Many small businesses haven’t taken steps to implement cybersecurity. According to a recent survey, only 2 percent of small businesses have a cybersecurity plan in place, perhaps thinking they are too small for criminals to target them. Few companies have implemented anti-malware software.
For some companies using macOS products, there is a mistaken belief their Mac is impervious to attack. These companies couldn’t be more wrong. For criminals, small businesses and Mac owners are easy targets. Lax cybersecurity means easy money.
A recent report from MIT identified cyberthreats like data breaches, ransomware, and mining cryptocurrency using hijacked computers. These threats start with a malware attack, and small businesses without cybersecurity or anti-malware software for their Mac computers will quickly become a victim.
The Danger of Malware to Mac
Malware is a piece of software that infects a computer. Once in place, it can be used to conduct criminal activities.
Malware has been used to hack computers to steal data and files, putting customers’ and employees’ private data at risk. Ransomware, which locks users out of a computer system until a ransom is paid, is another use of malware. Cryptocurrency miners will link computers together to mine for bitcoins, or worse, use the computer for DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.
For criminals, the key to success is infecting as many computers as possible. This makes small businesses with networked computers an easy and profitable target.
Mac computers have strong security in place, but they are still susceptible to attack. Malwarebytes, a leading cybersecurity software company has already identified four critical threats to Mac users in 2018. These same experts believe the threat to Mac is growing.
One of these threats, called OSX.CreativeUpdate, is particularly dangerous. This piece of malware was originally discovered after the MacUpdate website was hacked. The hackers replaced popular Mac apps, like Firefox, with their malicious links. When users downloaded the malware infused apps from MacUpdate the apps would install malware on the system and then open the original app. This covered up the fact that malware had just infected the system. This malware would use the computer’s CPU to mine cryptocurrency called Monero, which would slow down the computer and possibly even harm the hardware due to how hard it would be running.
Small businesses need to take cybersecurity seriously and protect their Mac and Apple products from attack. Malware is a threat that can quickly drain profit and productivity from the company, making it difficult for the small business to recover.
Mac Malware Protection: What You Can Do
Implementing cybersecurity for small business doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Here are a few simple tips to get started:
- Train employees in cybersecurity: Many malware attacks target trusting employees who haven’t been trained in cybersecurity. The most common form of this is Phishing. This is when a hacker acts like a legitimate entity in an effort to extract personal information. For example, a hacker might send an email that looks exactly like Apple asking the person to update their email password. Once the hacker has obtained the user’s personal information, they can gain access to their email which can lead to gaining access to personal accounts such as banking. Teach employees how to avoid suspicious websites and to check links before clicking on them.
- Update your OS and patch software: Implement a schedule for updating your software and loading the latest security patches to stay ahead of criminals. This is because outdated computers will have security holes that make them more prone to cyberattacks than on that has been updated.
- Implement anti-malware software: For additional protection, implement anti-malware software for all systems, especially Mac.
- Limit access: Often, cybersecurity can be breached by something as simple as a stolen password. Reduce risk by limiting access to critical files to only a few employees.
- Implement formal security policies: Creating a formal security policy and enforcing its rules is essential to keeping cyber criminals out of your system. Do this by creating a culture of cautious behavior while online and have regular meetings to reeducate employees on new threats. For example, many companies enforce strict password policies to keep passwords complex and regularly changed for critical systems.
Protect your company by taking a few low-cost, high-impact steps to prevent malware. As criminals continue to attack soft targets like Macs and small networks of linked computers, cybersecurity for your small business will be a strong first line of defense.
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