Mac users have long believed that their computers are immune to the types of malware and viruses that plague Windows PCs. While this idea has some credibility, we shouldn’t be overconfident when it comes to Mac security, as there are some exploits that criminals can use to to hack your Mac and leave it as a door wide open through which your data can be stolen (or worse).
In this article, we analyze whether Macs can be pirate, how to tell if your Mac has been pirate or if someone is spying on your Mac, and what can you do if your Mac is remotely accessible. Here’s what you need to know and what to do.
Can Macs To hack?
Apple has done everything possible to make it difficult for users to access the Pirates Mac. With the protections provided by Gatekeeper, the secure enclave capabilities of the T1 or T2 chip, and Apple’s built-in XProtect antivirus, hackers may find too much of an effort to attack Macs. We cover this topic in more detail here: Mac Security Tips and Tricks.
However, from time to time, security vulnerabilities are detected which could be used by the Pirates to operate Macs. These vulnerabilities are sometimes referred to as backdoors or zero-day vulnerabilities.
When security researchers (or the Pirates friends) identify them, often alerting Apple in the hopes that the company will quickly close the vulnerability, quickly – or within zero days – before it is exploited.
These types of vulnerabilities, although rare, could allow an attacker to gain access to the root of your Mac.
Apple tends to resolve these issues quickly, but there have been instances where Apple has been criticized for being slow to respond to the threat once identified.
For example, in 2019, researcher Filippo Cavallarin discovered a Gatekeeper vulnerability that he alerted Apple to. With no response from Apple in 90 days, it has made the details of the vulnerability public.
In 2018, the news was filled with stories of the Meltdown and Specter flaws that targeted vulnerabilities in Intel and ARM processors. The Guardian reported that Apple has confirmed that “all Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits affecting customers at this time.”
The risk was mitigated by updates to the operating system that shut down exposed areas.
One or one pirate access a Mac?
It might be odd compared to Windows, but yes there have been instances where Macs have been accessed by the Pirates.
It can take many forms and there are many types of malware for Mac that were discovered “ in the wild ” on Mac as you can see in our review of the different threats that affect macOS: List of viruses, malware and Mac security vulnerabilities. Malware has even been detected on the Mac M1 – check out Silver Sparrow and the first malware case for the Mac M1.
Next, we will go over the most relevant types for Mac hacking:
Cryptojacking: In this case, someone is using your Mac’s CPU and RAM to mine the cryptocurrencies. If your Mac has slowed down, this could be the culprit.
Spyware: In that case, the Pirates They try to collect sensitive data about you, such as your login information. They can use keyloggers to record what you type and finally have the information they need to log into your accounts. In one example, the Software The OSX / OpinionSpy spy would steal data from infected Macs and sell it on the dark web.
Ransomware: Some criminals use ransomware to try to extort money from you. In cases like KeRanger, hackers might have encrypted files on Mac and then demand money to decrypt them. Fortunately, security researchers identified KeRanger before it started infecting Macs, so it was fixed before it became a serious threat.
Botnet: In this case, your computer becomes a remote controlled spam distributor. In the case of the Trojan Horse OSX.FlashBack botnet, over 600,000 Mac computers.
Proof of concept: Sometimes the threat is not actually seen in nature, but is proof of concept based on a flaw or vulnerability in Apple’s code. Although this is a minor threat, the problem is that if Apple doesn’t rush to shut down the vulnerability, it could be used by criminals. In one example, Google’s Project Zero team designed a proof of concept known as Buggy Cos, which was able to access parts of macOS thanks to a bug in the macOS memory manager.
Port operation: Hacking is not always possible through some kind of malware downloaded on the Mac. In some cases, Macs have been hacked after something was connected to a port. Macs can be hacked through USB and through the Thunderbolt port – which is a good reason to always be careful what you plug into the Mac or leave the Mac unattended.
For example, in the checkm8 exploit, it might have been possible for hackers to access the T2 chip by connecting a modified USB-C cable. Likewise, in the case of Thunderspy, a severe vulnerability in the Thunderbolt port could have allowed a hacker to gain access to a Mac.
Can a Mac’s camera be hacked?
Once a hacker gains access to your Mac, there are a number of ways they can try to get information about you or use your Mac’s processing power for their own purposes.
As we mentioned earlier, in the case of Spyware, the or the pirate you can try installing a keylogger in order to record what you type and find your password. The pirate it might also try to hijack your microphone or video camera.
Before you worry too much, since the launch of macOS Catalina in 2019, Apple has protected Mac users from these types of exploits by making sure you have to give your permission before the microphone or video camera is used, or before a screen recording can take. location. And if the video camera is in use, you will always see a green light next to it.
However, a camera-related vulnerability affected Mac users of the Zoom video conferencing service. In this case, hackers could add users to video calls without their knowledge, then activate their webcams but keep the light off.
This would allow any potential hacker (or law enforcement) to monitor your activities and you would have no idea the camera was watching you.
Zoom fixed the vulnerability, but only after it was made public, when the person who found it reported that the vulnerability had persisted for three months after the company was privately informed of the risk.
Wondering if FaceTime is safe? Reading Apple’s FaceTime Safe?
How to tell if your Mac has been hacked
If you think your Mac has been pirate, there are several ways to find out. First, look for the signs: Has your Mac slowed down? Is your internet connection terribly slow? Do the ads you see look more questionable than usual? Have you noticed anything strange on your bank statements?
If you believe an account may have been hacked, check the haveibeenpwned.com website and enter your email address to see if it has appeared in a data breach. If so, be sure to change your password. It doesn’t mean that you have pirate, but it is possible that if this information exists, you are.
Another way to find out if there is strange activity going on would be to check the activity monitor and specifically look at network activity.
You can also go to System Preferences> Sharing and check if a suspicious person has access to anything.
The best option is to scan your system with some type of security software that can scan for viruses or malware that may have entered your system. We’ve got a round-up of the best antivirus apps for Mac, where we recommend Intego as our preferred option.
You can also read our guide on how to remove a virus from Mac.
How to protect your Mac from the Pirates
macOS is a very secure system, so there’s no need to be alarmed, but if you want to reduce the risk of compromise, there are several things you can do.
- The first is to try and download software only from the Mac App Store or official manufacturers’ websites.
- You should also avoid clicking any links in emails, in case they lead you to bogus websites and malware.
- Do not use USB cables, other cables or USB drives that if you cannot be sure they are secure.
- When browsing the web, do so in private or incognito mode.
- If you ever receive a ransomeware request or a phishing email, don’t respond because it only confirms its existence.
- Another is to make sure you download macOS updates as soon as they become available, as they often include security fixes. In fact, you can configure your Mac to automatically download these updates. Turn on automatic updates in System Preferences> Software Update and click next to Keep my Mac up to date automatically.
- Finally, consider using a specific security package. You’ll find our pick of the current deals on the best Mac antivirus, along with some helpful tips on the best security settings for Mac. You should also consider using a password manager because it will allow you to have multiple and complicated access data in all your accounts without having to memorize them.