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What You Can Do To Protect Yourself From Big Mac Attacks

Gabriel Bly | July 11, 2016
When it comes to security, Mac users should be worried.

The ransomware note has step-by-step instructions on how to release the victim's data

All Macs have a built-in security measure called Gatekeeper, which denies any applications with malicious software from being installed. Unlike Windows, Apple approves every application that is featured on the App Store, while applications from other vendors are inspected for malware before they can be opened. If the application is deemed harmful, Mac users will get a notification, warning them about the application.

KeRanger was able to bypass Gatekeeper by using a valid Apple development certificate, making it appear as if the application was already approved by Apple. When they learned about the problem, Apple took down the certification ID, and anyone who downloaded the Transmission app got this notification:

The warning users got after Apple changed the certificate for Transmission

The response from Apple was fast, but the ransomware is still being refined. Now, the hackers are attempting to encrypt the user's backup files on Time Machine too, which Mac users have used as a fail-safe to backup their files.

A few years before that, in 2013, Apple itself was attacked by a trojan called Pint-sized, which infected the computers of some Apple engineers. Security firm F-Secure claimed that hackers were trying to access codes to infect millions of smartphones.

And few years before that, in 2011, more than 600,000 Macs were infected by a trojan calledFlackback, which could look through the user's data for information to steal-including credit card numbers, passwords, and other valuable information.

There are many more instances of Macs being infected by malicious software throughout its history. If you want to see a longer list of malware attacks on Macs, you can find one here.

Even with all these attacks, none of them have been big enough to convince Mac users that they need to take any preventative actions against them. If you happen to be one of the few Mac users who is worried about security, here are a few ways that you can protect yourself from being a victim of malware:

Turn On Automatic Updates

According to GoSquared, only half of Mac users have upgraded to the current OS (El Capitan), which leaves them more susceptible to attacks. It is essential for Mac users to update their OS and software because each update includes patches that help protect against the malware attacks that Apple knows about. In fact, most all of the malware examples listed above could have been prevented (or at least minimized) by turning on automatic updates.

The instructions on how to turn automatic updates can be found here.

Run antivirus software on your Macs


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