Why Macs Need Security

February 7th, 2019
Why Macs Need Security

Macs used to have a reputation for being above computer security. Somehow, despite the sophistication of hackers and malware, security was a concern for other people, with other kinds of computer. Sleek and elegant forms of Mac Pros and Macbooks just didn’t need protection, it seemed.

That line of thinking was never true, and it’s been many years since Apple pulled its “I’m a Mac” ad encouraging users to believe so. These days, the company has plenty to say about security, patching, and the layered defenses its products require.

Why? Macs were never immune to viruses – there simply weren’t enough of them out there for hackers to bother writing malware to target macOS. Now, with more than one in ten laptops and desktops running macOS, it’s not so easy to hide in the crowd. Macs are, and always were, computers, and computers need protection. Period.

Macs can get viruses, and Mac users can be phished. There are Trojans, adware, ransomware and cryptocurrency miners that’ll run on a Mac (and Windows threats that are happy to use Macs as safe havens).

Hackers don’t care what computer you’ve got. They’ll pull one over on you any way they can: with malware, fake websites, rogue Wi-Fi, malicious USB devices, malevolent browser plugins, and any other tricks they can think of.

Tricks like supply chain attacks on vulnerable apps or extensions that Apple doesn't and can't manage. For example, in 2018 a developer was able to access the source code of a popular Mac program called HomeBrew. With the access he was able to get, he could have modified the program to perform malicious tasks on any Mac with the software installed.

These activities can slow down or stop your machine, steal your passwords, take over your webcam, or encrypt your data and hold it for ransom.

And with more and more organizations adopting bring-your-own-device policies, an increasing number of people use their Mac at work and at home, keeping valuable caches of data from both worlds on the same machine.

But what of the major updates that Apple releases? Mac products do receive regular operating system and app updates straight from Apple, and these updates usually come with important security patches. But updates are only one layer of protection, and they only protect you from flaws that have already been exposed (and a month can be a long time to wait for better protection).

Macs have a reputation for being cutting edge, justifiably. So don’t leave your thinking in the past either — today’s Macs need today’s protection from tomorrow’s threats.

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