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Top 5 Mac Security Threats Every User Must Know

February 28, 2017

Mac systems are known to be safe and more stable than Windows-based PCs. OS X has its own drivers, therefore, Mac users do not need to download third-party drivers, which lowers the chances of virus and malware infections. Mac systems also include advanced features such as File Quarantine and Gatekeeper that regularly scan the system to detect and fix security issues. The systems, however, are not completely immune to security threats. More people are moving to Mac systems, which has prompted hackers to develop specific threats targeting the system.

The blog post discusses some common threats to Mac systems. Take a look.

1. Mac Defender

Mac Defender is a rogue security program first detected in 2011. Different variants of the malware, such as MacGuard and MacDefender, have surfaced over the years. The program falsely alerts the user to security threats on their system, directing them to download a file that installs the program. Mac Defender hijacks the system and often directs users to pornographic sites and in some instances gives rise to identity theft issues.

2. The Flashback Trojan

Trojan BackDoor.Flashback, commonly known as the Flashback Trojan first appeared in 2011, and has infected more than 6,50,000 Mac systems worldwide. The program redirects users to a fake site that contains an infected file, which is saved on the system. The file runs malicious code that exposes Mac users to the serious threat of identity theft and can also redirect you to fake websites.

3. The Koobface Worm

Koobface is a multi-platform threat and spreads through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, and email websites, including Yahoo Mail and GMail. The program sends fake messages to social networking sites users alerting them about a ‘Koobface Infection’. The user is directed to a fake website where they’re instructed to download the supposedly ‘latest’ version of Adobe Flash player. Downloading the file results in infection and compromises important financial and personal data. Koobface worm spreads quickly through peer to peer topology, affecting systems in the network.

4. Threats Carried by Mac Systems

A study carried out by Sophos reveals that 1 in 5 Mac systems carry a malware or some other threat that often spreads through email attachments and USB drives. The study also reveals that around 20 percent of Mac systems are impacted by Windows malware that don’t run on Mac OS, but can spread through instant messaging and online storage. The threats often give rise to a number of security concerns such as data theft and system crashes.

5. Word Macro Viruses

Word Macro viruses are embedded in software, and can spread through e-mail attachments, networks, and Internet. Macro viruses, when installed, can take over different parts of the system. Some variants, such as Melissa detected in 1999, send automated messages to the first 50 people in your mailing list, affecting recipient systems as well. Macro viruses depend on application and not the OS, and can affect any operating system.


The burgeoning Mac user base has attracted the attention of hackers worldwide, who are coming up with malware targeting Mac systems. Mac users are regarded as belonging to an affluent section of society, making them a prime target for hackers. To protect against security threats, Mac users need to follow security protocols such as installing and regularly updating an antivirus suite, using password managers, disabling automatic login, running two-way firewalls, and using products such as iDoctor. You need to be very careful when opening files from unknown sources and avoid visiting suspicious websites. The team at iDoctor provides comprehensive support to help you optimize your Mac’s performance, and protect your system online and offline. To learn more about iDoctor or get expert help, connect with our technical experts by filling out our contact form.

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