Whenever you’re embroiled in a debate about software, hardware, brands or any one of the myriad subjects of computers, there is one point that always seems to crop up.
“I don’t use Windows, I can’t get a virus.”
You might have heard this yourself from one of your friends who uses Linux of uses MacOSX. You might even have used the platforms yourself and it is indeed rare to hear of a machine running one of those pieces of software, encounter a virus.
But is it a virus? Do you need your laptop repaired? Or is it a false alarm and you simply need to restart your computer? Lets explore:
Pretty much all viruses and other malware is designed with Windows in mind. That’s because Windows enjoys a hefty market share, so there are a lot more computers you can infect with your software. As Windows has always retained a pretty straightforward system, before the revolutionary Windows 8, the structure hasn’t changed enough to discourage people who want to design malware from specifically targeting Windows.
In reality however, Macs have a host of security features that stop you from infecting yourself. For example, you will have to manually disable a security feature that stops you downloading suspect software, to download potential viruses. This is most common when downloading pirated material.
The main security feature of Macs is the App Store. Programs are apps just as much as apps are programs. The fact that Apple have added them all to their servers and verified them before letting them be downloaded from the app store ensures that no malicious software actually exists in the app store itself.
Macs also have a feature called Xprotect. This software application is present on macs to specifically monitor viruses and malware. It does this by having access to a constantly updated list of blacklisted software. If any of the software on the blacklist tries to be downloaded, then Xprotect will step in and stop it. A nifty feature.
Despite all these protective measures and the air of invulnerability, Macintosh computers can still get infected on a large scale. Up to 650,000 devices became infected by malware known as flashback. Proving that even if you do have a Mac, you aren’t invulnerable and could need a virus removing from your system.