Can Macs Get Viruses? Learn 7 Best Ways To Avoid Malware

Installing good antivirus protection is the greatest approach to protect yourself against risks. Avast Security for Mac is developed to protect your Mac from malicious hackers.

Can Apple Macs Get Viruses? Do You Need Antivirus For Mac?

You’ll be safe online no matter what you’re doing or where you connect with added security. Prevent phishing attempts, PUPs, and unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

How Vulnerable Are Macs To Viruses?

Mac virus is a threat to your computer. You may believe that Macs do not require antivirus protection, but this is not always the case. Apple goes to great efforts to prevent you from downloading malware in the first place by making it very impossible to do so.

XProtect, Apple’s anti-virus security, is incorporated into macOS and scans every app for malware. Apple also has Gatekeeper, a macOS feature that verifies that a certified developer created any app you want to access or install.

Your Mac will scan it against a list of known malware, and even if there’s nothing to worry about, it won’t let you open an app from a developer it hasn’t approved.

How Can Macs Get Viruses?

Viruses can infect Apple computers, in the same manner, they can Windows computers. A computer virus is a fragment of software that, without your consent, affects your computer by corrupting files and deleting data.

A virus can copy itself across files, computers, and data channels without your permission. The following are a selection of the most popular channels:

  • Scareware. One of the most common ways for malware to spread is through fake virus infection alerts. Scareware, or scary pop-up advertising, is used by hackers and scammers to notify users that a bogus infection has been found on their computer.

According to the advertisements, their antivirus software will restore the damage. Instead of removing the virus, this new software infects the machine with malware, resulting in disastrous consequences.

  • Outdated Software. Patches are security upgrades that developers deploy to correct security flaws in their software. You’re potentially positioning yourself at risk if you don’t apply a patch.

Hackers can use these flaws to access your computer and install malware. Pop-ups from popular programs such as Adobe Reader, Java, and Flash Player can be used to spread malicious code.

  • Messaging Applications: Instant chat software such as Skype, Facebook Messenger, and others frequently distribute computer infections. It is accomplished by sending infected links over chat windows.
  • P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing. Dropbox and SharePoint, for example, are peer-to-peer file-sharing software that can be used to corrupt a large number of files. These services sync information to any machine associated with an account.

When someone uploads an infected file, it gains immediate access to all machines in the network.

  • Virus-infected emails. Computer viruses can be spread via email via downloadable attachments that are frequently disguised as innocuous files and inside the HTML of the email.

Symptoms Of Mac Getting Infected

When your Mac is infected with a virus or other malware, several things can go wrong. While it can be difficult to specify the exact type of malware on your own, the following are some of the more frequent symptoms:

Attack. An avalanche of advertising and pop-ups, especially on sites that aren’t generally seen, is a recipe for disaster. Even when you’re not online, adware places advertisements all over the place.

Slower performance. To replicate, most malware uses your computer’s resources. A substantial slowdown in your system’s speed, or slowness in specific apps, is generally an indication of infection.

Unauthorized programs, files, or browser toolbars. Unauthorized apps, files, or browser toolbars, as well as abruptly changed settings like a new homepage, are red flags.

Unusual Behaviour. You’re being led to spammy websites, which is unusual behavior. If your Mac keeps crashing or freezing, it could be due to a virus or other malware.

Unauthorized Downloads. Malware will download and install things on your device without your permission, causing your storage space to vanish. Not only will these harmful programs appear on your smartphone, but the amount of space available for trusted programs or apps will be reduced.

What Types Of Mac Malware Are There?

What Types Of Mac Malware Are There?

1. Spyware

Hackers deploy malicious spying software called spyware to obtain access to browsing activity, banking details, or other sensitive personal information. The information acquired can subsequently be sold to third parties or used for identity fraud.

2. Adware

Adware is one of the most frequent types of malware that infects Macs. It is both annoying and harmful. Adware bombards its victims with intrusive advertisements and pop-ups.

In addition to following you and slowing down your device’s performance, Adware may also detect security holes. It facilitates the entry of various types of malware.

3. Ransomware

As the name implies, Ransomware may encrypt your files, hard drives, and even entire devices. Most malware will encrypt your files and prevent you from accessing them. Hackers and cybercriminals frequently employ ransomware to encrypt important files and demand a “ransom,” or payment, in exchange for their release.

4. Scamware

Scamware, like Trojans, masquerades as a legitimate program. Its purpose is to deceive you into disclosing personal information and money.

Scamware, for example, may impersonate an antivirus program. It will display a bogus virus warning on your Mac to get you to pay for a remedy.

Scamware, on the other hand, may try to persuade you to download another, even more dangerous program.

5. Trojans

A Trojan horse is a category of malware that, like its Greek eponym, infiltrates your device by posing as something it isn’t. Meanwhile, it steals your data or uploads further malware onto the infected device in the background. Trojans for Mac frequently download additional malware to your systems, such as adware or rootkits.

6. CryptoMiners

Cryptominers (also known as cryptojackers) are malicious programs that utilize your Mac’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies for the attacker. Some crypto miners will put through your browser’s cookies in an attempt to steal the contents of your crypto wallets, assuming you have any.

7.  PUPs

Unwanted Programs are frequently packaged with other software that you download. From browser toolbars that track your browsing history and display advertisements.

You nearly never want a PUP because it can take over your device’s processing power.

8. Phishing

Phishing is a class of social engineering that is not malware. It deceives you into disclosing critical personal information. Cybercriminals imitate a brand or a close connection.

It can be utilized to execute identity theft or to steal money.

9. Rootkits

Rootkits bury themselves deep within a device, gaining root access. Rootkits have been conceivable on macOS, though they aren’t the most frequent type of Mac malware.

10. Viruses

Hackers deploy malicious spying software called spyware to acquire access to browsing activity or other sensitive personal information. The information obtained can subsequently be sold to third parties or used for identity fraud.

How Apple Protects Macs From Viruses?

Macs are generally safer than PCs, but the threat to the Mac is growing as the platform’s popularity grows. Apple had to incorporate security features into macOS and the Mac hardware itself.

How Apple Protects Macs From Viruses?

1. Gatekeeper

macOS blocks downloaded applications that haven’t been digitally authenticated. When you try to install unsigned software, you’ll get the usual error message: “[this program] can’t be launched since it is from an unknown developer.

GateKeeper helps keep you safe by only allowing you to install apps from the Mac App Store. You can configure it to allow you to download software from the internet, but only from trusted developers.

Software is now examined for malware and other vulnerabilities every time it runs, thanks to a change in Gatekeeper introduced in macOS Catalina. These options can be changed in the System Preferences Security & Privacy section.

  • Select the General tab in Security & Privacy.
  • Select an option from the Allow Applications Downloaded From drop-down menu.
  • App Store or App Store and Identified Developers are the options.
  • App Store only is the safest alternative. The best strategy is to install legal software from the internet, followed by the App Store and Identified Developers.

All software downloaded from the Program Store is signed. If you try to open an unsigned app, you obtained it from the web. You’ll see a Gatekeeper warning.

It could indicate that you are on the verge of installing malware. Of again, it could be a legitimate app, in which case you can install it despite Gatekeeper’s security.

  • Go to the Finder and search for the app.
  • When you click on the app to open it, hold down Ctrl.
  • It allows you to bypass Gatekeeper’s security measures entirely. When fraudulent apps are installed, they advise users to do exactly that.

2. XProtect

XProtect operates quietly and automatically in the background, requiring no user setting. When you open downloaded applications, Apple verifies them against a list of harmful apps.

Apple updates XProtect regularly, and it updates in the background, so you should always be protected. It’s the equivalent of running antivirus software from a third-party developer on your Mac.

Because it is assembled into the operating system, it does not affect the speed of your Mac.

You download and attempt to open malware-infected files. An explicit warning that the files will “destroy your machine,” as well as a reference to the sort of malware may appear. If this is the topic, you should delete the file right away.

Some solutions, such as XProtect, may not be as up-to-date as others. It does not scan for as many malware strains as third-party solutions do.

3. Sandboxing

Apps approved by Apple are likewise Sandboxed, which means they only do what they’re supposed to do. App sandboxing separates programs from your Mac’s crucial system components.

They shouldn’t be capable to access your data or other programs; thus, they shouldn’t be able to do any harm. It doesn’t completely protect you from malware, but it helps reduce the damage it can cause.

The fundamental issue is that while Mac App Store programs must be sandboxed, other Mac apps are not.

There are built-in protections in macOS that should keep programs from eavesdropping on your data. Since macOS 10.15 Catalina, all Mac apps have required your permission before accessing your files.

Before an app may use the camera or microphone or log what you type, macOS will ask for your permission.

The fact that macOS is now stored on its disc drive is another change with Catalina. It means that all of your crucial system files are separated and hence more difficult to access.

It means that no apps will be able to access your system files and cause problems.

4. iCloud+ Protections

Private Relay is a new feature in Monterey for iCloud subscribers. It works similarly to a VPN in that it encrypts your network data and sends your DNS lookup queries through two servers, one of which is not under Apple’s control.

It isn’t a VPN because it works in Safari and has no typical VPN features.

System Preferences, Apple ID, and Options beside Hiding my email are where you can adjust your Private Relay settings.

  • You’ll be able to see any false email addresses you’re using here.
  • If you want to stop receiving emails, simply click Turn Off.
  • You can also alter the address to which they are routed.

5. Safari Protection

Safari includes anti-phishing technology that detects bogus websites. If you visit a dubious website, it will block the page and alert you.

Safari protects you when online in more ways than just anti-phishing. Apple also gives consumers the option of opting out of advertisements following them throughout the internet.

You can view a Privacy Report that includes information on all cross-site trackers Apple has disabled. Plug-ins like Silverlight, QuickTime, and Oracle Java won’t run if they aren’t updated to the current version, which is another way to keep your Mac safe.

When you open an account on a website, Safari will flag insufficient passwords and propose strong passwords. You won’t have to remember this strong password because it will be saved in your iCloud Keychain.

It’s a lot more secure than using the same password every time. If you try to use a weak password, you’ll get a warning and a prompt to change it to something more secure.

The Intelligent Tracing Prevention introduced in Safari 14 is included in Safari 15. Web trackers will no longer be able to see your IP address, making it impossible for them to develop a profile of you.

  • Select Safari from the Safari menu, then Preferences to see if this is the case.
  • To hide your IP address from trackers, go to Privacy and then Hide IP address from trackers.

How To Prevent Viruses on a Mac?

Once the malware has been found on a Mac computer, it is certainly possible to remove it. I propose that you first safeguard your Mac from viruses and other unwelcome visitors by taking the necessary steps.

How To Prevent Viruses on a Mac?

1. Install Antivirus Software That You Can Trust.

With more viruses created than ever before, Mac antivirus software should not be overlooked. Protect your Mac from potential hackers and bugs by installing reputable antivirus software.

2. Keep macOS up-to-date

Apple tackles faults and vulnerabilities in the Mac operating system by delivering updates, so it’s critical to keep your Mac up to date. Regularly checking for OS updates, in my opinion, is an essential element of any solid security approach.

You can set your Mac to update automatically whenever a new version of the operating system is released.

How Do I Set Up Automatic Updates For Mac Os X?

  • Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  • Select Software Update from the menu bar.
  • Tick the box next to it. Keep my Mac up to date automatically.
  • Click Advanced to see a list of options that will be presented to you automatically.
  • Check for updates, download new updates as soon as they become available, install macOS updates, and update apps from the App Store.

How Do I Install High Sierra Or Previous Software Updates Automatically?

  • Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  • Go to the App Store and select it.
  • Tick the box next to it. Check for updates regularly.
  • You have the option of downloading the most recent updates.

How Do I Install Macos Software Upgrades Manually?

If you don’t want your Mac to update automatically, you should check if your version has been updated regularly.

  • You may check for updates in the Mac App Store with macOS High Sierra and earlier.
  • Go to the Software Update window in The macOS Mojave and newer system preferences.
  • Once the update has finished downloading, you may need to restart your computer.

3. Connect To Public Wi-Fi Networks Only If Necessary.

When using a public Wi-Fi network, be cautious. Someone could be eavesdropping on you and gaining access to your passwords and other personal information.

Snoopers can impersonate your hotel or coffee shop and set up their Wi-Fi hotspot. They can capture whatever data you send over it once you’ve linked.

In the past, bugs in the OS have been discovered that might allow unauthorized access to your Mac. For example, a hacker may access your machine if you were using public WiFi due to an SSL mistake in an earlier version of Mac OS X.

4. Follow Security Principles That Are Best-In-Class.

You’ve done your homework and installed a trustworthy antivirus on your Mac. No antivirus software is entirely error-free.

To maintain your Apple Mac in top shape, browse wisely and adhere to best-practice security rules. You should carry the same safeguards to keep your phone safe from malware.

5. Don’t Use Flash Player

Flash Fake should not be installed. People have frequently used Flash Player updates to install malware. People may, for example, desire to watch or download a popular movie or TV series for free, and they come across a search result that prompts them to update Flash Player to do so.

Now that HTML5 has rendered Flash outdated, it is unnecessary to install it. The recommendation is straightforward now that Flash is no longer supported, don’t use it.

6. On Your Mac, Make Sure Java Is Up To Date.

If you must use Java, ensure sure it is current. Java flaws have brought to light the fact that there are cross-platform hazards that Mac users should be aware of.

Apple by default bans Java, leaving it up to the user to determine whether or not to install the tools. If you need to update them, be very cautious about where you get them.

7. Phishing Emails Should Be Avoided At All Costs.

Avoid phishing attacks by refusing to react to emails that ask you to enter a password or install the software. You could also install free applications like BlockBlock or XFence.

Even if you followed the steps to begin the malware, it would be unable to write files or indicate itself as running on startup as a result.


Viruses and other malicious programs can have a wide range of unwanted effects. Infections can range from bothersome to destroying your machine. Many people wrongly believe that Macs are immune to viruses, but they are not.


How Do You Check A Mac For Virus?

Go to the Applications folder in Finder. Delete any programs you don’t recognize as you go through the list. The trash should be emptied.

Can Macs Get Viruses From Streaming Videos?

If you watch videos online, you may have come across some obnoxious popups, such as NSFW adverts for pornographic websites. Your computer can be infected with malware with only one erroneous click. A hacker can then obtain your passwords, credit card details, and other personal data.

Can You Get Viruses From Visiting Websites On Macs?

Macs have long been billed as virus-proof, and many Mac users still assume they are resistant to viruses and other malware. In truth, although Macs have different types of vulnerabilities than PCs, Macs can still be infected with malware.

Does Mac Have Preinstalled Antivirus?

X-Protect Is The Name Of The MacOS Anti-Virus. It Comes Pre-Installed And If You Allow It, Receives Automatic Updates.

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.