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There is a common belief amongst Mac users that macOS cannot catch a virus. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and we are all vulnerable to different types of malware, regardless of the operational system that we use. Yes, macOS does have integrated security systems that work very well and can potentially prevent you from viruses, but you cannot be completely certain that it will. There are many other things you can do to boost your virus protection for Mac though – here are some of our best tips.
Always let your macOS update
As we already mentioned, macOS has many security features already pre-installed on your device and scanning any apps or files you download for safety. The most effective one include GateKeeper, Sandboxing, and Xprotect – not only do they do a good job at protecting your laptop but they are also regularly updated with new and improved ways to do so.
It is, therefore, of paramount importance that you never stop any updates that your macOS needs to perform. If the timing of the update doesn’t suit you, simply postpone it for later, but try not to keep cancelling it and forgetting to do it when you get a chance.
Use an antivirus software
In addition to the existing safety measures on your Mac, it is always highly recommended to install a good antivirus software. Antivirus software is the easiest way to have your laptop regularly scanned for viruses and, once suspicious activity has been detected, remove it in only a few mouse clicks. You may have to pay a monthly subscription for a good app but, if it’s capable of detecting such complex viruses as rootkit, it will be worth the investment.
Enable firewall security
The firewall that your Mac offers is an additional layer of protection against viruses that does not have any drawbacks. What it does is essentially provide you protection from any unwanted access from network connections or apps – whether those are automatic or actual people trying to get into your device.
However, by default, the firewall is disabled, so you do have to manually enable it by going on your System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Firewall tab and turning on the Firewall option.
Clear out your browsers
Perhaps the most common place in which your Mac is exposed to viruses is the internet. Whether you are simply browsing the web, streaming films or installing extensions, viruses can sneak in through the most unexpected sources. If any of the websites you previously visited had malicious malware in them, there will be traces of that within your browser history.
Try to regularly clean out cache and cookies from Safari, Chrome, Firefox and any other browser you may use. It may also be a good idea to do a regular look-through of all of your installed browser extensions and see if anything looks suspicious. This will not only prevent viruses but also empty some extra memory space on your Mac – who doesn’t love a good added bonus!
Use a VPN for public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are available nearly everywhere we go nowadays and many of us love to work and study from a local cafe, library or workspace. While most of the time it’s absolutely fine, you will never know when an internet network has been compromised by hackers. Connecting to an unprotected Wi-Fi can then allow them to steal your data and infect your device with viruses.
A VPN is a good way to protect yourself, as it essentially creates a tunnel between your device and the web pages that you visit while connected to the public Wi-Fi network. Your data gets encrypted, so it’s impossible for hackers to steal it.
Back up your data regularly
While this is not necessarily a prevention tip, it still plays a key role in helping you deal with viruses as effectively as possible. If your Mac has been infected by a virus, your files may get compromised or damaged and you may need to fully wipe out your computer for protection.
So, it is always a good idea to back all of your data up externally, to ensure that if a virus does sneak into your laptop, the consequences are minimal. Most users opt for an external cloud, such as Google Drive or iCloud but you may also use an external hard drive or simply back data up with the Mac Time Machine.
Use strong passwords
Having different passwords for different websites and apps can be a huge pain – we get it. But trust us, it won’t be as frustrating as having all of your passwords stolen during a cyber attack. It is important that you avoid using obvious and easily-guessable passwords as well as using the same password for everything – your social media, personal banking, business log-ins and so on. If you have trouble remembering different passwords, use a reliable password manager.
Set up multi-factor authentication
Many websites are now starting to offer a multi-factor authentication option, meaning that typing in a password is no longer enough to log in. This may be in the form of a text message with code sent to your phone number or using an authenticator app with biometrics. Again, this will only take a few extra seconds for you to log in but it can be a huge help in preventing hackers from stealing important information, if your Mac has already been infected by a virus.
Be mindful of online scams
Catching a virus can be as simple as clicking on the wrong link in the wrong website. Hackers are getting more and more creative with their scams, so you can get them in places that you wouldn’t normally expect. Most Mac users are by now aware that they shouldn’t open phishing emails or download any suspicious email attachments. The majority will also think before clicking on odd adverts and url links online.
However, it goes much further than this. There are automatic bots that spam YouTube videos and Facebook posts of reliable sources with links that look real but have viruses in them. You could also receive odd messages from your acquaintances asking you to click on an infected link, who most likely have fallen victim to a malicious malware online.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about it, besides reporting them when you see it online – you can only be smart, use common sense and browse the web with caution.