Are there not times when you just hate the obvious? When it comes to security for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, where is the greatest risk? It’s the same as it always has. The user. Now, I don’t mean that as an insult or an attack, but more of a fact of life. When it comes to malware taking a ride on our various computers, most of the time we’re the cause.
Macs don’t get viruses.
For the most part, that’s true, and for a variety of good reasons. By definition, a virus needs to replicate and that has become more difficult on the Mac, even on Windows 10, especially so on iPhone and iPad, thanks to Apple’s curated App Store and sandboxed iOS platform.
A computer virus is a type of malicious software program (“malware”) that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. Infected computer programs can include as well, data files, or the “boot” sector of the hard drive. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be “infected” with a computer virus.
Those who create malware, regardless of the platform, often trick the user into downloading and installing malicious software, hence the user usually is the one who puts a computer at risk.
Virus writers use social engineering deceptions and exploit detailed knowledge of security vulnerabilities to initially infect systems and to spread the virus. The vast majority of viruses target systems running Microsoft Windows, employing a variety of mechanisms to infect new hosts, and often using complex anti-detection/stealth strategies to evade antivirus software.
Like it or don’t, Macs are vulnerable, too, and not always easy to catch. The Fruitfly malware is a good example.
A mysterious piece of malware that gives attackers surreptitious control over webcams, keyboards, and other sensitive resources has been infecting Macs for at least five years. The infections—known to number nearly 400 and possibly much higher—remained undetected until recently and may have been active for almost a decade.
Not much is known about this one, including how it travels, and where it comes from. That in itself should be cause for concern, but it’s not a big deal because, as most Mac users think, “Macs don’t get viruses.”
Macs get malware.
Security researcher Patrick Wardle:
This shows that there are people who are sick in the head who are attacking everyday Mac users for insidious goals. A lot of Mac users are overconfident in the security of their Mac… just goes to reiterate to everyday users that there are perhaps people out there trying to hack their computers.
In this case it’s likely that Fruitfly won’t pose a security risk to your computer, but what can you do to ensure that your Mac doesn’t get hacked or attacked?
Obviously, stay away from websites you don’t know to be popular and secure, be very careful and ware of email attachments (even from friends or co-workers; malware had legs), don’t download files unless they come from recognized websites (free is not always your friend).
There are other recommendations, too; including the all-important change password regularly, avoid root access on your Mac, and especially, be careful of email attachments, links that advertise free software, unknown downloads; but you get the idea.
We can be our worst enemy.
We have met the enemy and he is us