Apple frequently releases new updates for its operating systems with bug fixes and security improvements. In addition, macOS also has a system that allows Apple to silently provide malware protection to Mac computers. And according to recent research, this year the company introduced major under-the-hood security updates for macOS.
Malware protection in macOS
Just like any other software on the market, macOS is vulnerable to malware. And while Macs don’t have an app like Windows Defender that’s clearly visible to users, Mac has a tool called “XProtect” that constantly scans for malware in the background.
First introduced with Mac OS X Snow Leopard in 2009, XProtect can not only find malware on your Mac but can also remotely get updates from Apple with new malware definitions without the need for a full macOS update. Another similar tool from Apple, the Malware Removal Tool (MRT), works in a similar way to remove malware on a Mac.
Researcher Howard Oakley of the Eclectic Light Company (via ArsTechnica) Observe both tools for some time to get an idea of how Apple is keeping its computers safe. With macOS Monterey 12.3, introduced earlier this year, Apple released a new version of XProtect that replaces the old MRT in a more aggressive way.
Since then, Oakley has claimed that macOS’ malware protection has “changed more than it has over the past seven years”. For example, Oakley notes that XProtect checks your Mac at least once a day “during periods of low user activity.” The frequency can change depending on the situation, and the malware scan can go on every hour.
Previously, macOS scanned the computer for malware at a much lower frequency and often after startup. Although recent updates do not make macOS immune to malware, the new system certainly makes it difficult to target Mac users with such attacks.
Older versions of macOS also get updates
The best part is that even Macs running older versions of macOS benefit from the new version of XProtect. According to the researcher, the update has also been made available for computers running macOS Catalina and above.
For Macs running earlier versions of macOS, Oakley reveals that the latest security update for versions between OS X El Capitan and macOS Mojave was released in April 2022. Of course, if you still have a Mac stuck in that software, it might be time to think In upgrading to a new device, it looks like Apple won’t release regular security updates for it anymore.
Earlier today, Apple released iOS 12.5.6 for older devices like iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and first generation iPad Air. The update fixes two vulnerabilities that were also fixed for newer devices running iOS 15.6.
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