A rotten apple

Myth Busted: Macs Don’t Get Viruses—Yet Report Shows Drastic Virus Growth

There’s a common misconception that, if you’re using a Macintosh, your computer can’t get viruses. This myth has been spread far and wide through mass disinformation, but it first started through an old advertising campaign. At one point, because apple machines only made up around 10% of the personal computer market, most virus creators wouldn’t target Mac OS. This is no longer the case, however, and if your mac is acting up these days it may be time to get help.

A Rise in Popularity, a Rise in Vulnerability

A new study was just released by Carbon Black and Bit9 showing that this year saw 5 times the malware of the last 5 years combined. This could be bad news for any homes, offices, or public spaces that use OS X (Macintosh operating system) and don’t have protection software. The percentage of Mac users has risen from 10% to 16.4% over the past several years, providing incentive and an opportunity to Apple users. The incentive is an increased target base, and the opportunity is the fact that said base has believed they don’t need to browse or download with caution and don’t need to use preventive software.

This report was not a small scale analysis either; it looks at information gathered from all over the world, using over 1,400 instances of infected machines. In addition, a different study found almost 600k instances of Trojan virus attacks. Those two pieces of evidence should be more than enough reason to take action today.

Prevention over Treatment

As with real life medicine and preventing real life viruses, prevention is better than trying to cure an infection. Take precautions like not pirating media or programs, using anti-virus software, and downloading add-ons like NoScript and AdBlock to make websites safer to browse. AdBlock stops any ads from appearing without exception, including ads from sites you like to visit that rely on ad money for revenue. So if you do follow our recommendation, be sure to whitelist any websites that you like to make sure they continue to get the support they need to make the content you enjoy! NoScript is an add-on that stops Javascript from running unless you approve the source. That means that some web features may not always work without you disabling the script blocker. As for anti-virus, we at tekRESCUE highly recommend Avira, AVG and Avast, which all have free options.

If Your Mac is Infected

If you already believe you have a virus or malware, you can either seek professional help, or start with some anti-malware programs to run. MalwareBytes is a program that’s good for scanning a computer and telling you if an infection may exist, and Hijack This and Super-Anti Spyware are also helpful for this purpose. Keep in mind, however, that virus scanners don’t always find everything, so a “no malware found” message doesn’t always mean your machine is in the clear. This is where the added expertise of professionals comes in handy.

We hope this has convinced you to take the necessary steps to ensure computer safety and be more careful even when using an Apple computer. Remember, an infection on your computer can steal passwords, bank information, identity and more. You should deal with any potential infections as quickly as possible. The myth of virus-free Macs has been pervasive, but with the proper steps we can actually make it true.

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