Although Mac computers boast high security and efficiency, even these innovative devices can become the victims of malicious software, also called malware. Adware is one of the most widespread types of malware created to spread advertisements to unsuspecting users.
The problem is that adware is more dangerous than it may seem, as it can make your software vulnerable to security breaches, identity theft, and other problems. This article explains in detail what adware is and how it can affect Mac computers. In addition, it provides some tips on how to avoid adware and be a more cautious and informed Internet user.
Definition of Adware
So, what is adware exactly? Adware is a program that demonstrates excessive and usually annoying ads to users. Its goal is to generate as much revenue for its author as possible. Adware can be malicious and non-malicious. The latter collects the data about your online activity with your consent and then adjusts the ads accordingly.
You can knowingly download adware with a free version of some app that depends on ads for survival. Malicious adware, in turn, attacks your Mac without your consent and is considered to be a form of spyware. In addition to ads, it creates popup messages and permanent windows that distract you and carry the risk of further infection with malware.
How Does It Infect Mac?
There are several ways in which your Mac can be attacked by malicious adware. For example, they can get access to your computer through the browser vulnerability. It happens when you open a suspicious website infected with adware. Both trusted and sketchy websites may be contaminated with adware, so you never know the source of your problem.
Another way for adware to enter your device is through bad apps. These may mask as legitimate apps but, in fact, contain many security threats. Once you install them on your Mac, the adware starts to work silently without your permission. So, whenever you see a free app that looks appealing, don’t forget that everything comes at a price.
The problem is challenging because there is no browser secure enough to prevent the ads from appearing. It doesn’t matter which browser you are using on your Mac – adware will infiltrate them all.
Consequences of Adware Presence on Your Mac
Now, we get to the main point of this article – what are the dangers of adware on your Mac? Let’s begin by listing the least dangerous but no less irritating effects of adware on your Apple device:
- You see more ads than you used to, and they emerge in new places and forms (e.g., as popups)
- The ads are not related to your online activity and interests
- Your browser acts weird and opens the websites without your authorization
- You see suspicious setting alterations in your browser that you didn’t consent to (e.g., the homepage change)
- The websites to which you are usually redirected present offers that seem too good to be true
- Your browser contains unfamiliar plug-ins and toolbars
- Your Apple device works slower than usual
The listed effects can interfere with your Mac use and make it difficult to concentrate on your online activities. However, these consequences of adware infection are relatively harmless compared to other potential effects of this malware. We will focus on some of them in more detail.
- Some adware programs contain hidden viruses that pose a risk to your privacy and can steal your information. There are thousands of viruses out there, and many of them have evolved to trick even the most secure devices such as Macs.
- Adware can also record keystrokes, steal login credentials, and download files without your permission. As a result, hackers can get access to your private data and banking information.
- Adware can get access to your microphone and camera, thus allowing someone to spy on you.
- Some programs send security notifications and invite you to download security software, which turns out to be another form of malware.
- Adware can also carry ransomware and demand money from you in exchange for access to your data.
- Finally, the adware can use your device to mine cryptocurrency, which results in excessive energy consumption and overheating.
As you can see, there is always a risk that adware will be complemented with a bunch of security problems that will take time to address.
How Safeguard Your Device in the Future?
According to Forbes, there is much more malware aimed at Mac computers than there used to be, and it’s becoming more advanced. Since the increasing number of people choose Apple devices, hackers have begun to target Macs more, coming up with tricky solutions to get into other people’s computers. Their success is not surprising since many Mac users still think that they don’t need security software.
Researchers have found that malware targeting Macs today mainly includes adware, while hardcore malware constitutes only a tiny fraction of security threats.
While this news is encouraging, it also shows that better protection against adware is needed. Users can no longer rely on macOS to provide security, as even the most recent versions of the OS have their flaws. So, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. We jotted down some tips on how to get rid of adware if you are a Mac owner:
- Install reliable security software. Carefully study the available options and stick to the paid software with a good reputation, such as Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton, Avast, and others.
- If a website acts weird (e.g., works too slow or begins to install something), leave it immediately and stop all the downloads.
- Be cautious when installing new apps. Choose paid versions over free ones and read customer reviews.
- Never click on the links on unreliable websites and avoid downloading audio and video files from untrustworthy sources.
- Update your OS regularly.
Providing 100% protection is practically impossible, but you can reduce the risk of adware infection if you are cautious enough and control your Internet use.