Can a Mac Get a Virus? How to Protect Your Mac from Viruses, Trojans and Malware
Many people ask, ‘Can a Mac get a virus?’ You can definitely get a virus on a Mac. But at present the possibility or probability of getting a virus when using a Mac is very slim.
Just the way that unix file structures are setup makes it difficult for a virus to install without any user intervention, but saying this the user has to be vigilant with regards to what they download and install from websites. For effective mac virus removal or even better virus protection, you could purchase one of the advertised anti virus removal programs. Before doing this make sure to read up on the reviews from known mac experts on some of the Mac blogs and forums as some of these programs are pretty useless at doing what they are supposed to do.
How to protect your Mac from viruses
To be on the safe side install ClamXav (this is a free anti virus download) it works well and is easy to setup. Once installed set it to scan the downloads folder for viruses and another good thing to do is to empty the downloads folder on a regular basis, so that you know what has recently been downloaded and will make it easier to identify what may be causing your problems if any.
The biggest threat to mac users are Trojans this type of malware will attach itself to the back end of some legitimate software in order to be installed. Adware is the biggest threat to most Mac users and this will be noticed when using your browser, as you will see pop up ads and things that are not related to what you are searching for appear in your browser. The Mac will not automatically protect you from Adware, most adware will piggyback in from sites like Softonic or Download.Com as add ons to legitimate software that you are downloading. To be on the safe side read the agreement that pops up before you click accept as these sites do tell or ask before installing any Adware / third party software.
Does OSX have built-in security features?
OSX has its own security features built into the operating system, any program that allows you to download eg (Safari & Mail) has a file quarantine feature that will warn the user that the downloaded file or attachment is suspicious.
In OS X 10.6 & 10.7 xprotect was introduced and what this does is it will scan your downloads for any known malware, the malware definition updates are pushed to the user in software updates.
The last security feature is Gatekeeper which was introduced with 10.8, what this does is that it only allows Apps that have been digitally signed to be opened. This feature can be disabled but is not advisable. Third party software that do have known vulnerabilities are Java and Adobe Flash Player so it is advisable to keep these up to date, but only download from the official websites or even better disable them if possible. How to avoid these infections is to only download from reputable websites, Avoid torrent sites as most malware infections come from peer to peer file sharing sites and do not open emails from unknown sources.
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