Virus question; iPad, OSX, Android

Discussion in 'macOS' started by marty1990, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. marty1990, Feb 3, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014

    marty1990 macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    Hey there,

    I know that you can't 'technically' get viruses for iOS, OSX, or even Android. I know that the only way for a virus to be spread on either mobile OS is installing an app from somewhere other than the AppStore/Google Play Store, and even then the viruses are sandboxed within the respective app.

    So I guess I'm just asking this for peace of mind, or in case I've missed something/got it wrong.

    On my Mac I use ClamXav. Never liked the idea of my computer being infected ever since using Windows, though I do practice safe computing.

    I was sent a link a while back whilst on my iPad that took me to a video site. Before I realised what it was, I opened it and it then opened up loads of tabs with popups on, a lot of them being adult sites. I closed them all, though some of the popups took me to the AppStore to download an app, which I cancelled.

    On my Android device, whilst on Chrome, I keep getting popups telling me I have a virus on my phone, I ignore, try the same link again - usually a forum link - and the pop up appears again. I also sometimes get popups asking me to download an app through the Play Store. Obviously I never do, and I run avast! on there anyway so have performed numerous scans which say my phone is clean.

    Now my questions are these;

    Say for example, there was a virus or something on either my iPad or Android device, if they're connected to the same wifi network as my MacBook, is there any chance at all anything could go on my Mac? Or even if I plugged one of the devices into my Mac? I rarely do 'plug in' the other devices to my Mac anyway, but curious for future reference.

    Secondly, accounts I'm logged into on my iPad or Android phone (email, Netflix etc), if there WAS anything on those devices, would the accounts be 'infected' or isn't that possible? Basically, I'm okay either way to login into those accounts on my Mac? How about file transfers? I have illustrations on my iPad, can I email them to my Mac without any problems arising with my Mac?

    Sorry for all the questions, but would appreciate replies. I'm still in a Windows phase when it comes to viruses.

  2. MrDidel macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    Let me begin to state that I don't know a thing about Android devices or the Android OS, so I can't help you answering those questions for Android.

    In iOS however, the main thing you have to remember is that there is no such thing as viruses for iOS. What a virus basically does is run some harmful code without the user knowing. However, as you may know, every App in the AppStore is thoroughly checked by Apple to see if it does anything harmful or dangerous to your iDevice. The second meganism iOS heavily relies on is the 'sandboxing' thing: Every app has its own sandbox where it can edit files and run some code, but it can never access the files of another application. So even if there would be some kind of virus built in some program which has magically passed through Apple's checking process, the worst of harm it could do is to make the app itself useless. All your other apps, contacts, music, etc would be left untouched.

    Of course this is not true if the device is jailbroken, because the process of jailbreaking makes it possible for untrusted and possibly harmful code to run on the device without you knowing. But as long as you stay far away from jailbreaking, you should have nothing to worry about.

    To answer the other questions you asked:
    • No virus on your iDevice = safe to connect to iTunes etc
    • I don't think you could infect an account of any kind. You should be able to login on any device without any problems. Beware of phishing though.
    • Even if one of your drawings would contain a virus, it won't be able to do anything on your iDevice, probably not on your Macs neither. If the virus would be targeted at windows-computers there is a chance it could become active if you transfer that file to a windows computer though.

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