Apples / Macs now get viruses – Why?

When someone thinks about a computer that is immune to virus attacks their first thought is a Mac. Why is it that Macs always seemed to be immune to computer viruses? Well, there are a number of reasons why Macs were immune to viruses and malware. Before we begin, let’s debunk the myth that Macs simply do not get viruses. It’s just not true anymore. There are a number of viruses and malware that now target the Apple operating system. So why is it that Macs are now getting computer viruses?

Up until recently, the main computer operating system in use was Windows. Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, etc…etc… Windows was the standard by which all commercial software functioned. If a company was looking to produce software and make a nice profit, it had to run on Windows. The same reasoning why a software company would produce software to run on Windows was identical to that of a hacker.

Computer viruses are made to target a specific operating system. A virus designed to attack a Windows machine will not be able to attack a Mac. When a hacker creates a computer virus, their main intent is to infect as many computers as possible in the shortest amount of time. Back when Microsoft reigned king of the operating systems and to some extent they still do, it simply did not make sense to write a virus for an Apple computer. A hacker could do more damage in a short amount of time if he wrote a virus for Windows. Their hope was to find those individuals that failed to renew or update their antivirus software. Once an antivirus software company knows of a specific virus, they create a virus definition which acts to prevent an attack. Without that definition, a computer is vulnerable to the attack.

Now that Apple computers and products have gained popularity, hackers now have a reason to create viruses specific to Mac computers and devices. Depending on which survey you read, Mac use now accounts for 10-20% of the total computer use. So for every 10 computer users you can bet that 1-2 of them will be using a Mac. It’s true; Mac has definitely increased in popularity over the last few years. Unfortunately, that popularity now creates numerous security issues.

While the Mac operating system is built upon the Unix platform, one of the most secure software platforms available, there are still and always will be vulnerabilities. When presented with the opportunity, hackers will always choose to exploit those software holes. That is why it is now essential that Mac users install some type of security software to protect themselves while using their computer.

Like Murphy’s law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. If you choose to not use security software on your Mac, you will get infected. Ask around and you are sure to find someone that got a virus on their Mac or worse, their identity was stolen. Numerous companies now offer protection for the Mac operating system.

Norton and McAfee offer virus protection for Apple computers but if you have read my article on antivirus software, you know I am not a fan of their products. If you are strapped for cash but desire to have a degree of protection, Sophos now offers Mac antivirus software free of charge. The best part is they will not bug you to upgrade to a paid version like other companies. (Download link is available on the recommended software page.) Avast! has not come out with a free version of their Mac antivirus yet, but when they do you will hear angels singing in the skies. Rumor has it the release is soon. Until then, they only offer a paid Mac edition software which is excellent if you do a lot of online banking and bill paying. Another option to consider is Kaspersky’s Antivirus for Mac as they also had and still have an excellent history with their security software.

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Tags: apple,mac,computer,virus,malware,security,software,antivirus,hacker,operating,system

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