Why “I Have a MAC and Don’t Have to Worry About Viruses” is a Myth
While it is true that Macs are less prone to malware than Windows, they are not completely impervious. Your Mac is unlikely to catch a silent infection through no fault on your part, which is not uncommon in a Windows system, but many user behaviors like the use of counterfeit software or simply opening the wrong e-mail can lead to an infection. Regardless of the inherent Mac safety measures, it is best to have antivirus protection, if you connect your Mac to the internet.
The Secret Behind Mac’s Inherent Resistance to Infections and Why it is Not Enough
While Windows applications share a common registry, individual preference files are used by Mac Operating System (OS) X applications. This means that changes in global configuration that induce most of Windows infection do not work on Mac. Without root access, malware cannot interact with other Mac programs.
In spite of having an advantage over Windows, your Mac is not insusceptible to viruses. The level of security depends on the Mac OS version you use. Unlike various versions of Windows in which the differences are superficial, different versions of Macintosh OS differ significantly. Based on your OS you may have sufficient protection against malware (malicious software) in general, but there are real Mac viruses (software that can infect other files) out there and your system is vulnerable to them. Macintosh users are also vulnerable to spyware (malware that monitors computer use). In any case, protecting your Mac with a suitable antivirus makes sense.
What is Downstream Protection?
Downstream protection is a term often used in the context of computer viruses. It refers to the protection of Windows users from Windows based viruses forwarded by Mac users. For instance, consider that John, a Mac OS X user, has received an infected document and he forwards it to Tom, a Windows user. While the virus won’t affect Mac, Tom’s Windows system would be at risk of infection, if he open the document sent by John. Many Macintosh antivirus software focus on this aspect of security.
Easy Ways of Protecting your Mac
Investing in good antivirus software is the best way to protect your Mac. Apart from this, here are some more tips for ensuring complete security.
• Apple, as well as third party apps, regularly issue security updates. Keeping your apps and system software updated will ensure optimum protection.
• Mac OS X downloads and maintains a list of malware definitions automatically. This plays an important role in combating attacks and potential threats. Double check to ensure that the feature is turned on.
• Strictly avoid installing unknown software. It is not uncommon to come across pop-up windows asking you to install random software. While it is common sense that you need to be wary of such random software, this is how many Mac malware are propagated.
• Many types of malware, particularly flaskback, gain entry into your system through Java security breaches. Disabling Java is the most effective way of protecting your system from such threats.
• Last but not the least, install a Mac OS X antivirus software. The point is important enough to be worth a second mention.