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Can Macs Get Viruses? A Quick Guide to MacBook Security

published 6/16/2021

Over one billion different malware programs are circling the internet. This number keeps going up day by day, but you have a Mac. you're safe from these infections, right?

Most users think this, but they would be wrong. While it's much more common for attackers to go after Windows computers, Macbooks aren't invulnerable to them.

You'll need to take advantage of all the MacBook security features your computer came with and then some. It might be extreme, but it's a surefire way to make sure you're safe while browsing the web.

It's also helpful to know what you're going up against. Check out this guide to learn what types of viruses you may run into and see what antivirus measures you need to take.

Can Macs Get Viruses?

As we stated above, Macs can come down with a laptop virus if you aren't careful. Most cybercriminals focus their efforts on Windows computers because it's the most common operating system. This has put many Mac users into a false sense of security, which makes them even more vulnerable.

These viruses can show themselves in a variety of ways. The most common is through fake software updates. You'll get a popup that seems completely legitimate, only when the system finishes "updating" you have a virus.

If they don't get you with the fake update, they'll attack you with a phishing email. You'll get an email from a bank or some other government facility. Most of the time, these emails contain a link.

As soon as you click on the link, the virus will download onto your computer. It can be hard to tell that these emails are fake. You'll need to look hard for little inconsistencies and spelling errors.

Do You Need Antivirus?

Macs do have some built-in anti virus measures. The XProtect feature scans all files for viruses before you download them. If it detects anything, it won't let you complete the action.

There's also a Malware removal tool that checks behind XProtect on a normal basis. We'll warn you that these measures are great, but they aren't foolproof. They've been around for a while, so hackers have learned how to work around them.

It's recommended that you download a secondary antivirus program for your Mac. This will keep all your bases covered in the event of an attack.

Common Viruses

Software updates and phishing emails are the means by which to spread some common malware around. There are many that you need to need to be on the lookout for. Each one is devastating in its own way.


Adware is the most common and annoying virus that you'll run into. It litters your computer with popups and advertisements, making it difficult to get anything done.

In some cases, these viruses come hand in hand with spyware. Hackers spy on your online activity, so they know what kinds of advertisements to throw your way.


Out of all the different types of malware, Ransomeware is the worst. The hacker takes your files, or sometimes your entire system, and locks them with an encryption key.

The only way to get the code to unlock the decryption is to pay up. Note that giving the hacker their demanded ransom doesn't guarantee that they'll give you access to your device again.


A program will pop up on your computer that pretends to be helpful. As it downloads, it infects the computer with viruses in the background.

These viruses will then set to work stealing your data. In the case of MacBooks, these malware programs tend to come hand in hand with adware as well.


Hackers use spy software to take a look at your computer browsing history. They may sell this information to a third party. When this happens, you'll see more and more ads pop up on your computer.

Sometimes, these hackers use their spyware for different means. They'll learn your keystroke patterns, gain access to your online bank accounts, and steal your personal information.


Scamware works a lot like trojan horses. They pretend to be a helpful program. The difference is that the goal of scamware is to get you to input your personal information.

Most of the time, this comes in the form of fake antivirus programs. You'll get a popup telling you that your computer is infected, and if you pay for this software, it can get rid of it for you.

Instead of handling the "malware", it downloads even more harmful programs to your device and steals the credit card info that you put in.

Signs That You Have a Computer Virus

So, now that you know what types of malware to be on the lookout for, it's time for the big question. How can you tell if your computer has been infected?

The most telling sign is popups. If you see these, run an antivirus program ASAP. If you click on any of these popups, there's a good chance it will send you to a website that will infect your system further.

If you notice any programs or apps on your computer that you don't remember downloading, and you're the only one who uses the machine, that should raise some questions.

An infected MacBook might crash more often than normal. If your system is overheating, that usually means you have too many programs running in the background. Some of these could be malicious.

Your Guide to MacBook Security

It's a common misconception that Macs can't be injected by viruses. This can't be further from the truth. Even with all the MacBook security measures put in place by developers, they're still vulnerable.

While they might not be as at risk as Window's systems, you'll still need to be careful when browsing through the net and download quality antivirus software.

Some of these virus programs can't be deleted by normal means. If you can't seem to clean up your computer, it might be time to consult the professionals. Go here to find out what we can do for you.