Do Macs get viruses?

About 25% of our business involves IT–server administration, help desk stuff, malware removal, etc.  I field dozens of computer questions every week. One that I’m getting a lot lately is, “I’m thinking about getting a Mac. What do you think about them?” That is almost always followed by, “I’ve heard that you don’t need to worry about viruses on a Mac. Are they really that much safer?”

In an article called, “Why Malware for Macs is on its way,” Ed Bott makes the same arguments I’ve been making for years: Macs are less likely to become infected not due to superior technology, but because of economic reasons. If you are going to produce a virus or some other form of malware, you want to impact the maximum possible number of machines. Since Windows  has way more market share, Windows is a much larger target.

Quoted in the article:

But most security experts agree that malicious software these days is driven by financial incentives, and it’s far more profitable to target the dominant platform. […] At some point, assuming Apple continues to make appealing products, we Mac users will become bigger targets and face a higher level of risk.

More malware is likely on the way for Apple, but for now at least, your risk of infection with a Mac is pretty low. Then again, the premium you pay for Mac hardware could pay for quite a few copies of Norton Anitvirus.

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