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I often hear proud Mac owners brag about their sleek devices being immune to viruses or malware and I simply chuckle.  While it is true that Mac users are less susceptible to malicious software when compared with Windows users, it really has nothing to do with the Mac hardware or software.  It is the reward factor for the author of the malicious code that has contributed to this urban legend.  After all, there are no bragging rights for bringing down a K-12 school computer lab. Therefore, malicious code developers haven’t really targeted the Mac operating system.  Also, prior to 2010, very few companies used Macs as primary end user desktops with the exception of companies in the arts and entertainment field.

Fast forward to 2016 and you will notice Macs everywhere as the operating system and applications have matured.   Malicious coders have certainly noticed this trend and now Macs, just like smart phones and other mobile devices, are in their cross-hairs.  According to the FBI, Ransomware is surging and it will get worse.   In a recent Reuters article by Jim Finkle, a ransomware threat targeting Macs was caught before it could infect a massive number of machines. To all of the proud Mac owners, I am sorry to inform you, but you too are vulnerable and you should follow best practices in order to keep your data safe.  Here are a few tips:

  • Purchase anti-virus software (Symantec has a Mac version)
  • Keep the operating system patched and updated
  • If you already have antivirus software, be sure to renew the subscription annually.
  • Keep several backup copies of your data either in the cloud or on external drives.
  • Keep in mind that porn sites and peer to peer file sharing applications are havens for malicious software, so stay away.
  • Do not click on any links in emails if you are not certain of their origin. Even if it looks like it came from a legitimate site, it could be a phishing attempt.

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