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Aster's avatar

Are Apple computers really that much less prone to viruses/adware?

Asked by Aster (19984points) May 16th, 2011

I was thinking of getting an Apple pc since I am plagued with viruses and adware/malware. Good business decision or waste of money?

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13 Answers

erichw1504's avatar

I’ve heard it’s true. Never owned one, though.

jrpowell's avatar

I have always used a Mac with a brief endeavor in Windows from Windows 95 until OS X was released. My first Mac was a original my parents got me in 1984 when I was 7.

So about ten years of using OS X here and I am fairly good at it. I have never had a problem with nasties. My mom is on Vista and that is a clusterfuck. If she wasn’t 60 years old and refused to try a Mac she would be using my old iMac that is on my floor not being used .

But the only program I run is Little Snitch to alert me of network activity. I have never had a problem.

Cue someone claiming security through obscurity.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I’ve never gotten anything unwanted on any of my Macs, though I’m a fairly cautious person. My sister is incredibly malware-prone, however, to the point that we had to completely wipe her Windows-based computer at least three times. She hasn’t had any real problems since we switched her over to an Apple laptop, even though her surfing habits haven’t changed at all.

Buying a Mac is more expensive, though, so you need to ask yourself how much being malware-free is worth to you. A change in habits and a good anti-malware program might be just as good as a different computer.

crisw's avatar

Yes, it’s true. In over a decade managing hundreds of Macs, I have seen only one virus- and that was a macro virus that attacked only Word documents in OS 9.

The Windows computers, on the other hand…without antivirus software, they are toast.

tedd's avatar

They are less prone to them.

But honestly that’s only because many fewer people use MAC’s and they cannot catch PC virus’. Hackers (or a**holes as I call them) want to get the most “bang for their buck” ... so you don’t see too many virus’ on MAC’s (since a significantly smaller portion of people use them). This will change if/as apple gains more of the market share.

MAC’s are very easily hackable, if you want proof just look at the iPhones. They are typically cracked/hacked within hours (if not before) they are released.

tedd's avatar

@crisw I’ve owned probably 10 PC’s with various versions of windows (95–7) over the last 10–12 years. I caught a few virus’ on them, but never had a computer become “toast.” In fact only one virus in that entire stretch was more than a mild annoyance…. and go figure that virus came on the one computer I actually had anti-virus software on.

Blueroses's avatar

Exactly what @tedd said. If you’re an attention whore (and that’s what virus writers are) who wants to wreak as much havoc as possible, would you take off your clothes and streak through a Hallmark boutique? Or would you head for the nearest packed sports arena?

Writing Mac viruses isn’t as much fun for those dicks. Perhaps one of the few examples I can think of that illustrates a marketing paradox: Lack of popularity is a huge selling point!

crisw's avatar


Just to clarify- I didn’t mean “destroyed” by “toast”- just virus-ridden.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@tedd I agree that one of the key reasons why Macs don’t get viruses is because very few viruses are written for them. At the same time, however, Macs also advertise themselves differently on a network. I don’t know how much this affects things, but I suspect it helps.

Your bit about hacking iPhones confuses me, though. I’ve heard reports about how easy they are to get into if you have the machines in hand, but that’s a whole other issue from getting malware from the internet. I imagine most computers are hackable if you have them right in front of you.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

With the rise of Mac popularity, there have been a few viruses. A small number, but proof enough that Mac’s aren’t inherently more secure, they’re just unpopular.

tedd's avatar

@SavoirFaire With several minutes and enough talent, any computer in the world could essentially be “right in front of you.” The last time I had a buddy fix my computer, he logged into it from his house so he didn’t have to drive over.

The comparison with iPhones is simply to show that if somebody had the will power to actually go through with hacking a MAC, its very easily doable.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@tedd Ah, I see. Thank you for the clarification. I think you are right to point out that there really is no such thing as perfect security.

pshizzle's avatar

If you are one to download music or files illegally off the Internet, Mac’s are not for you. You are more likely to get caught. But yes, they don’t require AntiVirus software.

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