Brett asked: “I have a Mac laptop. I have always heard that Mac are not as susceptible to ransomware and other viruses. I was wondering if that is still true and if not, what products would you recommend to make sure I am protected against those threats.”
Brett, Macs are not as susceptible in that they weren’t at much risk in this particular case, but that does not mean that they’re not at risk.
Recently, there have a few ransomware attacks on Macs, all of them aimed at filesharers. The attacks were not a very big deal because they didn’t have a way to infect other devices, and they relied on the users choosing to use infected software instead.
The infected software in several cases was actually distributed through the official page. Programs like Handbreak and Transmission were infected with malware and distributed through their respective developers’ sites.
As for what you can do to protect yourself, back up and keep the backup disconnected from your computer, either locally on an external hard drive, on the cloud or both, use antivirus software, and update your computer whenever security patches come out.
There is some software that tries to pick up on potential ransomware, RansomWhere? for example, will try to detect suspicious activity that may be malware.
Unfortunately, Dropbox, Google Drive syncing files, and other software works on files in the background in ways that regularly trigger false positives, so RansomWhere? Is probably better suited for more technical users who are able to recognize the false positives for what they are, and neither ignore potential real threats, nor have one heart attack after another thinking their computer is constantly in trouble.
Also keep in mind that if you have Windows installed on your Mac, then you have Windows’ vulnerabilities installed on your Mac too. A lot of Mac users that install Windows and rarely use it don’t bother to keep it updated and secure at all times, and that can get them in trouble.