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OS X Mountain Lion For Dummies by Bob Dr. Mac LeVitus

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Non-Backup Security Concerns

As you’ve probably surmised by now, backing up your files is critical unless you won’t mind losing all your data someday. And although backing up is by far your most important security concern, several other things could imperil your data — things like viruses or other types of malware, including worms, spyware, and intruder attacks. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all those things are far more likely to affect Windows users than Mac users. In fact, I’d venture to say that viruses, worms, malware, spyware, and intruder attacks are rarer than hens’ teeth for Mac users.

That said, here are a few precautions Mac users should consider, just in case.

About viruses and other malware

A computer virus, in case you missed it in Time magazine, is a nasty little piece of computer code that replicates and spreads from disk to disk. A virus could cause your Mac to misbehave; some viruses can destroy files or erase disks with no warning.

Malware (short for malicious software) is software that’s hostile, intrusive, annoying, or disruptive. Malware is often designed to gain unauthorized access to your computer and/or collect personal data (including passwords) without your knowledge.

The difference between a virus and other types of malware is that malware doesn’t spread by itself. It relies upon trickery, mimicry, and social engineering to induce unsuspecting users to open a malicious file or install a malicious program. So a virus is a type of malware, ...

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