How to protect your Mac from malware?

Malware is a malicious software designed to gain unauthorised access into your Mac and cause damage to it. This is done to benefit the hackers in some way – whether that’s by gaining financial benefits, getting access to your private data or simply showing you unwanted ads. There are many different types of malware, each of which are constantly evolving to enter your device easier and without you noticing. 

There is a lot of information online on how to get rid of malware on a Mac, if you suspect that you already have it. However, there are certain precautions you can take now, to protect your device from malware and avoid the headache of an infected laptop. Here are some of the key ways: 

Keep your macOS up to date

The operational system that Apple uses, macOS, includes many built-in security features that help you protect your Mac. One of them is Gatekeeper, which essentially scans all new items that you try to download and flags anything that looks suspicious. These security features are regularly improved and updated by the organisation, so it is important that your macOS is always up to date and running the best security processes available. 

While the updates happen automatically, we all have been in situations when the update popped-up at the wrong time and we forgot about it until the next reminder. If that happens, you can easily find the available updates by going on Apple Menu → clicking About this Mac → Software Update. 

Regularly update and clear your browsers

The majority of malware types are caught online, while browsing, and stay in your browser in the form of extensions, redirects and so on. It may be a good idea to get in a habit of regularly updating and clearing out your browser for any malicious software. 

Make sure your browser settings and preferences have not changed and clean out your browser extensions from anything you don’t want. You may also clear out your cache, in case a web page you have previously visited had viruses – you don’t want any traces of that left in your browser. Do the same for all your browsers, including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. 

Enable Mac Firewall

The Mac Firewall is designed to protect your laptop from unwanted connections from other devices or unsecure network connections, so it’s a good idea to have it enabled at all times. 

To check if your Firewall is enabled, go on your System Preferences → Security & Privacy pane → click on the Firewall tab. Check if the green light is showing – if not, click on Turn On Firewall. Additionally, click on Firewall Options and check the Enable Stealth Mode box. 

Browse with caution

Most devices get infected with malware due to the user clicking on a dodgy link, downloading an infected file, opening unsecure email attachments or otherwise getting scammed online. With the number of viruses and scams increasing every day, you should be cautious of them at all times. 

All that you can do is use common sense: don’t click or download anything that looks weird, unusual or simply too good to be true. In some cases, you may even receive virus links from your close friends, who have fallen victim to a virus. Educate yourself as well as those around you and use that knowledge to stay safe online.