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Can Macs Get Viruses & Why You Need An Antivirus for Mac

Yes, Macs can get viruses. They are less vulnerable than Windows computers, but viruses can still successfully attack them. It’s easy to underestimate the risk, but viruses are always unpleasant and can range from annoying pop-up ads to your files being held to ransom. Luckily, you can easily get rid of them with Clario all-in-one device security solution. Let’s see why people think Macs don’t get viruses and what threats are out there.

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Can Macs Get Viruses?

If you’re a Mac user, you’ve likely heard conflicting messages about whether viruses and malware can infect your computer. Apple itself even claimed for many years that Mac users can’t get viruses. But is this true?


Unfortunately, it isn’t. A mind-blowing 674,000+ malicious programs were developed in 2020 to attack Apple computers, and the problem is only getting worse.  

How Can Macbooks Get Viruses?

Mac malware acts differently from viruses that affect Microsoft laptops and desktop PCs because of the different software architecture used in Apple computers. But, most often, you will become infected in the same ways.


For example, your Mac might become infected with malware as a result of downloading fake apps.

Protect your Mac

Use only trustworthy sources for downloading apps on your Mac, like App Store.

If you accidentally install an untrustworthy program, it could lead to you seeing endless annoying ads or letting hackers spy on you and steal your personal information.


Another common way to become infected with malware is through phishing emails. These are fraudulent emails that contain a link or attachment that triggers the installation of malware.  

Signs You Have a Virus on a Mac

Have you noticed that your Mac is behaving strangely? Here’s how to tell if your Mac is infected with a virus.  

  • You keep seeing advertising banners or pop-ups. If you’re constantly seeing ads in strange places, or pop-up ads keep disrupting your work, claiming to be legitimate updates, it’s a good sign that your system is infected with adware. Whatever you do, don’t click the ads – there’s a good chance they will download more malware onto your machine.
  • Random hyperlinks appear on web pages. If you notice out-of-place links appearing on web page text, it’s likely malware trying to get you to download more malicious software.
  • There are suspicious apps installed on your Mac. Have you noticed software that you don’t remember installing? Bad news. This is a sign that a virus has infected your Mac.
  • Your Mac is crashing, overheating, or running its fans faster than usual. If all of a sudden your Mac has begun to crash frequently, you could have a virus. This often occurs because the malware is running an intensive task in the background and using up your system resources. For example, Mac Trojan viruses often install cryptocurrency miners.

If your Mac is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, there’s a very good chance that you have inadvertently installed malware onto your system. Read on to find out how you can protect your Mac from viruses in the future.  

Do I Need Antivirus for Mac?

It’s common knowledge that Mac comes with built-in antivirus software known as XProtect. This scans your Mac for viruses and malware using Apple’s ever-growing database of threats. So, as long as you keep your Mac updated, you should be safe, right?


Not quite.  


While Mac has several security features that attempt to keep your Mac safe from malicious software (or to limit the damage if an infection does occur), these aren’t foolproof.


Gaps in Apple’s malware database can leave users exposed to threats that a quality antivirus will protect them from. For this reason, XProtect is generally not as good at identifying malware as some third-party antivirus software is.


And with over one billion Apple users, Mac’s market share is growing and becoming more attractive to hackers. Unfortunately, this means more infected devices and more potential victims. According to the State of Malware Report 2021, the average number of Mac malware detections for businesses in 2020 increased by 31% compared to the 2019 stats.


So, do Macs need antivirus software? The answer is yes.  

How to Avoid Viruses on a Mac

Even with the best defenses, it’s vital that you don’t take unnecessary risks when browsing the internet. Here are some ways you can protect your Mac:

  • Update the macOS when asked as it comes with the latest security updates
  • Don’t download or click links from unknown sources or on sketchy websites as they can lead to the installation of viruses
  • Educate yourself on the latest Mac threats — read updates on new Apple features and security (for the latest cybersecurity news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog too)
  • Avoid suspicious-looking emails or messages as they can be phishing traps full of malware

What to Look for in a Mac Antivirus?

Here are some things to look out for in Mac antivirus software.

  • Comprehensive protection. Your cybersecurity program should be able to detect all threats against your Mac in real-time. This includes automatic, regular scans to search your system for viruses and malware, as well as automatic scans for downloaded files.
  • An up-to-date database of threats. To protect your system, the antivirus software should draw on a constantly updated library of viruses, malware, adware, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
  • Thorough threat elimination. The antivirus software should be able to quarantine and eliminate all threats to your system once they are detected, regardless of severity.

How to Protect Your Mac From Viruses

Viruses and other malicious software should be avoided at all costs. Infections can range from mildly annoying to completely destroying your computer. And even though many people mistakenly believe that Macs don’t get viruses, they certainly do.


Clario’s all-in-one antivirus and web protection app is designed for 100% virus detection so you can protect what matters most.  


Take advantage of Clario and see if any malicious file is hiding somewhere in your system and waiting for you to activate it. Follow these simple steps:


1. Download Clario and set up your account


2. Tap Quick Scan on the dashboard and wait till Clario finishes up the check

Clario > Quick Scan

3. Once done, Clario will show you which files on your Mac are malicious and will walk you through the process of getting rid of them.  


In case Clario found malware on your Mac, take into account the recommendations you will see on the screen, delete files, and don’t forget to restart your computer. Be safe with Clario!

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