Computer Viruses
Mac OS

Do Macs get viruses?

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2012-04-10 08:17:10
2012-04-10 08:17:10

Prior to OS X, there were viruses written for Apple Macintosh computers. Any operating system on which software can be installed at all is potentially vulnerable to infection from a virus, which is itself a form of software. An operating system cannot distinguish good software from bad software; this is usually done by antivirus scanners or behavior monitoring programs. In the past, bona fide "viruses" were mostly targeted at specific groups or individuals, such as politicians and high-profile clergymen, most of whom are non-technical users who will use whatever their employers provide (most likely Windows). But in the recent decades average users have been intentionally attacked for the purpose of notoriety or to cause grief. Viruses in themselves are intentionally destructive, rather than stealing information or providing control over someone's machine. While virus creation and infection has been on the downturn in favor of malware, infection is still entirely possible and not to be ruled out.

These days most malicious programs in the wild are Trojan horses. Software which supposes to be something it really is not, Like "MacDefender", or "AntiVirus 2011". Besides Trojans, there are also a lot of spyware and exploits that can infect a computer remotely and surreptitiously, usually through a Web browser. Unlike viruses, which are written out of malice, these parasites are written for profit, be it to direct a botnet to attack other networks, or to steal user information to sell to identity thieves.

Apple's Web site says that "a Mac is 100 percent safe from viruses designed to attack PCs." This is true; otherwise, Apple could face a class-action lawsuit. The loophole is a single, clever subtlety in the phrase, "designed to attack PCs."

There are in fact some Trojans written for Mac OS X, but no viruses. While Apple announces that their systems are "more resistant to attack" There are professional security researchers who have successfully compromised both Macs and Windows computers remotely, as well as other operating systems for PCs, servers, and even mobile devices like the iPhone.

It is widely believed that Unix-based operating systems cannot be infected at root level unless the user authorizes it with a password; this is untrue. All platforms have known privilege escalation vulnerabilities, and more are being discovered all the time.

At the time of writing, Windows users remain by far the most likely to encounter viruses, or any other type of malware/unwanted programs. In over 20 years, the total count of Mac viruses is about 50 (all prior to Mac OS X). There are thousands for Windows.

However, The unfortunate truth is ALL computers are susceptible to viruses or attack.

While the fallacy that "Mac's can't get viruses" is pushed by Apple, the truth of the matter is they are just as susceptible as windows users except they aren't being directly targeted being that Macintosh used to run less than 6% of the global operating system market share (Source: C|Net). As more users are moving over to the Macintosh OS, they recently have been receiving more malware traffic. Macs require signed software, making it difficult to get malware to run. But naive users make it's built in protections nearly useless like in the MacDefender malware exploit from 2011. The software required the user to accept the installation, under the guise of protection, but it turned out to be malware, launching pornographic websites while warning you that you have Malware installed and offering you to purchase the Full version of MacDefender to remove the fake virus for a large sum of money. (Source: C|net)

Recently a new threat has surfaced caused by a Java exploit, in which Apple took 6 weeks after Oracle (the current owner of Java) to patch (Source: Forbes), allowing more than 2 percent (Source: ComputerWorld) of scanned Macintosh systems to become compromised. Kapersky noted through an experiment that over 600,000 systems were connected to their experimental C&C (Command and Control) botnet server, over 98% are heuristically detected to have been Macintosh systems. (Source: SecureList)

So to say that Apple Computers do not get Viruses is a commonly perpetuated fallacy, pushed by Apple, and naive Mac users alike. The truth is that no computer system or operating system is truly secure, or free of viruses and malware.

All computers are at the same risks for viruses and spyware. (And Mac's can carry Windows viruses and can possibly infect Windows machines via Network, Hard Drive, or USB Jump Drive) So users need to be careful about what websites they visit and what they download off the internet because malware is everywhere and can really cause problems no matter what OS or computer manufacturer.

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Related Questions


macs dont get viruses macs dont get viruses


macs they dont ever get any viruses and they r faster than pcs


because they are cooler than pcs


It's not true that macs can't get viruses, but the chances are MANY, MANY times lower than pcs.


macs are faster esier to use dont get viruses dont crash have more memory and more power ful pcs are cheaper and their are a few more programs macs are much better but more expensive


AnswerMacs are not virus free. There are however way less viruses for Macs than for Intel/Microsoft PCs. There are just a handful of Mac viruses in circulation but tens of thousands are written for regular PCs. Macs are built on a very secure operating system, derived from a very secure Unix like system called BSD. This helps defeat viruses before they can do damage.There are also far less Macs around than Intel/Microsoft PCs so there is less incentive to expend a lot of effort writing a Mac virus.Also, Macs have no registry meaning there isn't such an obvious weak point.


Macs are WAY better. They are way less likely to get viruses and they are very easy to use.


Because very few viruses can be written in a way to infect both macs and pcs, and since there are many more pcs out there, that's usually what they write for.Answer Macs are just as able to get viruses as any other computer. Macs, however, have an operating system that is different than the Windows systems run by most other PCsAt present, Macintoshes represent only about 6% of the computers in use, worldwide.In the US, only about 10% of computers hooked up to the internet.Since most viruses are propagated thru the internet, any virus written to attack Macs has only a one in ten chance of finding another mac to infect.The result of that is that the MAC virus can not achieve the chain reaction effect that you see in PC viruses.As in real disease, a population of people or computers, must have a certain threshold percentage of vulnerable individuals for any virus to propagate wildly.


One reason that Macs aren't as vulnerable to viruses is because some of their anti-virus and security features are run on the Unix Kernel-one of the best and oldest out there. Another reason is that many more users are familiar with Windows rather than Macs. I, myself, am one of those people-well, almost. Therefore, creators of viruses most likely use the Windows platform and write them in Windows Code, which means that only Windows Computers can execute these viruses-but Windows Emulators, available for Macs and Apple computers, can execute it too. So you'd be better off running an antivirus program, because your Windows Emulator can spread the virus to your Mac.


Macs are so much better. there easier to use. fun. and you dont have to worry about viruses at all.


Apple products can get viruses. Way more people over the world use Windows and are more familiar with it than they are with an Apple product. That makes Windows the main target.


Only if you got the free version (web browser only) from minecraft.net the official web site of Minecraft.


Well if you didn't know the reason apple "macs" claim "we cant get viruses" BTW they can is: the majority of the population use PCs which run on a completely different operating system. Because that the majority run on PC that's were the viruses are targeted So.... What percent use macs about 40% personal use maby more in business


Yes! Some people say macs are over priced but the truth is there not. I have a refurbished mac and it only cost $500.00. They usually cost $1,000.00 but mine is used. Macs have less viruses than a PC and are also more easy to use.


Macs are better because they're organized unlike a PC. they're faster than a PC and they have a built in firewall also there are almost no viruses for macs. even though they're expensive its worth it if you want to download a game they won't let you because they only make it available for PC's. the game companies don't ask apple to let them be available for macs because they want to make PC's look better.


Some people think the Mac has better (or more) programs. Some people think the PC just copied the Mac. Some just like the look.Macs are far more user-friendly, with a better operating system (Mac OS X). At the end of 2008 the known viruses, to PCs, was to hit one million. While the amount of known viruses, to Macs, was less then a dozen. Macs are more expensive, but have a longer battery life. Your average PC costs less but has a shorter battery life. So if you spread the Macs cost over it's battery life you end up paying less for the Mac then the PC. Finally, Macs are compatible with Windows XP. So with the new program, Boot Camp, your Mac will allow you to run XP.


They are much easier to use, and don't get as many crashes or viruses as a windows. They also have a lot better programs for creative minds.


Yes apple Mac is the best it Has the fastest Internet also macs are known for lees viruses so I would prefere Mac


For PCs i don't suggest nortan anti viruse because it can block you from doing surtain things but if you are on the computer adminstrater you can turn it off. For MACs you don't need a firewall because MACs can't have viruses so far.


A apple computer is a fast and good looking computer they are safer then pcs with viruses, they have amazing internet, and they have great communication applications. A PC is a better gaming system, slower than macs, and is not as protective from viruses.


you can get cheep macs from macmall.com Or megamacs.com


Most people do not require additional virus protection for their Macs. Mac OS X is not invulnerable to viruses but it is much more secure than Windows. I have used Macs for a number of years without any issue, without additional virus protection.


A virus is any type of malicious software. There are countless viruses around, but if you use a legal version of your operating system and use up-to-date security software, you should be safe. Most viruses are designed for Windows, and so this is the worst affected OS. Unix based systems such as Macs tend to get few, if any, viruses.


Macs are made in China and assembled in the US (California).


Macs don't come with java but you can install java on it.



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