Can my Mac get a virus?

Historically, Macs – when compared to machines utilising Windows operating systems – have consistently been considered the better choice for those whose main concern was security.

Whilst it remains true that Macs are still generally more secure than their counterparts, though, their superior performance has led to the growth of an untrue and potentially dangerous myth: that Macs are immune to viruses of any kind.

The operating systems used by Macs – and, indeed, mobile devices using iOS such as iPads and iPhones – have flaws that can be utilised by hackers just like any other operating system. It just so happens that they contract computer viruses with less regularity than others.

The reasons for this are not entirely clear but we think the most logical explanation is one derived from simple statistics: there are far fewer Macs in use than Windows machines and they’ve also been, historically, harder to infect.

This, though, is starting to change. Windows is becoming more secure and Macs are becoming increasingly popular. As we’ve already stated previously, Macs’ operating systems also have flaws so as these devices become more popular and the security of competing devices improves, it’s only logical to conclude that the peace of mind Mac users have enjoyed for so long may soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, there are plenty of arguments that could be made against any such hypothesis. Unix-based operating systems can effectively localize infections and prevent them from spreading. Recent versions of macOS even prevent users from installing anything other than software that has been approved by Apple.  

Ultimately, though, the only accurate answer to any question concerning the security of Macs is one that addresses the fact that, whilst they are harder to hack and a less attractive target than Window’s machines, Macs are not immune to viruses.

If this is something that concerns any Mac owners, though, they can rest assured that there is a wide array of anti-virus software available for their devices. Additionally, the weakest point of any device is ultimately the end-user so by remaining vigilante; not opening emails or clicking on links from sources you don’t know, and refraining from installing software when you don’t trust a website 100% will go a long, long way towards keeping your Mac healthy and virus-free.

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