Reports of malware infecting Apple Macintosh computers surged 53% in the first quarter of 2017 from a year ago. Although the Mac’s operating system is less vulnerable than Windows-based computers because of better built-in protections, recent malware attacks lure users to websites where their computer is infected. The malware causes their Internet browser to lock up, then offers a fake Apple support phone number where the problem can be fixed for a fee. Self-defense: Use a basic antimalware program such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac (free), which detects and removes malware from your computer, or if you want more extensive protection that prevents malware from even being downloaded to your computer, use Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($54.95 for one year).
The Mac malware typically is introduced through an e-mail that tricks you into clicking on an embedded link. The link takes you to a bogus website where the malware is downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge. Apple iPhones and iPads are not impacted by the malware because they automatically block downloads of any software from websites or e-mail attachments not from the Apple app store.
Even if an antimalware program protects your computer from the malware, you still may be tricked by the e-mail into revealing personal financial information.
What to do…
Never enter sensitive personal or financial information on a site you are taken to from an e-mail link—even if it looks legitimate. If you get an e-mail suggesting that there is a problem with one of your accounts, go directly to the website of the company that holds the account or call that company directly to inquire about the e-mail.
Install only software on your Mac that you have downloaded from the Apple app store or gotten from trusted sources. Otherwise, the software may not have been vetted as thoroughly and may contain “adware” that causes annoying ads to frequently pop up on your screen as you surf the Internet…or “spyware,” which tracks your Internet activity and forwards that data to hackers. Most antimalware programs you pay for, including the ones above, can detect and block adware and spyware.