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How to protect your Mac against ransomware and other cyberthreats



A popular myth says that “Mac’s don’t get viruses,” but that’s never quite been true — and today’s Mac users face more cyberthreats than ever before. If you’ve got a friend or family member who thinks they don’t have to worry at all about cybersecurity, pass along this article.

You’ve probably heard that Mac computers are somehow more resistant to viruses than their Windows counterparts. That’s been the conventional wisdom for years — but would you bet the safety of your personal files on it?

Think “Macs don’t get viruses”? Think again!

If only the old adage were true. The reality is a bit tougher — Macs are indeed susceptible to viruses, ransomware and other cyberthreats.

How did this myth get started? It’s due, in part, to the fact that years ago there just weren’t very many Macs out there in the world. Cybercriminals tended to focus their attention on Windows systems, because it was a more effective use of their time. Any viruses they designed to target Windows could be deployed against many more computers.

In terms of market share, Windows is still the reigning champion, but Macs have been steadily increasing in popularity for years. About 15% of all desktop/laptop computers are now running some version of macOS — that’s double the percentage of 10 years ago.

In response, cybercriminals have stepped up their attacks against Macs. New threats emerge every day, which is why some modern data backup and security solutions — like Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office — now provide native support for macOS.

Mac ransomware is a growing threat

You’ve probably seen ransomware quite a bit in the news recently. It’s currently the most popular type of malware, and Mac users are increasingly at risk.

One prime example of the growing danger is the UpdateAgent malware. While this threat first appeared in 2020, a new variant emerged earlier this year and introduced some new tricks.

By impersonating legitimate software and retrieving malicious instructions from a remote source, it managed to bypass the native protection from macOS’s Gatekeeper technology, which is designed to ensure that only trusted software is allowed to run.

It’s easy to assume that you’re “too small to target,” but unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of advances in automation and other technologies to attack hundreds, even thousands of computers at once. Think of it like throwing out a big net: anyone could get caught.

From personal photos/videos to financial documents to freelance projects, most of us have significant amounts of valuable data on our home computers and mobile devices. Losing this would be devastating. And while data backups are a great idea, they’re not enough on their own to protect you from harm.

Most newer varieties of ransomware don’t just encrypt your data — they actually steal copies of it first, and upload them to a remote server. This gives cybercriminals extra leverage. Even if you refuse to pay the ransom (because you can just restore the data from backup), they may threaten to release your personal files online, or use them to plan future attacks.

There are also many cyberthreats that are “OS-agnostic,” meaning that they don’t care what operating system you’re using. For instance:

Attacks on webbased apps and services (like Microsoft 365) could lead to data loss
Phishing emails can impact anyone, anytime, causing you to download a malicious attachment or inadvertently reveal sensitive information — no matter whether you’re on a Windows computer, a Mac or even your smartphone.
Even offline events, like hardware damage or having your laptop stolen, can cause you to lose valuable files, photos and other data if they’re not safely backed up.

One thing should be clear: for Macs as well as Windows PCs, cybersecurity has become a basic need.

Protect your Mac with these tips

The quickest way to step up protection for your Mac is to make sure you’re following basic “best practices” for cybersecurity. You remember them. They are the ones you spend hours reminding everyone else to follow:

Avoiding clicking on email attachments or links from unknown senders
Installing the latest software updates as soon as they’re available
Never bypassing security settings to install apps if you’re not 100% certain of their safety

Still, even the tech-savviest among us can make mistakes or otherwise fall victim to ransomware and other cyberthreats. That’s why it’s so important to invest in cybersecurity and data backup tools, to block malware before it can harm your data — and to restore that data safely when the need arises.

Whether you need to secure your Mac, your Windows PC or even iOS and Android devices, Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office provides complete protection for your data and digital life.

It’s the only personal solution with a unique integration of cybersecurity and backup technologies. Safeguard your sensitive data against all modern threats — like cutting-edge cyberattacks, accidental deletion, disk failure and device loss. Enjoy peace of mind with Acronis.

Sponsored and written by Acronis

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