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Do Mac’s get Viruses?

Mark Dalton - Monday, January 16, 2017
This is a question we get asked a lot here at The Tech Lounge and it’s much easier to answer than you might think. Although we have to say it’s not a very good question, but we’ll come on to that shortly.

Yes Apple Macintosh computers can and do get Viruses. In fact it’s possible for them to be infected by all sorts of nasties including Malware, SpyWare, and AdWare.

Now lets look at why it’s not a very good question. 

Lets start by understanding what a computer virus is.

A “Computer Virus” can be defined as;

*a piece of code which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.*

The reason it’s not a very good questions is that it’s possible to write code that can cause havoc with any computer system. At it’s simplest we can write a bit of code that uses the delete command and deletes everything. 

However, just because something is possible doesn’t mean it will be done or it’s easy to do.

Most people asking this question usually mean “Are Mac’s more or less likely to be infected by Viruses etc than a Microsoft Windows PC?”

The answer to that is just a simple in our opinion. “Mac’s are much less likely to be infected by Viruses etc than a Microsoft Windows PC, but it’s not impossible.”

This is down to two main factors;
  1. Many more Microsoft Windows PC’s are out there making them a much more attractive target,
  2. The way Microsoft Windows is written makes it much easier to develop and spread viruses.
Now that said, more and more nasties are finding there way onto the Mac platform and as the Apple Macintosh user base expands it may become a much more attractive platform for those criminal masterminds who write such things, but the underlying architecture of Apple’s Operating System will make it a lot harder, but not impossible.

If you work with people who have Windows based PC’s we still advise running Anti-Virus software on your Apple Macintosh computers, as it’s still possible you could unintentionally send on a virus that doesn’t cause problems for you but might for the recipient. 

We run ESET Cyber Security Pro For Mac ourselves and are an authorised partner if you would like pricing options.
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