Best Practices To Protect Your Mac Against Malware

Despite Apple emphasizing security, Macs aren’t perfect. In February 2013, Apple’s own staff members saw their Macs infected by malware. And the same malware also infected Mac owners at Facebook and Microsoft. If the Macs owned by Apple employees aren’t safe from malware, how could yours be?

Protect Your Mac Against Malware

More recently, a malware dubbed ‘iWorm’ started infecting Mac users via Reddit to wipe their data, as well as execute Lua scripts. Once a Mac machine is infected, the malware tries to establish a link to a C2 server and works towards an inward connection. Once installed it creates a file and frees up a port on an infected PC to acquire a control server address list.

After a connection to the remote server is made, the hackers initiate a botnet or commands to the infected computer. In case of the former, they are used to send spam messages or breach corporate networks with malicious traffic to make them crash. Such malware was created to collect or relay sensitive user information.

These instances show Macs aren’t immune to viruses and malware threats. Luckily, there are steps you can take to safeguard your Mac against malware:

  1. Deactivate Java

Java is the primary route of malware breaches. While Apple released multiple updates to patch Java security vulnerabilities, you can go a step further and deactivate Java on your machine. The average computer user doesn’t need Java installed on their web browser or Mac; turn it off so you don’t have to worry about security holes impacting your system.

Here’s how you can deactivate Java system-wide:

  • Launch ‘Applications folder’ > ‘Utilities folder’
  • Open the application ‘Java preferences’
  • Untick the box beside ‘Enable applet plug-in and Web Start applications’
  • Untick all boxes beside ‘Java SE #’

Despite disabling Flash system wide, many sites such as those used to play video games may still get it through. In this case, a Flash block plugin will be suitable for your web browser. It will cause all Flash to be disabled by default until you manually enable instances of Flash to run; this will prevent Flash running in a web browser without your permission. Flash block plugins are available free of cost for all major web browsers, including Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox.

  1. Install anti-virus software

Trend Micro software that includes antivirus for Mac protection is worth mentioning because modern solutions are specially created to block malware and other sophisticated threats. Look for an offering that not only blocks malware threats faster, but also improves system performance. You may also be able to find an option that includes features to fix common Mac problems and optimize your system to restore it to top speed.

  1. Update software and apps frequently

Apple issues Security Updates frequently and developers of third-party applications do the same, therefore make it a habit to regularly update your software and apps. This is one of the simplest preventative measures you can take to keep your system secure.

  • Launch ‘Software Update’ from Apple’s menu and search for updates to install them.
  • Launch the ‘App Store’ and download updates when available.
  1. Don’t install suspicious programs and apps

Use GateKeeper on your Mac to notify you when you’re attempting to download unsigned applications, or if you’re download an application not present in the App Store, to add an extra layer of security.

Other than that, if you see a random pop-up asking you to install a program you don’t know about, don’t install it. Apple patched holes that prompted such requests to Mac users, but the rule of thumb is still relevant: if you didn’t request an app or software to be installed and you’re confronting a pop-up seeking your permission to install a program, revoke access.

That’s about it. If you have additional security tips at hand, feel free to share them in the comments.