Many Mac users are proud to claim that they have chosen this platform due to the absence of viruses on it. Is this really so? Windows users can only envy the lack of the need to install antivirus software.
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In fact, on the Internet, opinions on this issue are mixed. Some advanced users claim that it is necessary to protect all devices with Internet access in general from malware: not only computers, but also smartphones. Others look at life easier, claiming that the Mac platform itself is already well protected and does not need additional support in the form of antiviruses. Is it really?
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Are there any viruses for Mac?
Let’s get right to the main point – viruses for the Mac, of course, exist, and the protection of the macOS operating system is not so reliable. There are simply not so many malicious programs for Mac as for Windows, and it’s much more difficult to infect an apple computer. In addition, the developers of the operating system are working quickly to eliminate system vulnerabilities, and applications from the Mac App Store are carefully checked before release.
As a result, for a more or less experienced macOS user, the likelihood of system infection is minimal. You can’t infect the system with a virus by simply working in a browser or by opening an email with a dangerous attachment. The user will have to manually give the virus the right to work with system files or to his personal information. In this case, you will have to go through several dialog boxes and enter the administrator password. It is hard to believe that this can be done by chance without understanding what is happening.
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How viruses get on Mac
Viruses aimed at attacking macOS are created in such a way as to persuade the user to personally install unwanted software and also give him access to system files. For such purposes, spam, advertising on banners to redirect the user to fake sites, as well as pages with a fake anti-virus scanner, informing you that your Mac is infected, are most often used. The purpose of this step is to make a person believe that his computer is infected with a virus. The victim is offered to effectively solve his problem by installing a certain “antivirus”. In fact, it is he who is the “fight” virus. A trusting user installs the downloaded program and gives it all the necessary permissions. It seems logical that antivirus needs full rights to work efficiently. As a result, attackers gain full access to the system and user data.
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What viruses do for Mac
Mostly known viruses for Mac are designed to obtain personal information from the user. Malicious software steals information from the address book and its contacts, can find out stored passwords or bank card information.
There are utilities in nature that use system resources. As a result, the computer begins to spend its computing power to generate cryptocurrency or becomes a participant in a DDoS attack on some website.
At the same time, it will be difficult to find viruses that can completely disrupt the operation of macOS or paralyze a computer with all its data. There are some parts of the code that can do this, but there is no actual implementation that is dangerous to infect many Macs.
Dangerous viruses located inside spam, leading to the appearance on the screen of banners with advertising or threats to go to various sites, or organizing mailing to other users, work only on Windows. On macOS, implementing such a scenario will be very difficult.
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How macOS virus protection is implemented
Starting with Mac OS X Leopard, the Apple operating system has a built-in security mechanism called Gatekeeper. When you first start any new application on the Mac, the developer’s certificate is checked, and the program itself is checked against a list of known viruses. In addition, the operating system carries out a number of additional protective procedures.
This mechanism of operation allows you to block the most popular types of viruses and prevents programs with obvious security holes from starting up. But in the case of a verified developer’s certificate getting to the author of the virus, Gatekeeper will no longer be able to secure the system. Problems will arise if malicious software is inside an update of an application that has already passed a system check. The protection available on the Mac makes the chances of infecting your computer minimal, but one hundred percent protection is not guaranteed.
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Best antivirus software for Mac, or how to check macOS for viruses
To check your Mac for viruses, you can use the free versions of the most famous antivirus products (a review of free antiviruses for Mac). And suspicious data or files can be additionally checked online.
It’s worthwhile to understand that no sites or Internet resources can check the computer itself for viruses. Most often, under such a “sign” are hackers who offer the user to install a virus on their computer with their own hands.
And you must download and install antivirus programs exclusively from the official websites of specialized software developers. Here is a list of some of the most famous antivirus programs for Mac:
If you do not want to install unnecessary active programs on your Mac, then you can check suspicious files and archives downloaded from the Internet for use. Online file verification helps implement the well-known resource Virustotal. It contains almost the largest virus database for checking files and dangerous links. Dr.Web anti-virus has its own web version, and Kaspersky Lab suggests using a developed scanner for these purposes.
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Do I need to protect myself against viruses on a Mac?
Oddly enough, even antiviruses can be harmful. These programs lull the user’s vigilance and make them self-confident, allowing them to ignore the real problem. Antiviruses are more often justified when working with Windows than when working with macOS.
The creators of this operating system did everything possible to protect the computer from the effects of dangerous programs and reduce risks. The user only needs to follow simple safety rules in order to save his information:
1. Install macOS updates regularly. Most often, updates are designed to close security gaps in the system, which attackers seek to exploit.
2. To install games and programs, use only the Mac App Store or developer sites. The source can also be online services for digital distribution of programs, such as Steam.
3. Stop visiting suspicious sites or resources on the Internet.
4. Attachments in e-mails or in messages of messengers received from unfamiliar senders should not be opened.
5. If you really need to work with a file received via the Internet, then check it using online scanners.
These understandable recommendations can significantly improve computer security.