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This year marks the 40th birthday of the Apple MacBook and the device shows no signs of disappearing from the market. Initially the go-to for media and creatives, the Mac is making its mark industry-wide, with 84% of the world’s top innovators, including SAP, Salesforce and Target, deploying Mac at scale. There are many reasons for this surge in popularity but generally speaking, the world loves Macs because they are easy to use, reliable and secure. With security in mind, we now ask the question – is an Apple Mac hackable?


Apple has implemented robust security measures to protect Macs from hackers. These include Gatekeeper, the Secure Enclave in M1, M2, and M3-series chips, the T1 or T2 chip in certain Intel-powered Macs, and Apple’s built-in antivirus, XProtect. These layers of protection make hacking Macs a daunting task, potentially making hacking too much effort for cybercriminals. You should also remember that the Mac operating system is Unix-based, which inherently makes it more challenging to exploit. Also, Apple’s tight control over both hardware and software, along with the built-in protections and security measures we’ve mentioned, make Macs more difficult for hackers to fleece.


While malware on Macs is decreasing, Mac users remain lucrative targets, making them worth the effort for cybercriminals. Consequently, Macs can still be targeted by malware and viruses. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, says:

“Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable.”

The point here is that even Apple executives admit they have a problem with viruses and malware. So, you should never be fooled into thinking that Macs are impenetrable. Macs have been targeted by hackers and viruses and over the years Apple has had to get serious about the measures included in macOS to keep its users safe.


From time to time, security vulnerabilities are detected that could potentially be exploited by hackers to access Macs. These vulnerabilities, sometimes referred to as back doors or zero-day vulnerabilities, are typically reported to Apple by security researchers or ethical hackers. The goal is for Apple to address these vulnerabilities quickly – ideally within zero days – to prevent exploitation. Although such vulnerabilities are rare, they could allow an attacker to gain root access to a Mac. While Apple is generally swift in issuing fixes, there have been instances where the company has faced criticism for being slow to respond to identified threats.


While less frequent than on Windows, Macs have indeed been infiltrated by hackers. This has occurred in several ways, with different types of Mac malware discovered ‘in the wild.’ Below is a rundown of some of the most pertinent threats affecting macOS:

  • Cryptojacking – This involves hackers using your Mac’s processor and RAM to mine cryptocurrency. A noticeable slowdown of your Mac could indicate this issue.
  • Spyware – Hackers use spyware to gather sensitive data, such as login details. For example, keyloggers record your keystrokes to capture information needed to access your accounts. The OSX/OpinionSpy spyware, for instance, stole data from infected Macs and sold it on the dark web. Peter Ewane, a researcher from the cybersecurity firm AlienVault says Apple Mac users need to be more vigilant and said:

“As OS X continues to grow in market share we can expect malware authors to invest greater amounts of time in producing malware for this platform.”

  • Ransomware – Here cybercriminals use ransomware to extort money from victims by encrypting their files and demanding payment for decryption. The KeRanger ransomware could have encrypted files on Macs, but it was identified and addressed by security researchers before it became a serious threat, although it did affect 7,000 Mac users. In April 2023, researchers warned that a group known as LockBit was developing ransomware encryptors targeting both Apple M-series chips and Intel processors.

“600,000 represents around 12% of the Mac OS computers sold in Q4 2011, “which means that if we count the number of Mac OS devices sold in the past three years, we can estimate that less than 1% of the Mac OS computers are possibly infected. On the other hand, if we look at the actual numbers and not at the percentages, the numbers look pretty scary.”

  • Proof-of-concept – Sometimes, vulnerabilities are identified through proof-of-concept exploits, which demonstrate potential loopholes in Apple’s code. While not immediately dangerous, these concepts highlight the importance of quickly addressing vulnerabilities. Google’s Project Zero team, for instance, created a proof-of-concept called Buggy Cos that exploited a bug in macOS’s memory manager.

Statistics from McAfee claim that there are now about 450,000 malicious programs aimed at Macs, still a lot less than the 23 million targeting Windows users.


Are you worried about Cryptojacking, spyware and ransomware derailing your Apple Mac infrastructure? Don’t be. Zhero is London’s #1 end-to-end cybersecurity and IT support for SMEs. Unlike most of our regional competitors, we are also experts at supporting Macs and other Apple devices. With our wealth of experience in IT support for businesses, we specialise in expertly managed Mac support packages. Rest assured that your IT infrastructure will stay current, secure, and easily accessible. Our Apple support services include

  • Consultancy
  • Mac networking
  • Mac management
  • Hardware support
  • Procurement
  • Apple deployment
  • Training services

Let us keep your Apple Mac and its precious data safe and sound, freeing you to concentrate on your business with peace of mind. You’ll have the time you need to empower your teams, boost productivity, and enjoy the advantages of our proactive support approach. Get in touch today and let us be the Apple of your eye.

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