Can Macs Get Viruses?

As being a software developer and Mac user, I have been carrying out a lots of research lately on whether Mac computers (iMac, MacBook, or Mac Pro) could possibly get viruses, and that I thought I’d share even more of my research here.

The short response is that yes, based on your concept of a virus, one Mac could possibly get a “virus”, at the very least a starter virus. As being a simple example, that is amazing I give back an email by having an attachment, and also you choose to open that attachment. In the event that attachment is malicious, it may delete all of the files you have on your computer, as well as your photos, music, and then any other files you’ve got personally created. If that is your concept of a virus, that may certainly happen.

However, a lot of people define a virus as being a malicious program that is certainly smart enough to understand how you can transfer its self in one computer to a different to a different, wreaking whatever havoc it wants on the way. Using this more proper meaning of a virus, Mac OS computers have not had a virus to date.


Apple Has You Covered

Can Macs Get Viruses?

On Apple’s website they now show several large banners that say “We have you covered” when it is about Macs, viruses, and malware. There are actually at least two primary technical causes of their confidence regarding the deficiency of Mac viruses.

First, the Mac approach of setting up a separate “administrator” take into account doing dangerous things alert users malware approaches. For instance, while my script can delete the files you’ve personally created without asking for the administrator password, for me to delete all files with your Mac I would have to prompt you to enter the administrator password.

That isn’t something you are probably planning to give me effortlessly, and in lieu of this, my script would need to look for a hole in the Mac operating system that would easily grant me administrator access, and also to date that hole has not been there.

Second, as mentioned, obviously a virus is really a program that spreads from one computer to a different. Viruses jump from one computer to a different using open network “ports” on computers. Network ports are just like doors, and also as you realise, some doors are open, some doors may be easily opened, other doors are just like bank vaults, and still other doors are just like bank vaults but behind a fortress so large you do not even know they’re there.

This last approach is exactly what happens with Macs. Because all Mac ship having a “firewall” enabled, with no ports (doors) open, my malicious program can’t easily jump from one computer to another. As soon as again, even if a port is open, such as when Macs have been in corporate locations, nobody has yet been able to exploit a partially-open door.


Buffer Overflow Attacks

Hackers likewise try other a lot more technical ways to attack computers, typically “buffer overflow” attacks on systems (in which a hacker sends more data to some program compared to program is expecting), but without open ports on the Mac system, attacks such as these need to happen through browsers or even network Macs on the local area network (LAN).
If your Mac ever receives a virus, you’ll likely here much more about this “buffer overflow” term, but again, nobody has used successfully this method to date.


Mac Viruses – Summary

Overall, yes, it’s theoretically feasible for an iMac, Mac Pro, or MacBook to get a virus, but to date nobody has established a virus for Mac systems. Also, as mentioned, Apple has become more proactive of their approach by giving an earlier launch of their “Lion” operating system to security experts, and this is a really healthy approach for them.


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