Myth Buster: Is It True That Mac Users Don’t Need Security Solutions?

Mac users are notoriously dedicated to their brand of choice. Their voices are often the loudest in the never-ending Mac versus PC debate.

While many enthusiasts turn to the Mac for its sleek design and streamlined user experience, others are primarily concerned with security. They assume that, by opting for Macs, they can avoid the viruses, malware, and other issues that commonly target devices outside of the Apple ecosystem.

For years, Mac has held a strong reputation for its OS X security features, which many enthusiasts assume remove the need for outside assistance. These users appreciate the apparent simplicity of keeping their devices secure. However, their peace of mind may not be warranted. In reality, Apple devices are vulnerable to many of the same issues that plague those with Windows. These problems can be overcome, but only if users are realistic about their susceptibility.

Alarming Mac Security Issues

Apple has an unfortunate tendency to lull users into a false sense of security. In reality, however, a variety of concerns have popped up in recent years, including viruses, malware, and even ransomware.

Growing concerns surrounding Mac security are reflected not only by unfortunate anecdotes from compromised users but also with data from the Malwarebytes 2020 State of Malware. The groundbreaking report found that security threats specifically targeting Macs exceeded those associated with Windows.

In 2019, experts at Malwarebytes detected a whopping 11 threats per Mac endpoint, compared to just 5.8 for every Windows endpoint. While these threats were often mild, they still held the potential to prompt unwanted pop-up ads and a variety of other problems.

How Do I Know if My Mac Is Vulnerable?

While all Macs can be vulnerable to viruses and malware, a variety of warning signs may help you pinpoint the issue early on to ensure that you secure a solution before the problem gets out of hand. Top indications of trouble include the following:

  • A sudden proliferation of pop-ups in unexpected places.
  • New toolbars or extensions appear, but you don’t remember installing them.
  • Your Mac slows to a crawl, even when programs are not in active use.
  • Your browser is unresponsive or redirects regularly.

Keep in mind that, while these signs suggest that your Mac requires urgent attention, significant issues can occur even when your device appears to function as usual.

How Can I Make My Mac More Secure?

The security features currently present on your Mac provide a valuable start as you attempt to minimize risk, but a few additional measures will offer further peace of mind. Begin by conducting a thorough scan for viruses and malware. If these or other issues come to light during your scan, consider seeking assistance from a professional who can remove them and help you implement security protocol to prevent them in the future.

Beyond scans and virus removal solutions, top options for securing your Mac include:

  • Use a quality firewall to monitor for and prevent problematic traffic. Mac OS X ships with a built-in firewall, but it’s not enabled by default. To actually take advantage of your Mac’s firewall, you’ll need to take a few extra steps on your own.
  • Consider using a virtual private network (VPN), especially if you regularly take advantage of public Wi-Fi. This will provide a reliable tunnel between your device and any websites you access. Vet potential VPNs carefully, as not all are up to the task of protecting your Mac.
  • If possible, avoid installing Adobe Flash Player, as fake Flash installers represent one of the greatest opportunities for malware to make its way to your Mac.
  • Avoid clicking links in emails or downloading suspicious attachments. These methods are commonly relied on to spread viruses and malware, which even seemingly secure Macs sometimes miss.
  • Encrypt all sensitive data stored on your Mac. FileVault can help, but keep in mind that its use may lead to compromised performance. Explore other encryption options to find a balance between optimal performance and secure files.
  • Update your browsers regularly. At a minimum, upgrades should occur when prompted by Chrome or Firefox.
  • Make the most of Mac security features like Quarantine and Xprotect. These built-in functions might not block all risks, but they’re still worth using to minimize the potential for future security problems. Think of them as valuable additions to the broader tech toolbox you rely on to protect your device.

In addition to taking these steps, consider backing up your data. In the worst-case scenario, this will allow you to restore your Mac and minimize losses.

Protect Your Device with High-Quality Computer Services

Whether you use a PC or a Mac, you deserve support from someone who understands the ins and outs of your device – and the many security issues it could potentially encounter. With NerdsToGo on your side, you can feel confident knowing that your beloved Mac is in capable hands. Our Denver team can visit you at home to provide a range of helpful security services. Contact us today to learn more about our business solutions and in-home computer repair.