vulnerable to…
- No matter how resilient Apple’s service becomes, none of their devices can prevent users from literally giving away their private information.
- Phishing scams target users regardless of their platform and seek to fool us into handing over account information or personally identifying data.
Perhaps the most infamous of all is the iCloud celebrity photo leak that took place back in 2014.
- Despite iCloud being very useful for backing up and storing information online in a relatively safe location, many high-profile users paid the price when they fell victim to an email that alleged itself to be from Apple.
- These users handed their information over willingly and ended up publicly humiliated.
- As you might have guessed, the problem still exists today and shows no signs of letting up.
- Macs aren’t any different when it comes to identifying fake websites or scams.
The best solution is to learn to recognize the legitimate from the fake. Check web addresses before you enter any private information by reading the address bar at the top of your browser. Be sure emails are really from who you think, and remember that official emails will never ask for your password (because the company in question already knows it).
- As we move into the next generation of technology, Mac security is likely to remain a major issue.
- Thus far there are no signs of Apple’s success slowing down, and with that comes opportunists looking to profit from exploits and security flaws within Apple’s products.
- In addition to using security software, you can also try to stay ahead of the curve by learning about new scams and tricks that criminals are using to defraud users.
- It’s also important to keep updating your devices, as updates frequently contain fixes for the previously mentioned exploits.
Still believe your Mac is invincible? What are you doing to keep your device safe? Let us know in the comment section.
About the Author: Cassie is in expert in a variety of technological fields, particularly in areas relating to safe internet usage. With the increase in security breaches and hacks, she frequently finds herself writing about what users can do to avoid becoming victims. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.