Do Macs Get Viruses: A Breakdown

You feel bad for all your friends with Windows computers. They have to pay tons of money out of pocket for virus software. There’s no need for you to do that because you have a Mac.

Mac virus

At least, you thought that until you start getting strange pop-ups and your computer begins running so slow that you can barely use it. Do Macs get viruses? The answer is yes.

Even though Macs don’t get them quite as often as Windows computers, the possibility is still there. So, you do need to invest in virus protection. Check out this guide to learn more about malware on the Mac.

Can Macs Get Infected with Viruses?

Even though Macs don’t get infected with viruses as often as Windows computers, it can still happen. Apple does have a lot of features in place to protect you from malicious software. The first being that Mac computers make it a little difficult to download viruses.

Before you open a file, your computer checks it for Malware. It doesn’t end there. You won’t be able to open the file at all if your computer doesn’t recognize the developer.

The Mac has a malware scanning tool that works and updates in the background. You’ll never see it but it is there. If you try to download a file that’s contaminated with viruses that the tool recognizes, it will give you an obvious warning.

Even with all these protections in place, malware can still find its way through. That’s why you need to download antivirus for Mac as an extra layer of precaution.

Computer virus types

Types of Viruses

There are a variety of viruses that you have to be on the lookout for. These are all malware programs that have made it into Mac computers in the past and still crop up every now and again.

1. Software and Plug-ins

Mac computers are pretty thorough when it comes to checking software but sometimes plug-ins and software that connect to the web can be a problem. Most of the time this happens via browser plug-ins like Flash or Java.

There are a lot of Mac users that have these programs installed and working in the background, not knowing that they pose any kind of threat to them.

2. Adware

Adware can be both annoying and dangerous. Nobody likes being bombarded with pop-ups while they’re trying to get a little work done. The dangerous kind of adware can record anything you do while you’re surfing the web.

If you get fed up and click on any of these pop-ups they may take you to a malicious website. The website will then steal your data and use it to commit identity theft and other questionable activities.

Then there’s the adware that doesn’t do these things and are simply annoying. It can be hard to tell which one you’re dealing with so it’s best to assume that it’s all bad.

3. Trojan Horses

Trojan horses are a common issue that pops up on both PC and Mac. It’s a malicious virus that hides inside another program. When you download the said program, it infects your entire computer.

There was a pretty nasty one that became common on Macs back in 2017. It hid in a fake Flash update. Most people trust the brand name and let the program update without a second thought.

That’s when the virus attacked. It would find its way into the user’s keychain data and attempt to steal passwords, credit card numbers, you name it.

4. Macro Viruses

For the longest time, macro viruses only affected PCs but over time they began to get into Mac computers as well. If you open up a file that is infected with a macro, it runs a specific code.

This code can access your webcams, take screenshots, move files around your computer, create new files, send files, move text, corrupt files, and if left unchecked, format your entire hard drive.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware was another one that was pretty exclusive to PC for a while but now has become one of the better-known Mac viruses as well. As the name implies, the virus locks your computer or certain files. When you try to unlock your computer or open the infected files, you’ll be faced with a decision.

Pay a price to get access to your things or do without it. If you decide to go with the second decision there’s a good chance you’ll never see your data again.

Virus-infected computer

Signs Your Computer is Infected

The key to protecting Mac from viruses is catching it early. If your computer begins showing any of the following signs, you’ll need to run a virus scan ASAP.

1. Ads and Pop-Ups

If you’ve been getting a bunch of banner ads lately or pop-ups reminding you to update your Mac, you may have a case of adware on your hands. Again, it’s one of the more annoying viruses out there. Run a virus scan and resist clicking on anything to get the ads to go away.

2. Your Mac is Running Slow

If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably seen the spinning color wheel of death one or two times. It usually pops up when your computer is being bogged down by something that’s making it work overtime.

If you’ve been seeing the little color wheel more often than not, there’s a chance that there’s a malicious program that’s slowing your computer down.

3. Your Browser is Acting Strange

Is your default browser different than the one you were using the previous day? Is it crashing when you try to look things up? Does it respond at all?

You can run a Mac virus protection program to be sure but if you’re experiencing any of the above scenarios, it’s likely that you have a virus.

Protecting your Mac

Do Macs Get Viruses? Absolutely

Do Macs get viruses? Of course, they do! While Macs don’t get viruses as often as windows computers do, they’re still vulnerable to them.

Any device that connects to the internet is. Be sure that you always have some kind of virus protection program running. Even if you never have to perform a scan, it’s better to have the extra layer of protection than not.

The last thing you want is to lose your business computer to some kind of virus or malicious program. Check out our blog daily for more articles like this one.


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