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Compared to Windows, MacOS may seem a safe haven for most people, and indeed in some ways, this is true. Devoid of most malware aimed at Windows, the Apple ecosystem increasingly offers a safe alternative to the Windows world.

However, the malware ecosystem is rapidly changing in reponse to market trends. Most malware authors have recognised the fact that many operating systems are being locked down, iOS and ChromeOS being a prime example. This has resulted inthe shift to malware, specifically trojans, that depend on social engineering to infect users. These depend on social relationships between users and spread through such means. If an email came from somebody that you trusted, you will bemore likely to open the attachment.

Many of these trojans try to gain access to economically valuable information. This includes but is not limited to bank account details and credit card details. MacOS users form a valuable segment of the population because statistically speaking, MacOS users are more well off than Windows users - MacOS computers are more expensive than their Windows counterparts and so by inference, MacOS users are more well-to-do than Windows users.

So what can MacOS users do to protect themselves?

a. Update regularly. Apple routinely updates their software. Users are often prompted by on-screen messages to update their software.

b. Do not disengage SIP and Gatekeeper protection mechanisms. SIP (System Integrity Protection) and Gatekeeper are but 2 of the ways in which Apple protects its users. They are often disabled to allow third party software to run.

c. Download programs from trusted sources. Apple is moving quickly to a store-like experience on MacOS akin to iOS where all applications are downloaded from the App Store. In the meantime, download and verify programs that are downloaded manually to make sure they really do come from the purported website.

It is the author's opinion that antivirus programs are not necessary on MacOS computers due to its inbuilt protection mechanisms.

blog/malware-macos.txt · Last modified: 2018/05/28 11:32 by mchang