Are Macs really immune from spyware/malware?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zub3qin, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. zub3qin macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007
    So I bought my Macbook this week, it should be here on Monday. I'm a switcher.

    It couldn't have been more timely- yesterday my Dell (Win XP) got a real nasty malware/virus or something- first time ever. It has been a real pain trying to get the whole thing cleaned, despite running anti-virus, ad-aware, and various other things wasting 2 days time. I am ready to salvage my data and export that over to mac, and format the old laptop since I can't get it clean.

    Anyway, my question is this- Evidently I got the malware from simply clicking on some link or going to some sort of website. Is this something I need to be aware of with Mac OS or can you surf anywhere you want without fear of getting hit with some sort of malware?

  2. Illicit macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2007
    Waterloo, ON
    the most you'll have to worry about from browsing are popups and unders. :)
  3. Mindcrime13 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2007
    i know, is really hard near impossible to get some spyware/virus software on a mac, with a mac processor, but im not sure on those new intell ones:apple:
  4. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    Only to the ones made specifically for windows
  5. dartzorichalcos macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2007
    Here is a quote from a Wikipedia article:
  6. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    The processor doesn't make a difference.

    The thing that makes OS X more secure is the fact that it's UNIX based instead of using the ****** registry and stuff like Windows.
  7. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    None. Zip. Nada. Had a Mac since the mid 90's and NEVER had spyware or a virus.

    Spent less than 1 minute in 12 years dealing with the operating system
    save PRAM resets once a month....welcome to freedom!
  8. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007
    Maybe you don't go to the dangerous sites....
  9. CoachKrzyzewski macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2007
    you can get some minor spyware/stuff in internet cookies but it's usually nothing to worry about. Head over to and click the downloads link to get a free program to identify bad cookies and purge them. (I did this for the first time the other day on my year-old macbook and it only found 5...). Let me stress it's not a HUGE deal, but these things can slow down your computer at the least so it's good to get rid of them.

    PS... lingo might be off, but I'm 2 minutes from getting out of work and don't care / am too tired.
  10. Mindcrime13 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2007

    oh i dint know that! you learn something new everyday!:eek:

    but like skye12 , i also have been a mac user since 90's and never had an issue with that stuff!:D
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Right, but the question also asks about spyware.
    Any program that you explicitly permit to be laoded on your machine, and issue it your password to install (such as a free game, or a greeting card player, or whatever) can then do pretty much whatever it wants, such as spying and phoning home (think about it - Apple and Adobe and most other applications automatically transmit out the internet, check for and download updaters without your say so)

    So the Mac is not 'immune' to spyware. It is more or less immune to viral propogation of malware, other than malware that relies on an application scripting language like MS Word Macro viruses.
  12. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004

    There are currently no active instances of malware or virus for the Mac. However there almost certainly will be one day (though we've been hearing that for a few years now).

    Use a bit of common sense and you'll be fine. Above all, enjoy your new mac ;)
  13. MattJessop macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Yeah, there are about 40 known viruses for Mac OS X (none in circulation however - most are just proof-viruses) - compared with 140,000 for Windows.

    That does NOT mean that they are immune to viruses and spyware. Just very less likely.

    I mean, if you really want to be safe, i'd do weekly backups and have anti-spyware/virus checks once a month. But you most likely would be fine without either of them. It's just a precaution :)

    Nothing is 100% proof. Except Steve Jobs Ego.
  14. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    Yes, I pretty much go everywhere. The key is to NOT run any Microsoft
    software at all...not office, word etc.

    Msft stuff is crap-its that simple. A company in decline bound for extinction.
    They should just dissolve co and give the money back to shareholders.
    Ironically, this is what Dell said abut apple in the 90's. Funny how appl
    mkt cap now is much larger than dell's.
  15. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    lol, silliest post in a while...
    Microsoft bound for extinction, what land do you live in?
  16. beginner0 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2007
    Basically, if you don't run your computer in full-privileged user, then your computer should be pretty safe. Whether Windows or Mac. It's just that on Windows most people use an account with admin powers.

    Also, not many viruses were written for Mac also partly because it's only became a lot more popular these years, so one day something will come up.

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