Although there was a time where virus developers paid little mind to Apple computers, recent years have seen a sizable increase in cyber threats directed at Mac users. Given the rise in popularity Apple has experienced over the last 15 years, it should come as no surprise that the company’s products are now prime targets for cybercriminals. While the number of digital dangers currently facing Mac users is certainly formidable, keeping yourself safe from these threats doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Apple enthusiasts looking to keep their Mac computers virus-free can benefit from the following pointers.
Use Dedicated Antivirus Software
Although macOS features a number of virus-fighting properties, dedicated antivirus software is essential for maximum protection. Luckily, there are a bevy of user-friendly options available to anyone on the hunt for antivirus for Mac. When shopping around for the right software, look for programs that have received high-marks from consumer review websites and prominent tech outlets. Additionally, keep an eye out for software that provides around-the-clock support and frequent updates.
To get the most out of your dedicated antivirus software, it’s imperative that you keep it up to date. Since updates are generally created in direct response to new threats, installing them posthaste is in your best interest. You can also take yourself out of the equation entirely by enabling automatic updates. Furthermore, make a point of running regular virus scans to ensure that you’re able to get the drop on any threats that have infiltrated your PC. Most antivirus programs are able to conduct these scans using minimal system resources, ensuring that any other tasks you’re performing remain uninterrupted. You can even set your antivirus program to conduct scans at preset times. At the very least, your computer should receive one scan every 24 hours, but if you want to be extra-vigilant, you may want to consider having one done every few hours.
Enable macOS’s Firewall
While some Mac owners may assume that their operating system’s firewall is automatically enabled, this is not actually the case with macOS. As such, anyone looking to prevent certain applications from listening for incoming connections will need to manually enable macOS’s firewall. This can be done by accessing the “Security & Privacy” menu, clicking the “Firewall” tab and selecting “Turn on Firewall.”
Since firewalls can cause problems with certain programs, you don’t necessarily need to have your firewall enabled at all times. For example, whenever you’re running potentially vulnerable software you don’t want to be accessed over the internet, it’s generally a good idea to turn on your firewall. However, when such software isn’t in use, there shouldn’t be any harm in disabling it.
Disable Problematic Plugins
As any cybersecurity expert will attest, Java and Flash are among the most notorious vehicles for virus and malware propagation. With this in mind, you’d be wise to disable them in Safari. Although these particular plugins were instrumental in the internet’s early days, they’re becoming increasingly outdated, obsolete and outright inconvenient. Since they can largely be avoided on the internet of today, Safari automatically disables them. While it’s possible for users to manually reenable them, take care to exercise caution whenever you feel compelled to do this. Additionally, make sure to carefully research any new plugins before proceeding to install them.
Use a VPN
Unsecured networks are playgrounds for virus spreaders and other breeds of cybercriminals. So, if you regularly use public Wi-Fi hotspots and other networks that lack sufficient security, make a point of using a dependable virtual private network (VPN). In essence, a VPN creates a secure gateway through which users can access public networks, helping shield them from a wide variety of cyber threats. Although most VPNs charge small monthly or annual fees, free options are available for cash-strapped security seekers.
There are many unique qualities and features that are exclusive to Apple computers. As such, there’s little wonder as to why a growing number of longtime PC users are becoming Apple devotees. However, despite the various advantages Macs have over PCs, they are not impervious to viruses, malware and other common cyber threats. That being the case, no Mac user can afford to regard cybersecurity as an afterthought. Luckily, protecting Apple computers from assorted dangers is well within the abilities of anyone who’s willing to learn new things, alter their online behavior and exercise basic common sense.