Viruses and malware creators are out to attack anyone and everyone, including Mac users. Despite Apple’s robust macOS that makes it difficult to attack Macs, cybercriminals are finding ways to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. Read on to find out which threats you should protect your Mac against, as well as signs that your computer has been compromised.
What are the threats that can affect your Mac?
There are several general virus types that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from merely annoying to downright destructive.
- Adware – Adware are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware onto their deployment protocols, which can record your typing habits with keyloggers and keyboard sniffers, as well as monitor your browsing behavior.
- Sniffers – Sniffers are usually designed to detect certain words on a webpage and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
- Trojan horses – Trojan horses can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contains a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in Apple Keychain.
- Macro viruses – Macro viruses attack computers by running an executory code that could take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and mics. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macro-enabled file, hence the name.
- Ransomware – Macs held off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks for Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.
Does your Mac have a virus?
Now that you know what kinds of viruses and malware your macOS could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your Mac is infected with one:
- Pop-up ads – If you're seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
- Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
- Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Firefox such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.
Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.