Home – New Forums Tech talk Do Macs get viruses? Reply To: Do Macs get viruses?

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onsiteTECHS, post: 70988 wrote:
It is possible to get a virus on a Mac OS computer, but until now it has been very, very unlikely. As IgniteDM suggests, it’s mostly because the virus programmers have not, until now, been interested in writing viruses for the Mac OS (partly because the sorts of people who write viruses hate Apple less than they hate Microsoft, and partly because the sorts of people who write viruses want to target as many people as possible, and there have been many times more Windows PCs in use than Apple computers – although that is changing).

Another reason for there being less viruses on Mac OS computers until the last few years, was the increased inherent security built into the Unix based operating system (Admin or Root access must be specifically granted on an as-needed basis) but this has changed somewhat since Microsoft implemented similar concepts in it’s operating systems.

As more people start using Apple computers, there will be an increase in the number of viruses which are specifically written to target them and exploit vulnerabilities. It’s inevitable. No computer operating system can be 100% immune to them. They have even started to target smart phones, although the “app store” model that Apple popularised makes it more difficult for malicious software to propagate.

At the moment it’s probably not essential that a Mac user runs an anti-virus program, although I do, and I recommend that my customers do to. I’ve been using the free version of Sophos Anti-Virus with good results (although it has only ever detected viruses when I’ve transferred data to my laptop from a customer’s Windows computer).

One common misconception is that the Apple brand computer is somehow immune from viruses, even when running Windows (either natively, or via Parallels) – this is NOT the case. As soon as you run Windows on your Apple computer you are at just as much risk as any other Windows based PC, so you must run an anti virus program within Windows.

+1 for Sophos Antivirus for Mac. I’ve been using it on my Macbook for several months now.