Do Apple Macs get viruses?

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

Computer VirusAn Apple Macintosh computer can get a virus, so the short answer to the question is Yes. However, it is less likely for an Apple Macintosh computer to be infected by a virus when compared to a Microsoft Windows computer. However, as Apple Macintosh computers gain market share and are used by more people, virus infections are becoming more common than they used to be.

Below are some of the reasons why Apple Macintosh computers do not have as many viruses as Microsoft Windows computers previously and still are less likely to be infected by a virus today:

  1. Newer Macintosh operating systems, such as the macOS X, is built on the Unix kernel, which is one of the oldest and most secure operating systems available.
  2. Microsoft Windows is used by a lot more people than the Apple macOS. Because more people use Microsoft Windows, it is a much better target and makes it easier for viruses to spread.
  3. Most of the computer virus writers are more familiar with the IBM platform and Microsoft Windows, which means it's easier for them create a virus for that platform.
  4. Many of the tools, scripts, and code used to create viruses or other malware are designed for Microsoft Windows.

Note: If you are running a virtual PC on your Apple Macintosh or Windows in Bootcamp, because it is emulating Microsoft Windows, it can become infected with Windows viruses.

Software and plug-in threats

Although the Apple OS is more secure than many versions of Windows, additional software, plug-ins, and add-ons that connect to the Internet can introduce their own security vulnerabilities. The most common ways to attack a Mac computer is through a third-party browser and browser plugins like Adobe Reader, Flash, and Java. Today, most Mac users have these plugins installed and enabled on the computer, and, in doing so, compromise the overall security of the system.

Additional security threats

Although a Mac is less susceptible to viruses, Mac users can still be the victims of trojan horses, phishing scams, and other online fraud. If you are an Apple computer user, we still recommend keeping informed about how to keep safe while online. There is no such thing as a 100% safe computer, a Mac, Windows, and even Linux are all capable of being infected with a virus or other malware.

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