Protecting your Macintosh from Malware and Hackers

Several Macintosh based malware programs have been in the news recently, the most prevalent one called Mac Defender. While these programs are considered Malware, they are not viruses. A virus executes code or scripts without your permission or knowledge. Malware or Malicious software requires your permission to be installed. Usually it masquerades as legitimate software in order to get you to install it. Each of these must be installed by you entering your username and password. These programs trick the user into thinking they are installing a piece of anti-virus software. Once installed, they try to scare you into thinking your computer is infected and getting you to enter your credit card number to fix it. To a technically savvy user, these programs would raise red flags almost instantly. However, many novice users trust this software, some going so far as to give the program their credit card number for payment. These programs are a scam, wanting nothing more than to steal credit card  numbers and cause problems.

You might be wondering, how do I protect my Macintosh from these types of threats. Here are just a few simple steps to protecting your mac:

1. Download Software from Reputable Software Sources.

When you buy fish, you always go somewhere you trust to give you clean and healthy fish. The same should be with your software and downloads. Download application directly from the developers, or from the Mac App Store. Never trust 3rd-party sites that act as the middle-man between you and the developer.  Always download music and videos from iTunes or Amazon. 

2. Always be on the look out

Anytime a piece of software requires your username and password, think twice. Ask yourself, where did I download this piece of software from? Do I really need to install this software? This is not to say that no software should require a password. In fact, most installers will require your passwords. You should just be careful that you know what your installing. By typing in your password, your giving that software authorization to pretty much do whatever it wants on your computer. 

3. Stay up to date on your Software Updates

This is one of the most important things that you can do. Make sure that you always have the latest software. These updates can contain critical security patches and other important bug fixes. By installing the latest software, you can keep your mac safe.

4. Inform others users to do the same

You might never trust a mysterious window that is asking you for your password, but what about others in your household. Inform family members never to install software that they didn’t download from a legitimate sources. Monitor your child’s usage of the computer and make sure they don’t have permission to install new software. Apple includes Parental Controls filters on every mac, allowing you to prevent them from installing new and unknown software. Monitor your child’s P2P usage to make sure they aren’t downloading files from unknown and untrusted sources

5.When in doubt, ask the Experts.

When your unsure about what to do, stop by your local Cape Mac Computers. We’re your one stop shop for everything Mac. Whether it’s protecting your security with options like FileVault and a FireWall or upgrading your mac to the latest operating system; Cape Mac is here to help.