Ransomware attacks are more popular than ever. In today’s post, we cover how Mac users can protect themselves against ransomware. Note: while these tips are directed towards Mac users, the information easily translates to Windows users as well. Contrary to popular belief, Macs are susceptible to these forms of attacks.

What Is Ransomware?

As it sounds, ransomware takes over your computer, accesses the information, and encrypts it. Following that, a popup will appear saying that your data is locked away, and the only way to retrieve it is to pay the attacker money or ransom.

Even if you pay, usually in the form of wire transfer, bitcoin, or Paypal, there is no guarantee your information will be restored. Some ransomware programs delete the data entirely. Additionally, there is always the chance that the bad guys will come back and try this attack again if you pay up. We recommend never engaging in these scams and to take the following steps to protect yourself.

Only Use Legit Software

Watch out for and don’t install pirated software on your device. Some software, like Photoshop, is extremely expensive, and it’s tempting to use a ‘cracked’ copy of the software that costs nothing. However, the installers for these programs will sometimes contain other malicious programs that install themselves too. Make sure you can verify the source of the software and always download it directly from the manufacturer when acquiring new software.

Stay Vigilant On The Web

This tip should go without saying, but it’s extremely important. The Internet is filled with landmines. Pay attention to what links you click on and popups you occur. Apple introduced Gatekeeper, which favors certified apps and Apple Developers. When installing a program that doesn’t meet the requirements, Gatekeeper will throw a popup notifying you that the developer could not be verified. If you proceed, you assume any risk that might be associated with the program. Part of Gatekeepers’ purpose is to encourage Mac users to only use Apple-approved programs for maximum protection.

Other Steps

Another important step to protect yourself from ransomware threats is to have security software. Malwarebytes for Mac is a great option for additional protection on your device. Lastly, have backups on hand. Whether you use Apple’s Time Machine backup software or a 3rd party, protect your data. Backups are especially handy with ransomware because your data is always available, and you won’t even have to consider paying the fee.

If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!