Enhancing Mac Security Against Trojan Attacks
Enhancing Mac Security Against Trojan Attacks
The Trojan virus gets its name from Greek mythology where soldiers were hidden inside a giant wooden horse to gain entry to Troy. In a Trojan attack, you will download a virus that’s in something that appears legitimate. This may be anything from an app to a software update. Trojans can do all kinds of damage once they gain access. They can steal files, install ransomware, and slow down your computer. By being proactive and enhancing your MacOS security, you can reduce the risks of a successful Trojan attack.
Signs your Mac may be infected with a Trojan
  • Performance may be sluggish.
  • Files delete themselves.
  • You have more crashes.
  • You notice changes in your browser settings.
  • More pop-ups appear.
  • Your antivirus gets disabled.
  • You see an app or feature you didn’t download.
  • Your Mac may overheat.
If you have a Trojan on Mac, how do you get rid of it? You can use a malware scanner to detect a Trojan. To remove Trojans, you can use various third-party tools or do it manually. If you do it manually you will need to remove infected files, delete suspect apps, reset your browser settings, and more. Rather than having to go through this process, it is better to take preventative measures. Your first step will be to make sure you enable all your inbuilt MacBook security settings. You will also need to follow cyber security best practices.
Install a reputable anti-virus tool
“Does Mac need antivirus?” is a question you may ask. In the past, this was a legitimate question as Macs did not have a problem with viruses. Macs are built with some great security features such as its built-in antivirus tool, XProtect. This is great as your first line of defense. However, when more people started to use Macs, cybercriminals began to target them more. The malware they use to target Macs keeps evolving. They know how to subvert the safety features and some viruses can slip through.

Sometimes you won’t even know that you have a Trojan operating in the background. That’s why it’s so important to install cybersecurity software. Make sure you download Mac antivirus software from an Apple notarized source. An antivirus for Mac should offer real-time protection. It should perform regular scans to identify and block viruses and malware.

Check that your Mac’s Firewall is turned on
You can take one very simple action that takes only a few seconds. Check that the Firewall on your Mac is turned on. Mac's Firewall will protect your system from network-related Trojan attacks. It will also protect it from incoming connections from other computers that could cause a problem. To check if the firewall is on:
  • Choose the Apple menu and go to System Settings.
  • Select Security and Privacy in the sidebar.
  • Click on the firewall option.
  • You should see Firewall On.
  • If it isn’t on, use the toggle on the right to turn it on.
Enable further firewall options
You can customize your security preferences on Mac if you choose Options below the firewall toggle. Click on the plus (+) button and you will see some specifics in the prompt. For example, you can choose to turn on ‘automatically allow downloaded signed software to receive incoming connections’. You can also tick the ‘Enable Stealth Mode’ box for further protection.
Ensure your Mac is updated
Each system update from Apple will fix any security vulnerabilities in MacOS. If you don’t ensure that it’s updated, cybercriminals can gain access. Choose System Settings from the Apple Menu. Select General in the left pane and click on Software Update on the right. Your Mac will immediately start checking for an update and you can download and install it.

There is an option on your Mac to perform updates automatically. This means you don’t have to worry about performing manual updates. You can toggle on options like check for updates, download new updates when available, and install macOS updates.

Download apps securely and keep them updated
Various security features on your Mac will help to prevent you from installing apps that Apple hasn’t verified. Gatekeeper ensures you will only download apps from the App Store and verified developers. You will receive a warning about the risks if you want to install an app from an unknown developer. Even if you install a compromised app, there are various security measures on your Mac that will help to limit the damage.

All these protective measures don’t mean you can take the security of apps for granted. Be wary if you want to download an app and you have to go through extra steps to bypass warnings. You need to check the provenance of any app very carefully. It can take Apple a while to address new malware. In the interim, you could suffer a Trojan attack. Check for independent reviews of apps to help you avoid downloading what looks like legitimate software but turns out to be a Trojan.

Apps you install from the App Store are automatically updated. However, you will need to manually update any other apps you download. As these updates usually contain fixes to security vulnerabilities, it’s essential to install them.

Avoid suspicious links, attachments and websites
  • Never click on a link if you don’t know where it leads. Be particularly careful about a link that comes via a messenger app, such as WhatsApp. A fraudster can easily imitate a family member or friend to trick you into clicking a link.
  • Don’t open an attachment in an unverified email. A Trojan may be disguised as a PDF document that you open because you’re curious to see what it is. Even if the email appears to be from a legitimate source, opening an attachment could make you vulnerable to a Trojan attack.
  • Never go to a website that doesn’t have a valid SSL certificate. If a site you go to asks you to download something or fill in private information, make sure it isn’t a fake site imitating a legitimate one. A web page you open could contain hidden malware and make your system vulnerable to further exploitation.
Use a VPN
If you use an unsecured network to access the internet, you are vulnerable to getting a Trojan virus. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts the connection. This means you can browse privately, even when using a public network. Apple has a product called Private Relay that works like a VPN. It is available to iCloud+ subscribers. One of your security preferences may be to install a VPN from a third-party provider for added protection. All you need to do is open System Settings from the Apple menu and choose VPN on the left. The service you installed will appear there and you can turn it on.
Cyber threats keep evolving and cybercriminals can find ways to evade security measures. This can even happen on a Mac which has many built-in security features. To keep your Mac safe from Trojans you must make sure all your Mac’s security measures are enabled and you keep the operating system and software up to date. You also need to be vigilant about using best security practices. A third-party antivirus tool and a VPN offer added protection.
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