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Can macOS Get a Virus?


Can macOS get a virus?

Although many believe that macOS is immune to malware and viruses, the truth is that it is not. While macOS is less prone to malware infections than Windows OS, malware and viruses like Silver Sparrow, ThiefQuest, Pirri/GoSearch22, and LoudMiner have affected macOS.

This article will explore the robustness of macOS, the viruses that threaten the ecosystem, attack patterns, and common performance issues that your organization might be grappling with.  Let's dive right in:

Can macOS Get Viruses?

macOS, like other operating systems, can get infected with viruses. However, the frequency is less because writing virus programs to infect macOS and system architecture is slightly tricky and time-consuming. Cybercriminals search for easy targets, and macOS does not present one. 

If your macOS goes slow suddenly or apps and services experience crashes, these can be signs of virus infection. Error messages and abnormal shutting down or restarting of Mac systems should raise suspicion.

Common macOS Viruses

There are a variety of different viruses cybercriminals use to compromise your macOS. Most commonly, these viruses include:

  • Macro viruses: Macro viruses are one of the oldest macOS-infecting malware that targets users when they open an infected file with macros enabled.

  • Keylogger viruses: These are viruses that attackers create to stalk a user's keystrokes. They will snoop on all information you type and keep sending them to their owners.

  • Adware viruses: Adware viruses have become a significant problem for MacOS users. If you witness ads on specific sections of your computer, it is a clear marker that you have installed something you should not have.

  • Trojans and cryptominers: Trojans and cryptominers hide in devices that look harmless. However, trojans stealthily keep sharing victims' details and personal data. Crypto-miners utilize the device's computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

Attack Patterns You Can Identify in Your MacOS

  1. Every application or program utilizes processing power and memory. Viruses are no different. Mac viruses often slow down your Mac PC by stealing processing power. They occupy memory and deteriorate the working of other applications.

  2. Unexpected ads and pop-up messages are red flags that adware viruses infect your system.

  3. Often, you will notice your system gets heated up within half an hour or one hour of use, or your fan runs faster than usual (you might hear its sound). It is another clear sign that your system is infected.

  4. It should raise suspicion if your system services or apps crash without reason.

macOS vs. Windows OS:

Attackers love to go the easy way, which consumes lesser time. So, they target Windows systems with viruses more than macOS.

  • Both macOS and Windows come with built-in security features. However, macOS has more robust security features.

  • The market for Windows is larger than for macOS. One can download and use Windows apps and programs from diverse platforms. It is another reason why more viruses infect Windows than macOS.

  • The ecosystem of macOS is bounded. Also, the apps are official and paid. Because of these reasons, virus infection is less likely. However, Windows is more flexible and accepts various apps. Hence, it is more likely to get infected with viruses.

How to Secure macOS Running Systems From Viruses

  1. XProtect is Apple's proprietary antivirus software that works in stealth mode. Users often do not see it, but it works covertly to protect files and systems by quarantining viruses and malware.

  2. To protect Apple users, Apple reviews every app and service running on the system. Even all the apps built to run on Apple devices undergo initial review before getting distributed and sold over Apple's App Store.

  3. Gatekeeper and notarization are other built-in security services in macOS. They block apps and programs created by malware developers.


Can macOS get a virus? While macOS is more robust and secure than many others on the market, it is not unbreachable. It is essential to stay vigilant about what websites, applications, or services macOS users operate.

If your enterprise uses macOS, ensure the system has an antivirus installed, and a firewall enabled. Reach out to our team today (or subscribe to our newsletter!) for more expert tips and tricks.

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