Although it was once a widely-held belief that Mac computers couldn’t be infected by viruses, that notion has consistently been proven false. That being the case, any Mac users who are still clinging to this claim would be wise to get with the program. As it turns out, Macs are just as prone to virus infection as Windows PCs. In fact, as of February 2020, Mac computers outpace standard PCs when it comes to malware infections. Fortunately, as long as you’re willing to put forth a little effort and change certain behaviors, keeping your Mac virus-free shouldn’t prove particularly challenging. In the ongoing fight against cyberthreats, Mac users should take care to avoid the following mistakes.
Not Installing Dedicated Antivirus Software
Some Mac owners believe that they have no need for dedicated antivirus software. The way these people see it, the various virus-fighting components that are built into macOS are enough to keep viruses at bay. While there’s no denying that the aforementioned components have a crucial role to play, regarding dedicated software as unnecessary is liable to have far-reaching consequences. As such, reliable antivirus for Mac should be viewed as something that works in tandem with your operating system to stamp out viruses and keep other cyberthreats at bay. So, if your Mac is currently without specialized antivirus software, you’d do well to remedy this. Investing in the right program can save you a tremendous amount of hassle down the line.
Engaging in Unsafe Browsing Habits
As is the case with standard PCs, engaging in unsafe browsing habits on a Mac can make your system vulnerable to a wide assortment of viruses and other threats. For starters, you’ll need to make use of a good ad blocker. Since viruses are commonly spread through infected ads, having access to the right blocker is an absolute must. Fortunately, whether you use Safari, Chrome or virtually any other Mac-friendly browser, you’re likely to find that your ad blocker options are nothing short of abundant.
Secondly, abstain from visiting sites that generate security warnings from your browser, antivirus programs or macOS. As a general rule of thumb, websites that lack secure socket layer (SSL) certificates should be avoided, as these certificates indicate a secure connection between browsers and data servers. SSL certificates are particularly crucial for ecommerce sites and other websites that require users to provide personal information. If you’re unclear on how to identify a site with an SSL certificate, simply look for the letters “https” at the beginning of the web address.
Enabling Java and Flash
Although they were once considered integral plugins, Java and Flash are largely unnecessary on the modern web. In addition to being outdated, both of these plugins are common vectors for viruses and malware. As such, it’s hardly surprising that they’re both disabled by default in Safari, Apple’s default browser – and for maximum security, you’d best keep them disabled. Alternatively, if Safari isn’t your browser of choice, keep in mind that you may have to disable Java and Flash manually when using other browsers.
Failing to Update Applications in a Timely Manner
Many virus developers identify security vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications and proceed to exploit them. As a result, a fair number of the update files you receive are created to patch these vulnerabilities and eliminate emerging threats. Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to treat installing updates as an afterthought. If we’re in the process of working, gaming or browsing when presented with update notifications, we won’t think twice before placing important updates on the backburner. However, doing so stands to compromise the security of your Mac and leave it vulnerable to some truly nasty threats. So, regardless of how inconvenient you may find it, make a point of installing any system or application updates you receive ASAP.
It’s easy to see why Mac computers have risen in prominence over the last two decades. Although Macs boast a variety of features you won’t find on traditional PCs, they have one important thing in common with their Windows-based contemporaries – susceptibility to viruses. Despites major strides consistently being made in the field of cybersecurity, viruses have managed to remain a persistent problem for all computer users – and Mac owners are no exception. To dramatically reduce your Mac’s chances of falling prey to viruses and other cyberthreats, steer clear of the blunders discussed above.