Are Macs immune to malware?

Windows computers tend to deal with an assortment of malware, but many people fail to realize that even Apple computers face similar threats. As cybercriminals have become more adept at finding exploits and other vulnerabilities, more and more Macs have also fallen prey to malware. Here are some threats you need to look out for to keep your Mac safe.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several forms of malware that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from ones that are merely annoying to downright destructive.

  1. Adware – These are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware like keyloggers and keyboard sniffers onto their deployment protocols, allowing them to record your typing habits and monitor your browsing behavior.
  2. Sniffers – These are usually designed to detect certain words on a web page and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
  3. Trojan horses – These can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contain a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in iCloud Keychain.
  4. Macro viruses – These attack computers by running a code that can take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and microphones. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.
  5. Ransomware – Macs managed to hold off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks in Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Telltale signs your Mac is infected

Now that you know what kinds of malware your Mac could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your computer is infected with one:

  1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
  2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
  3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Google Chrome such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

This post was originally published on this site

5 Tips to speed up your Mac

So you’re trying to finish an urgent task, but your Mac isn’t performing as fast as you need it to. What can you do? Knowing why your machine is slowing down is key to returning it to its former speed. We have prepared five common reasons Macs become sluggish and what you can do to resolve the problem.

Clean up your Login Items

The Login Items list (also known as the Startup List) contains all the apps and programs that automatically start when you log in. Having too many Login Items forces your computer to work harder at startup, slowing it down.

You can remedy this by going to System Preferences and selecting Users & Groups. Click on Login Items to see the list of the apps that open on startup. Highlight the apps you want to prevent from launching automatically and click the minus button underneath the list.

Start up in Safe Mode

Your Mac’s Safe Mode can be used to troubleshoot system-wide issues, including problems with particular apps. Booting up in Safe Mode also deletes system caches.

Cache files are temporary data stored on a hard drive to speed up various processes, such as loading websites or certain apps. Unfortunately, some of these files can become corrupted, which results in your computer slowing down. To bring back your Mac’s speed, you will need to clear the cache and delete temporary files.

Starting up in Safe Mode is easy. Just press the Power button and immediately after the computer starts, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard. Release the key once you see the gray Apple logo and the progress indicator.

If you want to leave Safe Mode, just restart your computer. Make sure not to press any key once the machine starts up.

Upgrade to solid state drive (SSD) storage

An SSD is a disk storage system that uses interconnected flash-memory chips to store your data. It’s faster and more reliable than a hard disk drive (HDD), which stores data in a spinning magnetic disk. HDD has been around for years, but many new computers continue to use it. If your Mac uses HDD storage, upgrading to SSD will amplify its processing speed.

But before you proceed, know that SSD storage costs more than HDD. If you want the same storage capacity offered by your machine’s HDD on your SSD, be prepared to shell out some extra money. Alternatively, you can settle for a much smaller memory capacity and just upgrade to a bigger one once your budget allows it.

Free up storage space

Having too many files can reduce your Mac’s speed. To free up space, just click on the Apple logo located on the top left corner of the screen. Select About This Mac and go to the <Storage tab. Here, you will see how much free space your computer has.

If your Mac’s storage is nearing full capacity, clicking the Manage button will give you four options:

  • Store in iCloud – This offloads various content, including your files and text messages, to the cloud.
  • Optimize Storage – This optimizes the TV app storage by deleting videos you’ve already watched.
  • Empty Trash Automatically – With this option, all items that have been in Trash for 30 days will be automatically removed.
  • Reduce Clutter – This lets you see the large files stored in your computer, and allows you to delete them manually to save space.

Update to the latest macOS version

macOS updates benefit your computer’s speed in several ways. First, they contain performance enhancements that help your computer run as smoothly as possible. Second, they augment your Mac’s protection against cyberthreats, which can slow down your machine. Updates are free, so you should install them once they become available.

You can also configure your computer to install updates automatically. In System Preferences, select Software Update. Go to Automatically keep my Mac up to date and check the box.

If you’ve tried one or several of these tips and are still experiencing sluggishness, it may be time to consider other options, such as trading in your old Mac for a new one. But before you do that, let us help you explore other ways to improve the performance of your trusty machine. Get in touch with us today.

This post was originally published on this site