Protect your Mac from ever-increasing digital attacks
Everyone knows someone who has invested in an Apple Macintosh believing it was safer than a regular PC. The personal computer designed by Apple more than two decades ago has seldom been in the news because of threats or viruses. Or at least, that was the case till four days ago. More than half a million ‘Mac's were reported infected by a virus over a span of barely a day.
One fundamental selling point of Macs had been the belief that OS X was harder to break in to than any other operating system. Also, Macs hadn't caught and retained the attention of hackers till now merely due to the fact that the number of Macs wouldn't let them optimally target a wide user base with minimum effort. Something that the ubiquitous Windows PC gave them so much more easily. However, the device is now way too popular, especially with businesses, for criminals to avoid. Hence, it looks like the digital fortress might not be as safe as people thought it would be.
Types of attacks
The generic advice would be to scan your thumb drive or HDD as soon as you plug it in is to avoid getting infected by a virus. These cretins find their way into your system through executable files, hidden inside compressed archives or as macros within legitimate documents. The potential damage they can cause ranges from automatically deleting critical files, encrypting data, wiping out your hard disk and so on.
Almost as disruptive and dangerous as a virus is spyware. This collects personal information and user habits and can be especially difficult to identify on your Mac. This could lead not only to seriously damaging data leakage but could also lead to identity thefts. Some spyware also slow down your system by installing additional software and you'll end up wasting a lot of time on re-booting or even re-installing your OS time and again.
The most recent and probably the most damaging of attacks to have caught on lately is phishing. This masks a web site or a mail and asks the user for confidential data such as credit card number or bank account information. Although this has been around for sometime and a lot of awareness has been spread, people still tend to overlook such attempts.
Whether you use a Mac at home or at work, it's essential to have it protected. While unprotected systems at home might make you vulnerable to viruses or identity theft, unsafe workstations can spread malware within your office network via shared files, cross-platform viruses, worms or e-mail attachments. If not checked in time, these very systems might become a source of malware outbreaks.
Here are a few security software options that could keep your Mac protected against digital attacks.
McAfee Internet Security for Mac 2012
One of the oldest players in the computer security field, McAfee has upgraded its software with this package to protect against programs that monitor, collect and sell your personal information online. The proprietary McAfee SiteAdvisor technology indicates Web site safety ratings before you click on one. It also recognises phishing sites and blocks them for you. These processes also help keep you safe during financial transactions. Not only do you have a firewall filtering your online activity but all your attachments, downloaded files and even IM programs are scanned and cleaned. The software protects your Mac against viruses, trojans, worms, bots, and root-kits and removes infections without damaging format or contents.
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition
Designed especially for security on your personal Mac, the Sophos Anti-virus software gives you the freedom to quarantine a file. You can check back later to decide whether you want it removed from your Mac or not. You can custom-scan by dragging and dropping the files or folder that you think might contain threats. You can also choose between a scan on-access (whenever a device is plugged in or a program downloaded), on-demand or on a schedule.
Apart from being able to detect and eliminate Mac OS X threats, it can also detect Windows threats that might be stored on your Mac and transferred to Windows computers. Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Geared to deal with the new breed of Mac viruses, this software knows where to look for malware that you might have missed. It automatically shuts out Web sites that attempt to steal your credit card data or other personal information.
The company has a global database that is constantly updated to deal with new threats and the antivirus periodically checks it to guard your Mac against the latest online threats. It also destroys Windows viruses (which don't affect Macs) so that you don't accidentally pass them on to your family, friends and colleagues using PCs. For businesses, BitDefender's centralised management capability allows organisations to monitor the security status more effectively in less time.
$49.95 (Up to three users for 1 year)