What it is: A newly discovered Macintosh malware program has brought attention back to security on the Macintosh.
Security experts recently uncovered a new malware written for the Macintosh that encrypts your files and demands a ransom before unlocking it. Such malware is known as ransomware and has been prevalent in the Windows world. One flaw in this latest Macintosh ransomware is that even if you pay the ransom, it still won’t unlock your files so there’s actually zero incentive to pay the ransom.
In most cases, ransomware demands payment and then does unlock your files. Yet the discovery of this new malware for the Macintosh highlights the simple problem that whatever operating system proves popular, malicious people will write malware for it. The main reason why Windows has so many malware programs developed for it is because so many people use Windows. That;’s also the same reason why Android gets attacked by malware constantly and now the Macintosh is starting to get attacked with more malware. The bottom line is that no operating system is completely safe from malware because malware can attack and infect any operating system, even the more secure and least used operating system.
Of course that doesn’t change the fact that there are far more Windows malware in the wild simply because Windows has far more users. The growing number of Macintosh malware indicates that the Macintosh is growing in numbers, which makes macOS a more tempting target. While macOS contains Gatekeeper and other security precautions to minimize the risk of malware infection, no form of protection can ever be 100 percent safe so there will always be a chance of getting infected.
Although no operating system can stop all types of malware, the most common weakness in any computer is the user. The latest macOS ransomware can only infect computers by tricking the user into downloading and installing it. Typically such malware lurks on sites sharing illegal materials such as stolen music files or pirated software. Malware may disguise itself as illegally copied music or software, or disguise itself as a utility program such as an Adobe Flash or program installer that you need before you can access the copyrighted material to steal.
By simply avoiding sites offering copyrighted materials, you can avoid most forms of malware. By being aware of common email tricks to get you to download and install file attachments, you can also greatly minimize the threats of malware infection.
Ultimately the best defense for your computer is never a technical solution but your own personal awareness of common threats. By understanding common types of threats and remaining suspicious of all unknown files, your own knowledge will protect your computer far more than buying an anti-virus program. In both the Windows and Macintosh world, you may still want an anti-virus program, but the free versions are often just as good as the paid versions and no anti-virus program will protect you against your own carelessness and gullibility.
Windows may have more malware than macOS just as Android may have more malware than iOS, but that doesn’t mean Apple products are immune from infection. With a little common sense and knowledge about malware, you can protect your computer form infection no matter which type of operating system you use.