View Full Version : Mac Q's
I just switched from a PC to a Mac about two weeks ago and have a few questions.
Can a Mac get spyware, malware and virii on it?
Technically is can but percentage-wise Macs are so few in the WWW that they aren't really targeted.The constuction of the Mac OS makes it difficult to hide/mask such things too.You still need security for your privacy.A firewall is a good thing to use.There are websites and books about Mac security.You might want to scan files you send or forward in e-mail for virii but they shouldn't be a threat to your Mac.
Indeed, this is almost a non-issue for Macs. Ever run Software Update or install a new piece of software? Notice you had to enter a password to do this? It is very difficult for something to get installed on your Mac without you knowing about it.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't take sensible precautions, like using a firewall or a router with a firewall between your computer and the internet.
Also, make sure the Mac firewall is turned on (System Preferences>Sharing).
I do love my Macs!
Any computer CAN get virii, malware, spyware, and it's wise to take precautions.
That said, there are currently zero known viruses for Mac OS X, and none of what Windows folks would think of as malware/spyware. There is one known Trojan Horse, which can compromise your system if you give your password to install it, and also confirm the 'first time launch' dialog.
Compared to the 84,000 variations of Spyware/malware that Spysweeper for Windows XP scans for, and tens of thousands of viruses, the chances of getting any of the above on a Mac are essentially zero.
I don't run a virus checker on my Macs, I don't think a dedicated anti-spyware program exists (no market for it), and I don't worry about it much. I do worry about direct UNIX hacking, since no-computer is invulnerable to a smart and dedicated attack, but other than a firewall, I just don't sweat infections.
By contrast, on my XPsp2 PC's (also behind the firewall), I run McAfee, which self-updates daily, checks every opened file, e-mail and attachment, and sweep weekly, and then sweep weekly with Spybot, AdAware, and Spysweeper, and those still get nasties all the time - I rarely find nothing in my sweeps.
I used to use IE on my OSX Powerbook just to browse malware-laden sites. Sometimes things would successfully download themselves to my desktop, where they would passively sit until I threw them out, unable to implement themselves.
No. Don't worry about your Mac. It's possible but anything's possible. In practice, it doesn't happen.
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