Keeping Mac Users Safe: Security Tips for Small and Midsize Businesses


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Cyberattacks have grown in scope and tactics, and Apple devices — often, but incorrectly, thought of as ‘immune’ to viruses and other threats — are becoming bigger targets.

In February, researchers issued a second warning about Silver Sparrow malware, which first came to light in November 2021 on Apple’s latest M1 chip. As of mid-February, Silver Sparrow had already infected over 29,000 macOS devices in 153 countries. Although it reportedly hasn’t delivered any malicious payloads, researchers called Silver Sparrow “a reasonably serious threat.”

Last year brought a slew of other Mac threats and attacks. In December, Reuters reported that the iPhones of at least nine U.S. State Department employees were hacked with spyware. In July, the Mac-targeting XLoader malware — available for as little as $49 — was discovered. Early May found Apple releasing emergency fixes to its operating systems on iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches, which came on the heels of an update Apple issued one month earlier for those same devices to fix a vulnerability.

These developments should serve as a wake-up call to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that better data protection is required for Apple devices, which are at greater risk than ever from cyberattacks.

Mac-targeting malware may historically have been uncommon, but that’s simply no longer the case, explains Kevin Reed, CISO at Acronis. “The market share of Macs has grown and it has become profitable to create malware for it. In the past, this simply was not cost-justified.’’

Ransomware remains the biggest threat to Apple devices, followed by banker trojans, Reed says. Targeted malware from remote access tools/trojans (RATs) is another significant concern because often an attacker can control a system without a user’s knowledge. “In some sense, Macs are more vulnerable here, because not all developers provide protection for them,’’ according to Reed.

There is good news, says Reed. “iOS devices are more secure in terms of [attackers attempting to deliver] off-the-shelf malware. With Android, attacks happen due to ‘alternative stores’ and direct downloads, which is not possible on iOS;…