Flashback Trojan: Kaspersky's 10 Ways to Protect Your Mac

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2012-04-10
 
 
 

Create a Non-Admin Account

The default account on Mac OS X is an administrator user, which malware writers can leverage to infect a computer. Create a non-admin user for everyday tasks like checking email and Web browsing. This can limit the damage from threats and malware attacks, according to Kaspersky's Raiu.

Create a Non-Admin Account

Use a Secure Web Browser

Users should look for a browser that contains a sandbox and has a strong track record of quickly fixing security issues, Raiu said. He recommends Google's Chrome for several reasons, including the fact that it's updated more often than Apple's built-in Safari browser. It also has a sandboxed version of Flash Player, which creates significant hurdles for malicious exploits.

Use a Secure Web Browser

No Standalone Flash Player

Users should uninstall the standalone Flash Player, which has become a popular target for hackers who are looking to take control of computers. In addition, an old version of Flash Player puts users at a heightened risk when browsing the Internet, according to Raiu.

No Standalone Flash Player

Ditch Java

Like Flash Player, Java is a popular target for exploit writers who want to plant malware on systems. Kaspersky suggests uninstalling Java from the machine completely. A problem, Raiu said, is that Apple doesn't let Oracle update Java for Mac completely. Instead, Apple officials do the updating themselves, and usually several months late. That means the window of exposure for Mac users is much longer than for PC users. If a user must use Java for specific applications, they should at least disable Java in Safari and other Web browsers.

Ditch Java

Update and Patch When Necessary

Many of the recent attacks against Mac OS X have taken advantage of old or outdated software. Among the most commonly exploited suites are Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Acrobat, and Java. That said, there are other applications that also can be abused. Whenever a user sees Apple's "Software Update" prompt, they should apply the fixes and reboot the systems when necessary.

Update and Patch When Necessary

Use a Password Manager

Included in Mac is a built-in password manager, called the "Keychain," which can help deal with phishing attacks. When possible, users should generate unique, strong passwords for their resources and keep them in the keychain instead of relying on simpler passwords that are easier to remember. When a cyber-criminal compromises an account, they will immediately try the same password in other places, like Gmail, Facebook, eBay, etc. Having a strong, unique password on each resource will boost a user's online security, Raiu said.

Use a Password Manager

Use a Password Manager

Included in Mac is a built-in password manager, called the "Keychain," which can help deal with phishing attacks. When possible, users should generate unique, strong passwords for their resources and keep them in the keychain instead of relying on simpler passwords that are easier to remember. When a cyber-criminal compromises an account, they will immediately try the same password in other places, like Gmail, Facebook, eBay, etc. Having a strong, unique password on each resource will boost a user's online security, Raiu said.

Use a Password Manager

Enable Full Disk Encryption or FileVault

In Mac OS X "Lion" Apple updated the FileVault encryption system—now known as FileVault 2—and added full disk encryption. If a laptop is stolen, having the entire disk—rather than just the home folder—encrypted can be helpful.

Enable Full Disk Encryption or FileVault

Upgrade Adobe Reader

Given that Adobe Reader remains a popular target of cyber-criminals, users should update it to version 10 or later, according to Kaspersky. Users can get the latest version from the download page at Adobe.

Upgrade Adobe Reader

Install a Good Security Solution

The idea that Macs don't get viruses should be buried by now, Raiu said, given the growing number of attacks, such as the recent Flashback Trojan. Now, Mac users must install a strong security solution on their systems.

Install a Good Security Solution

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