Can Macs Get Viruses like the WannaCry Ransomware? (the short answer is no).


Worried about the recent talk on the news about the WannaCry encryption worm that struck computers all over the world last weekend? Never fear! This was a virus that targeted Windows machines only, and Macs have amazing built-in security – so you're safe from this one. But this is a great time to get a few pointers about how to best protect your Mac from malicious software. 

1. Enable Firewall. This is a basic security setting designed to block unapproved connections from coming in from the internet to your computer, which for some reason is often not enabled by default on some Macs. To check if it is, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall and make sure it's turned on. 
2. Always keep your Operating System up-to-date. This doesn't mean upgrading to the newest Operating System (e.g. Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra), but if you see a red number badge above the App Store in your dock it means software updates are ready, and it's a great idea to download and install the ones pertaining to your system software right away.
3. Scan for Malware. The only "malicious software" that you'll probably ever encounter are in the category known as "Adware," which is more of an annoyance than actually harmful. Adware most commonly infects your machine by way of bogus Adobe Flash pop-ups that install code in your browser, causing it to re-direct to certain paid search results (aka "enhanced results"). The easiest way to deal with these pests is to clean them out with Malware Bytes. This free, no-frills program does an excellent job of squashing those annoying bugs, and there's even an automator script I made (if you're interested, ask me how to help you set it up with Keyboard Maestro on your machine) that can schedule the scanner to run on a regular basis.
>>Quick note: if Malware Bytes does find and delete some malware from your machine, your web browser's search engine and home page will probably still need to be reset. Please let me know if you'd like and I can walk you through this.<<
4. Resist the temptation to "Optimize." Seemingly helpful programs like MacKeeper, MacDefender, and Mac Adware Cleaner are in fact themselves Adware! There are a couple of programs like Drive Genius out there that will legitimately optimize and clean up your machine, but they are few and far between. If you feel your device is moving slow and you want to speed it up, ask me if you'd benefit from a tab manager like One Tab for Chrome, or if you need a RAM or hard-drive upgrade on your older Mac.