Mac Malware – education is key

21 May, 2011 - Paul Dixon
Mac Malware

Chances are that if you’re reading this post you won’t be the kind of person who falls victim to Malware. But if like me, you often recommend Macs to non-tech savvy family and friends, maybe the recent Mac Defender Malware has forced you to change your stance on Mac security.

While Mac Malware has been around for years, none has managed to affect as many users as Mac Defender. One of the main reasons it’s managed to claim so many victims is the creator’s ability to get links to it’s download pages ranking so high for popular search terms.

But why have so many people gone as far as installing it? Although it’s tempting to blame users for a lack of education, perhaps the mantra that Mac’s don’t have the same vulnerabilities as PCs has lulled some Mac users into a false sense of security. They have no reason to question whether or not the application they were told to install might be malicious.

So while a few months ago I might have told new non-tech savvy Mac users not to worry about malware or viruses at all, I will probably be advising them to do the following:

  • Make sure they use a password on their user account.
  • In Safari untick the option to open “safe” files after downloading.
  • Ignore virus/malware alerts that appear in the browser.
  • Think twice before installing anything, especially if they weren’t looking to install anything in the first place.
  • Consider installing protection from the likes of Sophos or ClamXav.

Maybe I’m being naive, but If fewer Mac users get tricked into installing Malware, then the platform will be less attractive to those who create it, and that can only be a good thing for everyone.

Has Mac Defender changed the way you think about Mac security?

About the author

Paul Dixon is the owner of Macsessed. He lives in Lancashire in the UK where he works as a web designer. You can find him on and Twitter.