Online security myths: Mine's an Apple so I'm safe

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It's a common misconception that Apple devices are impenetrable to viruses. While it's true that Apple has historically put more emphasis on security than other manufacturers, the operating system is not without its attackers.

Think of it like this: if you are going to create a virus, you'll probably aim for the machines with the least security. That way, your virus is more likely to succeed. So, for years, virus writers tended to steer clear of Apple, which had fewer devices and tougher defences than the likes of Microsoft and Android. But with over one billion iOS devices now out there, if the virus writers can break through, there's a huge pool of devices to steal information and money from.

Viruses (whether for Mac, iOS, PC or Android) all have one aim: to make money out of you. Some do this by stealing your login credentials, so they can take money from your financial accounts or retail accounts which are linked to them (like Amazon and PayPal). Others will use your smartphone to text or call premium rate services which you won't discover until you get a huge bill (and guess who owns that premium rate phone line?). Some will lock your device and hold its content to ransom. There are many techniques the hackers use, but with comprehensive security software in place, you don't need to worry.

Listen up, Apple fans

So viruses which target Macs, iPhones, iPads and iPods do exist. They are just as dangerous as viruses targeting Apple's rivals, there are just fewer of them by comparison.

There are some simple steps Apple users can take to avoid becoming a target:

1. Update the operating system software as soon as you're asked

People often don't do this because they don't notice a difference after the update. And that's usually because it was to fix a flaw in the software which could be used to get access to your device. If you don't install the update, it's still an open door to hackers.

2. Use security software

Security software is needed for Macs. This not only stops malware and phishing attacks, but also provides content control. iPhones are certainly more secure than Android devices, but features such as browsing protection are useful additional tools you can benefit from. The good news is that TalkTalk has Macs and iPhones covered with the SuperSafe Boost powered by F-Secure. Eight-device protection is FREE for Plus TV customers, and for all other customers it's £2 per month (and it's worth over £100 a year). You can also try it out on one device for free here.

3. Think twice about jailbreaking your iPhone

Jailbreaking may give you access to more apps and themes, but it also opens your device up to attack. The XSSER iPhone virus discovered last year would take SMS messages, stored photos and contacts. But it only worked on jailbroken devices.