In the last 12 months, we have seen a growing number of people citing that Apple computers are more secure than Windows computers. We have also seen an increasing number of Macintosh computers with viruses.
We often hear that Macintosh computers are secure and cannot be hacked. The reasons vary from the fact that they build on a Unix base, that they are a different beast, or that Apple blocked unsigned software.
While none of these comments are wrong, they are also not right. It is true that generally speaking, people who use Macintosh computers get fewer viruses than those running Windows. There are many reasons for this, and one valid reason is that there are fewer Apple computers. Therefore, it is more difficult for viruses to spread.
Computer viruses generally stay within their own operating system. It is not common for viruses to be designed to run on multiple operating systems. This makes Mac computers less likely to be infected with a virus, as there are fewer hosts to transmit the virus. That said, the population of Macintosh computers is growing at a steady rate. As the number of people using Macintosh computers increases, so does the likelihood of contracting a virus.
Another point that is often made is that Macintosh computers will not let you run a file that is not digitally signed by a developer who is approved by Apple. While this has some truth, it is no different to Windows blocking the execution of downloaded files using the smart screen. If a user wishes to open the file, they still can just right-click (or two-finger-click) on the file, and then click "run." Anybody who uses a Mac regularly is very familiar with this and does it to install legitimate software all the time. This process is no more efficient than any other annoying error that users inevitably click "yes" to.
Macintosh users are often told that they do not need antivirus software, and not to worry about security on their Mac. However, users should install antivirus software, remain cautious about what software they install, and take all of the same security precautions as Windows users.
Mac computers are less likely to get a virus, but less likely does not mean "will not." Macintosh viruses are certainly not any less aggressive or damaging than Windows viruses. It is also worth remembering that viruses are not the only threat to consider. Quite often, hackers use legitimate RSAT tools to gain access to your data. While the industry focuses on protecting Windows users, Mac users idly sit by as hackers eye up their computers, data, and financial records.