mac-virusI get this question a lot, so let’s put it to bed. Last week the Russian antivirus vendor Dr. Web reported the spread of a new virus that exclusively targets Apple computers running Mac OS X. According to a survey of traffic conducted by researchers at Dr. Web, over 17,000 Macs worldwide are part of the Mac.BackDoor.iWorm botnet and it’s still spreading.

So if you are a MAC user, the short answer to the question is YES, you absolutely need anti-virus and anti-malware software.

That being said, the likelihood of an Apple Macintosh user getting a virus when compared to a Microsoft Windows user is very little. Some of the main reasons are:

  • Newer Macintosh operating systems, such as the Mac OS X, are built on the Unix kernel, which is one of the oldest and most secure operating systems available.
  • Microsoft Windows is used by a lot more people than the Apple Mac OS. Because more people use Microsoft Windows, it is a much better target and makes it easier for viruses to spread.
  • Most of the computer virus writers are more familiar with the IBM platform and Microsoft Windows, which means its easier for them create a virus for that platform.
  • Many of the tools, scripts, and code used to create viruses or other malware are designed for Microsoft Windows.

Finally, although a Macintosh computer is less susceptible to viruses, remember that it’s operated by a human. So you can be a victim of Trojan horses, phishing, and other online fraud. If you are an Apple computer user, I still recommend keeping informed about how to keep safe while online. There is no such thing as a 100% safe computer, a Mac, Windows, and even Linux are all capable of being infected with a virus or other malware.