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How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

Yes, you read that title correctly. Malware for Macs has been on the rise, according to a study conducted by Atlas VPN, showing malware development absolutely exploding last year, over 10x higher than the prior-year!

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

So in this article, I’m gonna explain exactly what malware is, I’m gonna explain the issues it can cause, and then I’m gonna talk about if you should actually be worried, and what you should ultimately do about it. According to this chart, cybercriminals have apparently created an average of 1,847 malware threats every day in 2020, basically the most we’ve ever seen on macOS.


What is the Malware?

Malware stands for malicious software, and malicious is defined as something intending to do harm. So basically, Malware is any piece of software that is designed to harm, damage, or steal data from a computer.

⦿ Now the issue with modern malware is that once it infects a computer, it begins to spread and cause even more damage, which can lead to your computer really starting to slow down, or even losing some of your data.

Way back when I used to use Windows PCs, I struggled with this quite a few times, with it slowing the entire PC down

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

giving you random pop-ups of stuff you shouldn’t see

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

And even worse, locking the PC up entirely and trying to get you to pay money for some fake antivirus software, forcing you to completely wipe and reinstall Windows to get it fixed.

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac



So with that said, should you be worried about malware on the Mac?


Well, the same study I talked about earlier also tested Windows computers, and the difference is shocking! last year, there were over 90 million new Windows malware threats created, which is over 135x the amount that were created last year for the Mac, even though it was the highest year basically ever. And Apple has always been much more secure.


Why is apple much more secure?


Apple has always had a huge focus on security and privacy.


So let’s start with that first.

Apple products are very unique in the industry because they continue to get software updates for many many years. Like for example, you can still download the latest iOS 14 software for the iPhone 6S, which is now over 5 years old! And on the Mac, you can download Big Sur on Macs going all the way back to 2013, and making it even better, they continue to give you security updates on Macs that are even older than that.

For example, they just released new security updates for the old MacOS Catalina and Mojave software versions.

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac


On top of that, MacOS itself is just a whole lot more secure. Most changes to the settings and security options on your Mac require you to enter your password or authenticate to even get access to those settings, basically making it extremely hard for any form of malware to get into your Mac and start changing settings or deleting files.

On Windows, you don’t have that, so many people have had issues with viruses literally taking over control of their computer. Apple also has security in place for third-party apps downloaded off of the internet, where you have to go into the settings and manually unlock the privacy section to even open the app, which is something that Windows doesn’t do.

Apple’s latest Macs also have built-in encryption which encrypts the drive and keeps your data secure.

So going back to the chart, there’s a reason why there is such a huge difference between the amount of malware on macOS vs windows.

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac


Since Apple has always been so secure, it was never as worth it to make malware for the Mac, because you could end up spending a bunch of time writing the malware code, and never get anywhere. Instead, if those malware developers focused on Windows, the return on investment would be much much higher, so that’s exactly what happened.

⦿ The only reason we’re seeing a big spike within the last year is because malware developers can now purchase ready-made malware code and simply adjust it to their needs instead of starting from scratch. But the good news is that Apple has recently been making huge advancements in security and privacy... And they’re not stopping.

 A couple of years back, Apple updated Safari with a new feature called Intelligent tracking prevention, which basically stops advertisers from using cookies to track you across the web. And apparently, it’s been doing an absolutely excellent job at protecting privacy, like causing an ad firm to lose as much as $25 million in advertising revenue.

And more recently, they’ve added a small little icon on your iPhone that shows when an app is accessing your microphone or camera, and many apps have already been caught snooping in on users in the background. Now, Apple is forcing developers to add a new App data privacy label on every single app on the app store, forcing them to disclose exactly what they’re tracking on your phone, which helps make iPhones even more secure.


How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac


Going even deeper, Apple recently added a new popup when an advertiser or app wants to track you across the web, which basically started a war between Apple and FaceBook... And long story short... Apple is winning and Facebook is starting to give in. So this shows just how serious Apple has been recently in terms of security and privacy.

But now, I want to focus a bit more on the Mac. Going back to that chart, you’ll notice that the amount of new malware being developed in 2021 has dropped significantly, only around 2,500 so far this year. This basically shows that the huge numbers last year were probably an anomaly, and I personally think that malware developers are leaving for one specific reason, so let’s get into that.



Two-year transition

As most of you know, Apple is gonna transition all of their Macs over to their own Apple Silicon chips. If you don’t already know what that is, Apple is basically taking an iPhone chip, suping it up, and then putting it into a Mac.

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

So the new M1 Macs literally have very powerful custom iPhone chips in them. And as we know, iPhones are incredibly secure, being incredibly difficult to hack into.

They’re so secure that the FBI often has issues breaking into iPhones when doing investigations, and Apple refuses to help them because of their dedication to the privacy of their customers, going as far as to deny the FBI. The app store is also very secure since it has very strict guidelines for app development, compared to the Android store which will basically accept any app out there.


Security comparison by NordVPN

And in a recent security comparison done by NordVPN, the iPhone won in basically every category, being much more secure. And all of that incredible security from the iPhone is now moving over to the Mac with the new Apple Silicon chips. The major benefit to this is that Apple now has full control over the software, the chip, and the mac hardware all at the same time, making it more secure than ever before.

In the past, Macs had a ton of security flaws due to the Intel chips, like Meltdown, Spectre, zombie load, and more! And now that Apple has finally ditched intel, they never have to worry about that again. And on top of that, the new M1 Macs now come with built-in system integrity and data protection features, and Apple is just getting started.

How to Stop Viruses and Malware on your Mac

So basically, the new transition to Apple Silicon chips is the best thing to happen to Mac security in a long time, which is gonna make it even harder for malware to succeed, and that’s why I think the malware numbers dropped so fast going into 2021. So with all of that said, if you have an M1 mac, or you’re planning on buying one soon, or maybe one of the future M1X models, don’t worry about this whole malware thing at all.

Now if you have an Intel-based Mac… honestly, you probably shouldn’t really worry either. We’ve been using them at the office and at home for the past 7 years and literally have never experienced any problems with malware or viruses, being such a small problem that I’ve personally forgotten about malware ever since I switched to a Mac.


Conclusion

But if for some reason, you’re still paranoid about it, there are some anti-virus apps out there, like Cleanmymacx, which I think is one of the best apps out there for taking care of your mac. Their app is just really clean and easy to use. But honestly, I don’t think you’ll need it, because macOS has always been really secure, and it’s about to get even more secure once this Apple Silicon transition is finished.

So to finally answer the original question, no, you shouldn’t be worried about your Mac getting Malware, so hopefully, you enjoyed this information, and if you did, go ahead and give it a share, also share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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