Do Apple devices need anti-virus software?

Do Apple devices need anti-virus software?

Apple’s devices are far better defended against malware and viruses than other platforms, but does this mean they don’t need anti-virus software?

No, yes and maybe

I’ve lost track of the number of times Mac users have told me Macs don’t need virus protection because they are inherently more robust against such attacks.

I’ve also lost count of how many security researchers have said that Apple devices are becoming more liable to being attacked as their market share grows.

Both are right. Both are wrong.

The nature of cyberattacks are changing.

One good illustration of how the nature of these threats are changing comes in the form of the recently-revealed Intel processor vulnerability, ‘ZombieLoad’.

This flaw lets hackers use design weaknesses in Intel chips (back to 2011) to steal data from machines, including Macs.

Apple very quickly shipped security patches to protect against this vulnerability and published a detailed support document that Mac users who handle particularly sensitive data should read.

Traditional computer security models have relied on perimeter protection – that’s things like firewalls, virus checkers and malware detection.

But these defences simply aren’t robust enough to tackle or spot a threat like ZombieLoad.

Sophisticated, devious, dangerous

The important thing about ZombieLoad is that it shows how as platforms become more secure, attackers are exploring far more sophisticated ways to exploit devices.

They seek out vulnerabilities on a component level, and also engage in highly sophisticated phishing attacks that encourage people to click links that download malware to their machines.

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