4th August 2015

Is your Mac safe?

It is a popular perception that Macs cannot get viruses. Is that true? Is your Mac safe? The simple answer is NO!

In this blog we will try to uncover some of the facts and highlight some of the better Mac Anti-Virus programs that you may want to consider.

One of the biggest issues surrounding Macs and viruses is that because nobody believes that their Mac can be infected, nobody runs an anti-virus program. As a result nobody really knows the extent of platform.

For example, Microsoft is often vilified for its vulnerability to infection but there is transparency and reporting structure that allows threats to be identified and resolved quickly. With Macs nobody is detecting or reporting any threats because nobody is really monitoring the issue. Therefore, it is impossible to tell what the size and scope of the problem might be.

In fact when issues like Rootpipe were discovered in October 2014, it took Apple until April 2015 to release a patch that solved the issue. Also Apple only patch Yosemite, which means if you are running Mavericks or earlier your system is at greater risk. In addition, this week Forbes reported that a pair of security experts, Xeno Kovah and Tramnell Hudson have created a computer worm called Thunderstrike 2. They have highlighted a flaw on Mac computers and developed an experimental virus to emphasise the danger.

It is true to say that the Mac platform is safer than its Windows counterpart. Typically of the millions of new viruses that are written each year around only 2% are targeting the Mac platform. This is simply because it costs hackers more time to create a virus and therefore Windows viruses are simply more profitable.

So what should you do to protect your Mac?

Firstly, keep your OS X and apps up to date with the latest security patches.

Secondly, install an antivirus software. AV Test ran an extensive test on Mac Anti-Virus packages and published results in April of this year. The results of the test where that programs from Symantec and Bitdefender detected 100% of the maleware threats with limited impact of system performance. There are a number of free packages that provide free Mac AV software and the one that gave 100% detection rates and didn’t affect system performance was from Avast.

A great tip form AV Test is to only download such software programs from the manufactures websites. They also recommend not downloading from the App store as the products there often have restrictions limiting their functions.