Do MACS Get Viruses And Malware?

Most Apple Mac owners believe their customers are immune to viruses and malware. Even Apple has run advertising campaigns promising that its computers “don’t get viruses”. Those who have owned Mac for years, decades even, are particularly prone to believing that it indeed the case – after all, nothing has happened to them yet! Regrettably, Macs do get viruses and the threat is getting even larger.

Matrix, Binary, Security, Code, Communication, Software

For a long time, the argument was the cybercriminals didn’t bother to develop Mac viruses as there were not enough users to justify the effort. Instead, they turned their attention to PCs running Windows.

Over time through Apple’s market share has risen and it is increasingly common to see Macs in the workplace (especially in creative industries). Plus, there is a widespread assumption that Mac users are a smart target as they are likely to be better off and have higher incomes. So, while Mac computers themselves remain a harder to infect target (as installing most software requires a password), there is often a greater playoff.

Research shows that the Apple platform is getter more attacks and malware. In 2017, for instance, the iPhone OS and Mac OS X placed #3 and #6 in CVE Details’ top 50 ranked by a total number of distinct vulnerabilities. Apple TV and Safari also made a list at #17 and #18, respectively. In 2017, Malwarebytes also reported it “saw more Mac in 2017 that in any previous year”. By the end of 2017, the cybersecurity firm had counted 270% more unique threats on the Mac platform than in 2016.

Finding Apple’s Weak Spots

It is now obvious that malware creators are no longer steering clear and are actively looking for ways to exploit Macs. A common approach is to use Trojans (named after a famous historical story where a wooden horse was used as a gift but actually hid ab army), Trojans looks like something you would want to install. So, Mac users happily enter their password to download that application and this then opens the gate to the cybercriminal.

In 2011, a Trojan called “Mac Defender” took advantage of Mac user’s desire to protect their computers. The fake program appeared to be anti-virus software but once the users installed it, they would get an onslaught of pop-ups ads encouraging them to buy more fake software.

Trojans get through the gates because you let your guard down. They may pretend to be:

  • A note from a long-friend
  • A picture of that famous celebrity
  • A free game or application
  • A free or cheap item or gift voucher that is available
  • An email from a friend or colleague but the spelling, grammar and/or content of the email doesn’t look to match the person they are pretending to be.

All it takes to stop this type of attack is to be suspicious of everything you might install or download.

A business needs to educate its employees and staff about the importance of:

  • Clicking on emails and attachments with care.
  • Validating the source of any files they plan to open.
  • Checking a website’s URL (being especially wary of those with less common endings such as .cc or.co).
  • Questioning any promises of cheap items that are 90% off.

A new threat comes from within the Mac App Store. When a user tries to install an app on a Mac, a Mac OS program called Gatekeeper checks the file’s code signature. The signature helps certify the app is valid. However, Thomas Reed (a Mac security researcher) found that cybercriminals could buy a legitimate certificate from Apple, or steal one and trick users. Users would install masked malware that could infect legitimate programs and evade detection.

Key Takeaway

Apple is always working to protect its users from malware. It has measures in place, and user caution can make a big difference, too. Still, it’s not true that Macs are completely safe and you also should look at installing an antivirus or security program on your Mac.

 

What to Ask When Hiring Managed IT Services

Hiring a managed IT services provider is a little different than contracting with other types of new vendors in your business. In fact, it’s not unlike determining whether a prospective new permanent employee will be a good fit for your business’ culture and priorities.

Why should you spend more time vetting potential IT partners than, say, a new office supplies vendor?

Your computer systems and network are the lifeblood of your operations, as they store invaluable data about your customers, operations, and more. These resources are also vulnerable to external threats and could potentially damage your business if disaster strikes.

Now, we’re not telling you this to scare you- it’s just that contracting with an IT services partner involves forming a collaborative relationship built on a certain degree of trust. You need to make sure that your network will receive capable, professional care.

To accomplish this, you need to ask any managed IT services provider you’re considering illuminating questions like these.

WHAT IS YOUR ONBOARDING APPROACH?

Onboarding may seem like a business buzzword, but the term actually describes something very valuable – how you begin a relationship with a new partner. And, it’s certainly a two-way street. You should have an onboarding process for your vendors, but these vendors should also have an effective method of bringing new client accounts onto their rosters.

One of the first questions you should ask potential managed IT services provider partners is how they ensure the business relationship gets off on the right foot.

  • Do they visit your office and physically take a look at your servers and network setup?
  • Do they review any documentation you already have in place for your tech assets and then produce their own to share with you? This learning and information sharing process can be critical to understanding the little things that make your network unique.

Here at DG ROM CO, we take time to confer with you on your specific concerns and pain points. The goal of managed IT services is to “make everything just work” so you can focus on running your business. A solid onboarding process is the first step down that path.

WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE TIME CAN I EXPECT?

When you’re suffering from work disrupting computer problems, it can feel like an eternity between the time you place a call for help and when your IT resource actually responds. And if you rely on a fully remote partner in a distant city or – worse yet – don’t currently have a dedicated IT services team on your side and are stuck calling a tech support hotline yourself, it might actually be days until you receive the attention you deserve.

This is why we prefer to work with businesses that are located within an hour’s drive of our headquarters – and why you should consider working only with managed IT services provider in your local community. Even in today’s increasingly remote access world, working with a partner who is just a short drive away can mean the difference between a minor disruption and much more significant – and costly – downtime.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN MY SERVICE, AND WHAT WILL I PAY EXTRA FOR?

One of the major benefits of working with a contracted MSP versus traditional “break/fix” IT resources is the predictable pricing structure.

With MSPs, you will pay one fixed and budget-friendly monthly rate to keep everything running smoothly instead of a per-call service fee. That said, most MSPs offer a menu of plan options that allow you to bundle just the services you need so you’re not paying for things you don’t. Always ask what features are included with different plans, and then question whether other businesses like yours tend to need additional services regularly.

For instance, perhaps you don’t feel that you need round-the-clock network monitoring. But what of a hacker infiltrates your network overnight? If you have a problem after hours, you don’t want to wait until the next business day for your IT partner to take action. Ask your vendor about monitoring and support after hours, and if any additional charges will be incurred.