Ask the Expert: Can Mac Computers Get Viruses?

Mac computers: they’ve become a global favorite. In fact, AppleInsider reported last year that the Mac brand has expanded to claim 7.4% of the global PC market. But why? Why are they so popular? Aside from their sleek design and stunning ergonomics, Macs are also reliable. Anyone who has ever worked on a Windows computer understands the bliss that comes from working on a Mac and noticing that all the popups,  lag time, and spammy functionality aren’t there. But can a Mac computer get a virus, or are they as bullet-proof as people think?

Let’s dig in.

Can a Mac Computer Get a Virus?

Do Macintosh computers get viruses? The short answer is yes. That said, though, virus infection is much less likely on a Mac computer than it is on a Windows operating system. Here’s why:

  • Mac OS X  systems are built using Unix, which is one of the most secure operating systems in the world.
  • More people use Microsoft Windows computers than Macs, which makes them more attractive targets for hackers and malicious coders. Since hackers want to earn money from the viruses or malware they write, it makes sense to get on as many computers as possible, rather than targeting a select few.
  • Much of the code currently used to write viruses is designed for Microsoft Windows.

That said, though, Mac computers are not virus-proof. In recent years, prominent viruses like OSX/Leap, Flashback, and Ransomware have come to target Macs, and many a Mac user has fallen victim to these bits of dangerous code. Aside from those threats, certain software and plugins, specifically those which connect to the Internet, can make Mac computers vulnerable to breaches. A great (recent) example of this is the discovery this month that the LastPass password manager featured dozens of easily exploitable security flaws.

How to Protect Your Mac From Viruses

So, yes, Macs can get viruses, but is there a way to protect your computer? Luckily the answer is “yes.” Here are a few common sense tips:

  • Don’t Click on or Download Suspicious Links or Files. This is, by far, one of the fastest ways for viruses to spread. If you receive a suspicious file or link, think twice before clicking or downloading it. A bit of due diligence here will go a long way to protect your computer from viruses and harmful programs.
  • Consider Installing an Anti-Virus Software. While many experts don’t recommend installing an anti-virus software on Mac computers, it can be a smart way to give your system some added protection and put your mind at ease. To start, find a high-quality free antivirus software, and up your security from there, if need be.
  • Be Mindful About the Sites you Visit. Just like it pays to avoid spammy links, it pays to avoid spammy sites. If you get a security warning from your system, saying a site is unsafe or not secure, click the “back” button right away.
  • If in Doubt, Assume The Worst. If there’s any doubt in your mind about the authenticity of a pop-up, link, or information request, assume it’s some form of malware or virus, until you can do further research.
  • Hire Professional Virus Removal if Your Computer is Acting Funny. If your computer starts making odd noises, dumping files, or locking you out of certain programs, it might be infected. Take it to a virus removal specialist in Fort Worth for further review.

Safer Macs Start Here

While Macs can get viruses, it’s still a relatively rare occurrence. If you own a Mac computer, understanding which viruses affect your system and knowing how to avoid them is integral to keeping your Mac running well for years to come. If you have questions about

If you have questions about your Mac’s system or suspect it might be infected by a virus, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Computer CPR today!

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