There are constant updates and system changes that macOS implements in order to improve the security of your device and help you protect it from any kinds of malware. However, as great as that is, it’s not enough to fully protect your computer and the users are always vulnerable to viruses. So the short answer to the question – can Macs get viruses – is yes, unfortunately. Not only can they get them, it’s much more common than you may think. Here’s everything you need to know.
What exactly are viruses?
A virus is a type of malware, or malicious software, that has been designed to infect a device, spread across it and cause damage to it in a way that benefits the hacker. While different types of malware work in different ways, viruses specifically spread by replicating its own code and inserting it into the existing computer programs – similarly to biological viruses that make you ill.
There are dozens of different viruses out there and, sadly, new ones keep on getting invented. Not only that, they are always improving and getting more sophisticated, able to infect your device in the most sneaky ways. This is typically done to either steal your data for financial benefits or simply to disrupt it in a malicious way.
How do computers catch viruses?
Computer viruses spread in a variety of ways and those can be incredibly sneaky and difficult to prevent. This includes spreading through unprotected networks, infected email attachments or URL links, USB sticks and disks as well as other external storage devices. Many people also catch viruses by downloading programs or films online from unsafe sources and installing software that has been infected. Generally, however, it could be as simple as clicking on the wrong thing online.
How do I know if my Mac is infected?
It can be quite difficult to know whether your Mac has been infected with a virus – some people have them for weeks without realizing it. However, if you are a regular laptop user, you should be able to spot even the most subtle “symptoms” on your device.
The key things to look out for are a sudden slow-down of your device, unknown programs that you never installed starting up automatically as you turn on your laptop, changes to your homepage, lots of pop-ups and spam messages, quite often inappropriate ones too, and other unusual activity that you never noticed before.
What can I do to prevent viruses?
While there is no way to guarantee that your Mac is safe at all times, there are a few different things you can do to protect your laptop. First and foremost, you should have good anti-virus software installed and running on your device at all times. These programs are designed to regularly scan your Mac, find any suspicious activity and deal with it before it gets the chance to cause any damage.
Otherwise, all you can do is simply be cautious of malware while using your device. Don’t click on suspicious links or email attachments, be mindful of using public WiFi from unprotected sources, use a VPN when browsing, don’t plug any unknown external devices into your Mac, and so on. It may not fully protect your laptop, but common sense certainly goes a long way when it comes to computer viruses.