You have may heard that Mac computers don’t get viruses, but is that fact or fiction? While at one point it was true that Mac computers were less prone to viruses, sadly this is no longer the case.
With the very recent discovery of Silver Sparrow, a new type of malware that’s affected over 30,000 Mac users, it couldn’t be a better time to read up on how you can protect your Mac!
Where did this theory start?
Initially, hackers were less likely to design malware and viruses targeting Mac computers because fewer people owned these devices. With Apple’s growth as a company, there are now millions of active Mac users around the globe.
This means there are far more machines and users to target, making Mac viruses a profitable scheme. Viruses and malware hide on Mac computers the same way they do on PCs, there are just fewer of them out there.
Viruses on the rise:
- 2012: the first large-scale malware attack on Mac computers affected about 600,000 users. Apple addressed this threat, but the incident sparked a new debate about the security of their systems.
- 2014: the Rootpipe threat was discovered but, with Apple being widely criticized for its slow response to security threats, they didn’t come out with a patch fix until April of 2015.
- Early 2016: the KeRanger ransomware variant marked a turning point; it represents an expansion of ransomware to new platforms, including Mac computers— that were once considered safe from attacks. Once KeRanger had infected a system, the ransomware would encrypt a user’s files and demand $400 in Bitcoin.
- 2017-Now: An ongoing threat Mac users need to be aware of is adware connected to a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. This threat popup appears like a legitimate message from Flash, when in fact it is not.
- Early 2020: With the rise of Zoom meetings, in June of 2020 it was revealed that it was possible for users to be added to video calls and have the Mac webcam activated without permission. Following the public disclosure of the vulnerability both Zoom and Apple addressed the vulnerability.
- Early 2021: A new strain of malware, called Silver Sparrow, has just been discovered on 30,000 Macs. Silver Sparrow has already proven to be an extremely successful attack, utilizing Java Script to infect computers. While Apple has since revoked the developer certificates that allowed it to spread, meaning new machines can no longer be infected, you should run a FixMeStick scan to make sure you’re safe.
A great misconception:
It’s not widely publicized that Mac computers can (and do) get viruses, while comparatively there is a whole industry of malware protection centered around Microsoft.
New threats to Mac computers are wild cards in the cybersecurity community. It is not always apparent how harmful a new variant can be. Threats that were once benign can be manipulated and turn into major vulnerabilities.
So, what’s the fix for Mac viruses?
- Run a FixMeStick scan – If your Mac is infected, it’s best to clean up that threat right away, rather than wait for Apple to figure out the appropriate response.
- Always improving: FixMeStick is now compatible with all Macs made between 2006 and 2017 (ask our support team for special instructions regarding FileVault). Since our Kickstarter campaign in 2014, we have made a consistent commitment to improving the compatibility of the FixMeStick for Mac computers.
It’s worth noting that the tech whiz kids at your local London Drugs turn to the FixMeStick as their first line of defense when they are cleaning out Mac computers in store.
The beauty of the FixMeStick is that it packs enough of a punch that professionals feel comfortable using it while also remaining accessible to at-home users. If you want to make sure your Mac is safe from the newest threats, get yours today!