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- Don’t Let Your Mac Get Hijacked
A staggering 24.6 million unique malware files — that’s how many Kaspersky Lab found in 2019. The cybersecurity firm says that’s 13.7% more than the types of malware detected the year before.
Granted, many of these malicious objects target Windows-running computers. After all, there are an estimated 1.2 billion Windows-installed base computers today.
Macs, on the other hand, account for only about 10% of all active personal computers. Since there are “fewer” potential victims, most cybercriminals focus on Windows users.
This doesn’t mean that Macs are 100% malware-free, though. While it’s rare to find the most common types of malware in Macs, there are some specific to Apple computers.
Ready to learn all about these dangerous files that you should always be on the lookout for?
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1. DNS Hijacking Malware
DNS stands for “Domain Name System.” You can think of it as the “mother of all” Internet phonebooks. It’s the DNS that allows you to access websites without the need to memorize IP addresses.
In short, every time you go online and visit a website, you’re accessing the DNS.
So, it’s no wonder that Mac-specific malware, which by the way, has gone up by 270% from 2016, is targeting this system. A perfect example is the OSX/MaMi malware.
OSX/MaMi changes and “hijacks” the DNS server settings on an infected computer. The changed DNS then routes the Mac user through servers with malicious content. During this time, the servers capture the user’s sensitive data.
These include, for starters, the user’s online account credentials.
2. Cryptocurrency Mining Malware
Cryptocurrency mining is legal in many countries, including the US. It’s a legal investment platform that, as the name suggests, involves cryptocurrency. The “mining” part is the process of verifying and adding cryptocurrency into a ledger.
However, seeing as it can be quite lucrative, cybercriminals have exploited the process. They’ve launched illegal cryptocurrency miners that run in a computer’s background. You may not notice it right away, but it could already be using your Mac’s processing prowess to earn money!
The LoudMiner malware, also known as Bird Mine, is a common malware of such type. Since it uses a Mac’s computing power, it would inevitably reduce the device’s speed.
3. Cybercurrency Miners
These are similar to cryptocurrency mining malware. The biggest difference is, they steal the Mac user’s cybercurrency by capturing the user’s login credentials associated with their cyberwallet accounts.
Some miners have even found a way to hijack browser authentication cookies. These malicious programs can also access iMessages to obtain sensitive details. Moreover, they can get enough information to let them get through two-factor authentication.
4. Malicious Browser Extensions
Browser extensions are programs (or codes) that you add or install into your browser. Their original purpose is to enhance a user’s browsing experience. For instance, some extensions can help screen your grammar, while others block ads.
Unfortunately, many of these codes have become a source of common malware types.
In fact, if you use Google like most of the world, you might have added one of the 500 extensions it recently kicked out. The search engine giant had to, as these add-ons had the potential of acting like malware.
Malverts are “malicious advertisements” that serve as online viral vectors. These are malware types that, according to experts, have multiplied threefold since 2015. As vectors, they contain and spread viruses and spyware among many others.
Keep in mind that these aren’t specific to Macs, but they can still invade your device if you click on the wrong link. Unfortunately, this is an easy mistake, since they’ve even infected prominent sites. These include Reuters and Yahoo, to name a few.
What to Do to Protect Yourself From These Types of Malware
Mac has built-in safety features found in the Security & Privacy settings. One of these is FileVault, which you can use to encrypt and “lock” sensitive info you have in your device. Decrypting the info requires entering your login password.
You should also keep your Mac’s Firewall active all the time so that it won’t accept unauthorized apps. This also helps block the download of programs or services into your Mac via new connections.
Don’t forget to use a highly-secure, unique, and hard-to-guess password for your login. You can also set up your Mac to log out automatically if you’ve been idle for too long. This helps keep your stuff safe from cybercriminals and prying eyes.
Aside from these must-dos, be sure to consider the following tips too.
Stick to App Store Downloads
Restricting your downloads to apps from the App Store is the “safest” setting. These are apps from Apple-identified developers. That means that Apple first reviews each app before rolling it out and making it available.
Your other option is to allow downloads from the App Store and “identified developers”. These developers are Apple-registered, and they can ask Apple to do a security check on their apps. If the app develops an issue, Apple will check into it and may invalidate its authorization.
Get Extra Malware Protection
To make your Apple computer even more secure, consider getting Malwarebytes for Mac. This anti-malware software can protect you from more than just the abovementioned threats. It also catches and then removes known dangerous files automatically.
It also comes with a Mac scanner, which you should use if you download anything outside of the App Store. This way, you can catch malware that may have bypassed your Mac’s firewall.
Don’t Let Your Mac Get Hijacked
There you have it, your guide on the most common types of malware affecting Macs.
Now that you’re in the know, be sure to raise your device’s security ASAP! This way, you can keep your Mac and every bit of info in it safe and secure from cybercriminals.
Interested in gaining more nuggets of wisdom? Then be sure to head over to this site’s Wisdom section for more!