Do Macs Get Viruses?

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Over the past decade, one of the reasons to buy an Apple computer over a Windows computer was the idea that Macs don’t get viruses. In fact, for many years, Apple claimed on its website that Macs weren’t susceptible to viruses like PCs were and that computers running Mac OS X “don’t get PC viruses.” While the validity of that statement was always questionable, Apple just as recently as June 2012 updated its website to say “It helps keep you safe.”

This change may be due to the April outbreak of the Flashback trojan, which infected over a half million Macs. Additionally, a study by Sophos found that 2.6% of Macs were infected by Mac OS X malware, and a full 20% of Macs were harboring Windows malware.

Because of Apple’s smaller market share, virus creators have tended to invest their time into more leveraged platforms (read: Windows). Like spammers and some hackers, many virus creators are motivated by the money they can make by taking control of large numbers of computers. That gives Windows viruses the unfortunate advantage of higher potential profit.

This all may come as a bit of a shock to long-time Mac users who have gotten used to the idea of not worrying about antivirus software. However, with the exponential growth of Apple market share over the past few years (now 7.5% compared to Windows’ 69%), we’ll no doubt see more reports of Mac-targeted malware.

With the advent of Mac viruses, Apple users should use the same precautions as Windows users when it comes to virus and malware protection. While the current anti-virus market for Apple is limited, there are a few good solutions available. One such solution is Avast! Free Antivirus for Mac.

If you find your company battling with trojans, viruses or other malware, you may need more than an automated software solution. Minneapolis-based OAC Technology has been assisting business with Virus Removal and Protection for over 10 years and is well-versed in detecting and eliminating threats. If you need help removing a virus from your computer or network, contact us today.

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