Can a Mac get PC Viruses?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Aramyth, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Aramyth macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    #1
    So the topic is a little misleading, because I know that a Mac can't be affected by a PC virus. But can you still get one?

    My aunt bought a MacBook Air and they wanted her to install Norton Anti Virus (it's garbage I know) on it because they told her that a Mac can still get PC viruses and pass them to another PC computer.

    Is that true? Or are they just trying to prey on people who don't know much about computers?

    I also own a MacBook Pro and it's my first Mac, so I'm learning some of the basic things as I go.

    Thanks.
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    yes thats true

    all a virus is a file

    just because the virus doesnt affect macs, doesnt mean macs can not pass it along to people with pcs
     
  3. Aramyth thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 12, 2009
    #3
    So then why do people say that Macs don't need anti virus protection? :confused:
     
  4. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a

    Ice-Cube

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    #4
    Because its not necessary since your own Mac would not be affected. The real advantage of getting it is to make sure you don't pass on the viruses to your PC friends, though I assume most of them would be protected anyway so why do it for them?
     
  5. Tower-Union macrumors 6502

    Tower-Union

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    May 6, 2009
    #5
    omg. . . no you cannot get a PC virus on your mac and pass it along. What COULD happen is say, you get E-mailed a virus in the form of an attachment, you try to open it, but of course it does not work because its written for PC, so you send it along to your friend with a PC asking them to open it because it "won't work" on your computer, then BAM they have a virus.

    What WILL NOT happen however is a worm scouring the internet, "infecting" your computer and then using your computer as a launching point to harm other computers on the network.
     
  6. mac2x macrumors 65816

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    Sep 19, 2009
    #6
    Just be careful where you download from (adult sites especially) and your Mac will be fine.
     
  7. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    Lexington, MA, USA
    #7
    If "they" are afraid your aunt will pass viruses on to others with a PC, then "they" should offer to buy Norton for her. If your aunt is truly worried about passing PC viruses along, there are free anti-virus apps for the Mac like ClamXav. It will do an adequate job of finding Windows viruses so your aunt can't be accused of being a Typhoid Mary.
     
  8. Aramyth thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 12, 2009
    #8
    So the folks at BestBuy are basically full of it? That's what I thought. I didn't think I could "hold" PC viruses and pass them along to PC's; unless I tried I guess?

    I don't really download too much, and especially not from adult websites or things like Limewire or e-mail attachments. But I'm not worried about my Mac. lol I was wondering if the people at BestBuy were full of it or not.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #9
    Because no virus exists that runs on Mac OS X. Only trojans, which you have to install and enter your password. Any Windows user would be crazy not to have their own antivirus, so I don't feel I have to screen my files before sending them to a Windows user, trying to protect them. They should protect themselves.
     
  10. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #10
    Your computer can "hold" a virus if a file is already infected and gets passed to you and then you pass the file along to another machine. But the Best Buy people are definitely looking for an up-sell. If you think you will be receiving infected files and then passing them along, the free ClamXav is good enough for that type of protection (especially since your machine isn't what you are protecting).
     
  11. brisbaneguy29 macrumors 6502

    brisbaneguy29

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    #11
    Can anyone please tell me if your running Windows on your mac, if you get a worm that wants to eat your hard drive, isn't the Mac data at risk too?
     
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #12
    No. The Windows partition doesn't know the Mac partition even exists. It's treated like a separate hard drive. The Windows program wouldn't be able to read the Mac format.
     
  13. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #13
    Unless you have MacDrive installed. ;)
     
  14. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #14
    That's why I just use HFSexplorer instead!
     
  15. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    #15
    It can still attack the partition table, though.
     
  16. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #16
    Your not going to be able to pass viruses along to PC friends from a mac. Your aunt does not need antivirus (especially Norton its 100% useless).

    Heres how I know:

    I work in IT and remove viruses all the time. I'm always plugging in infected harddrives into my mac to manually delete files that windows, no matter what you do cannot see. (Sasser worm comes to mind). There are many viruses I tinker with that jump from drive to drive but cannot jump to my mac (different OS, the viruses instructions cant operate on it).

    The virus will remain on the infected drive so if you plug that drive back in without cleaning it to a windows machine you will get infected but as far as it jumping to mac, then back to windows it cant happen. I've tried many times.
     
  17. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #17
    This is completely untrue. It is quite possible for a file with a PC virus to reside on a Mac, then be transferred to a PC, where the virus will be active. However, I agree that a Mac user doesn't need AV software because every Windows user should already be protecting themselves with AV.
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #18
    Not completely true there. There are already multiple Trojans virus out for the OSX. AV software general will nail those Trojans before they get installed. No amount of OSX protection stops Trojans because they relay on users stupidity to get installed. OSX biggest defenses against Trojans is market share.

    Most of what people call "computer Viruses" are Trojans. I want to say the last report I read was 90% of all "viruses" out there were trojans. 9% worms and 1% true computer viruses.

    I do not know of any computer virus out there that will reformat your drive. That is more people own fears getting the better of them.
     
  19. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #19
    Their used to be some, problem is that their distribution was quite limited not to mention that virus writers have little interest in wiping your hard drive. For that reason amongst all, they really aren't a problem anymore.
     
  20. kate-willbury macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 14, 2009
    #20
    um no. i've run windows for years. i've never bothered using any anti-virus and have never had virus/malware/etc issues. face it, the only times ppl get these issues is when they try to download illegal software/try to get free porn/click on obviously fake links etc etc. it doesn't take much more than common sense to avoid these issues.
     
  21. lamadude macrumors 6502

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    Brussels, BE
    #21
    Isn't one of the new features of boot camp in SL that the windows partition can read the mac partition? (read only)
     
  22. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #22
    If it's read only, then a Windows virus couldn't write to it and therefore, couldn't harm it.
     
  23. lamadude macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Indeed, but I was reacting to comments that said that it couldn't read it.
    And a windows virus would still be able to search for personal data on your mac drive (bank information, email addresses etc) and forward it to the creator of the virus. So the data on your mac drive may be safe from infection, but it can still be accessed.
     
  24. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    #24
    In theory, but I've never heard of a virus/trojan that actually does this. There are very few Macs running Windows in Boot Camp with sensitive data on the Mac partition and significant email/internet use on the Windows side.
     
  25. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #25
    No, not market share, but rabid mac fanboys.:eek: I'd shudder to think what we'd do to the first person who release the first viable mal-ware for the Mac into the wild. Poor sap would be hounded to the ends of the earth and then some.:p "Hanging's too good for him, burning's too good for him, he outta be chopped into itty, bitty pieces and buried alive.";)

    I think Hollywood contributes a great deal to the paranoia. Every on screen virus has had devastating effects on computers. The mildest merely wipes all your data. Nastier versions cause sparks to fly from your keyboard and reduces your computer to a smoldering puddle of plastic and silicone. The worst I've seen wiping out an entire invading alien fleet.:eek:
     

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