Mac Security: How to Protect Yourself from Growing DangerOctober 14, 2016 9:01 am ·
A special thank you to Henry Crinkle from Colocation America for the guest blog.
Do Macs even need security?
Many Mac users think their computers are immune to all the security issues that those with PCs are used to, but that is simply not true. In the recent past, Mac users have been hit with more and more malicious attacks:
- In 2011 the Flashback Trojan infected over 600,000 Macs around the world at one point. The Trojan was designed to grab passwords and other information from users.
- Earlier this year a ransomware campaign named “KeRanger” encrypted all the information on thousands of computers, and made users pay a ransom of 1BTC (One Bitcoin is equal to over $600 USD) to get their data unencrypted.
- More recently, a new Malware campaign called “Mokes.A” was found. Not only can it take a screenshot of your computer every 30 seconds, it can also allow hackers to access your photos, videos, and other documents. It can even see which keys you are typing in real time. This would make it very easy for a hacker to see your passwords, and get into all of your banking and other personal information.
As long as Mac users continue to believe they are invulnerable, and chose not to secure their systems from cyber criminals, they will leave a large gap in their security. “Cybercriminals are on the lookout for easy targets, and nothing could be easier than capitalizing on under-or-unprotected Mac systems shrouded under a false sense of invincibility,” says Pedro Bustamante, Vice President of Products & New Technologies at Malwarebytes.
These days, Macs are becoming more common in businesses, large enterprises, and even in data centers. So, it makes sense that criminals are starting to target them more frequently. If you are worried about your data being stolen, then the applications listed below can keep your Mac safe from threats. In fact, if users had simply utilized these security applications, they would have been safe from any of the previously mentioned attacks.
What is the best Antivirus for a mac?
If you want to find the best antivirus this year, you need to check the A-V test. The A-V test is run by an independent testing lab from Germany, which makes annual evaluations of the top antivirus programs. Each year, through a series of tests, they see how well each antivirus program can detect threats. This year, their list was topped by Bitdefender Antivirus.
- DETECTION RATE – The 2016 A-V test found that, out of all the Mac antivirus programs they tested, Bitdefender was one of the only ones that could detect and block 100% of the threats thrown at it.
- IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE – They also found that Bitdefender only uses a mere one to two percent of the systems resources, meaning that you won’t even know it is protecting you. In fact, they found that performing a simple task, which normally took 246 seconds, (copying hundreds of files to the computer) only took an additional 3 seconds with the Bitdefender antivirus running in the background.
- COST – 39.95 for one user – 59.95 for up to 3 users
If you want to ensure your Mac is absolutely safe from any threats, you can find Bitdefender available to download here.
Sophos Anti-Virus is a great application if you are looking for a robust anti-virus software without the hefty price tag.
- DETECTION RATE – In the same 2016 A-V test, Sophos Home was shown to detect nearly all (99.17%) threats, which makes it better than many paid anti-virus programs.
- IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE – Sophos Home does use more of your system resources than Bitdefender, but barely enough for you to notice the difference (depending on what computer you have) The A-V test that took 249 seconds to complete with Bitdefender running in the background, was completed in 284 seconds with Sophos Home running in the background (adding an additional 35 seconds on top of Bitdefender’s time)
- COST – Free
You can find Sophos Home Antivirus available to download here.
What Malware program is best for Mac?
On a Mac, malware, adware, and spyware can burrow very deeply into the OS. If you feel that your computer has already been infected, but you don’t want to download and run a full antivirus program, you can just download Malwarebytes for a quick and easy malware detection.
- DETECTION RATE – In 2016, the AV test gave Malwarebytes Anti-Malware the only perfect score for removing malware and repairing the damage caused by them.
- COST – Free (for home users)
If you fear that your computer is infected with Malware, and you want to know, you can find MalwareBytes available to download here.
Why a VPN is important
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure, encrypted connection between a computer and the VPN’s server. The process is called tunneling, and it involves placing each packet of information inside another packet before it is sent across the internet. The outer packet is encrypted to ensure the security of your data.
Once the data is encrypted, only a computer with the right decoder will be able to decrypt it and read the information inside.
This is especially important for anyone who uses public Wi-Fi, which does not encrypt your data. When you use public Wi-Fi, it is very easy for even a novice hacker to intercept your signal with a simple plugin. This is why anyone with a mobile device should consider using a VPN.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to VPNs, and it really depends on what you are looking for. However, there is one VPN that comes at the top of most lists, and it is a rather good choice.
Express VPN is an industry leading VPN client that works on Mac computers and iOS devices alike. It is very fast, and easy; to the point where it is known as being a ‘set and forget’ VPN, where you do not have to worry about signing in or making changes after it is installed.
- SERVERS: Express VPN offers servers in 78 different countries. They are based out of the British Virgin Islands, which is the perfect place to provide secure data tunneling.
- ENCRYPTION: A 256-bit SSL encryption means that Express VPN meets industry standards for privacy and security.
- COST: $8.32 / month (when you buy for 12 months) Express VPN also offers a 30-day free trial which allows you to sample the service before you buy it. Express VPN also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which allows you to sample the service before you buy it
If you are worried about information that is stored on your phone, whether is important passwords, bank accounts, other sensitive information, you can find Express VPN available to download here.
As more and more users rely on Macs as their personal computers, it is going to be necessary to use outside security tools to ensure that your sensitive data is safe and secure.
Henry Crinkle is a Los Angeles Based Tech Blogger. He has a background in engineering and journalism.