“You will never, ever catch a virus on an Apple”
That is probably the most used argument to defend your iMac, or iPod, or an-iThing you have. In fact, I’ve heard things like “It will fill up with viruses, burn up and kill my family the second I turn it on”. Or “I don’t trust that USB because it has been put into a computer with infernal deadly plague-inducing baby-raping Windows”. Very much not true, if I do say so myself (Which I do).
OK, well, sure. OS X have sooo little problems, it’s unfair. Add together that 98% of people use Windows, which makes making viruses for Mac seem counterproductive (Unless you are making funny viruses for friends, in which case, do go on) and that it’s a closed system that doesn’t really like outsider software, and you’ve got a secure system. And that is a fact, Mac is more secure because nothing is trying to breach it the whole time. But really, is it that much more secure?
Short answer? Probably. Long answer? Only if you don’t think about what you do.
I must say, in the last 5 years of my life, I’ve been using Windows (Many, many windows) and I never caught a virus. Ever. In fact, I’m a bigger threat to my computer than viruses. How did I manage this streak of non-virus-ness? Reading, observing and reading again.
Many, many, MANY viruses of the internet come with ads and downloads. It seems to me that every single ad in the whole internet is either a download link to something you REALLY don’t want, a ‘free” iPad which requires you to suspiciously put your phone number, e-mail address and underpants size, a Russian dating site, or, in 0.001% of cases, an ad that can actually help you (Google ads not included).
The first kind is the most likely to fool you over and over and over again. Links that say “Download here” in the same page where you actually need to download stuff. Clever bastards. They also put it so it is exactly like the actual download button/link. I really don’t know why the download pages allow this kind of thing in their web. Or why it is allowed at all. Shouldn’t it be banned, to impersonate links? The best way, IMO, to prevent yourself of tripping here, is installing AdBlock, a piece of software that, *ahem*, blocks ads, so you don’t have to see them (See the bold underlined word? That will be important in the future.), or to, carefully, check the boundaries of the ad/button/link. If it has blank space that is clickable, it is most definitely an ad.
The second kind is fun. Yup, fun. Minigames in little banners online (Very mini, actually) where you end up winning an iPad. Well, no. You used to end up winning an iPad, now you just get it. I can still remember back when you actually needed to win the minigame to collect your prize. It was fun throwing balls at pirates so they could fall in the water. Now you just click on them. In some the game doesn’t even work, they are just dead animations with no fun to be had. You’ve probably heard this before, but do not, ever, ever, fill in your info if they ask it after “winning”. You will not get an iPad. You will never get an iPad. Free stuff in the internet exists, but it is never in the form of an iPad. These ads are easy to avoid, just… errrrr… don’t play. See? Easy. Don’t click on them.
The third and the fourth… Well, they do what they say. If you’re lucky you won’t end up in a Russian dating page. I still advise against clicking them.
Now, after avoiding all the ads, and fake download buttons, and the pop ups asking you to review a Korean card set of 23 3D HD PQ Cards, there is still time/space to trick you.
You downloaded the thing! You are installing it! Yes! Yes! Continue! I agree! I agree! IT WORKS… wait a second… Did you agree with 2 different licenses? Oh, yes you did. As a result, you now have the whatever you installed + a new toolbar in all your browsers + a suspicious program/driver updater + a new antivirus you didn’t even know existed + the Korean card set ready for delivery at the cheap price of two eyes and from your liver 90%. Huh. How did that happen. Well, here is the thing.
Many people who make free software and things do actually want some money. What to do then? They put ads in their web pages. What more? They put ads in their installers AND they put installers in their installers (Installerception) They also do it in such a way that clicking continue blindly WILL install you all the things and send a message to Korea. Clever bastards.
The solution is, again, reading. But not only reading, oh, no. Reading carefully. They don’t “Mark this box to install :D”, they are most likely to “If you have both boxes A and B marked, you will install everything. Mark only B to ask for an extra card set for a friend. Perform the contra code in an azerty keyboard to unlock secret boxes C, D and F. F toggles A and C, C toggles B and D, and D is useless. If you have 4 of the five boxes marked at any one time, the installation will proceed without installing the original product. Unmark B and we will format C:\. Good luck”. Notice the lack of E box? That is to confuse you. You actually need to have a master degree in logical thinking to pass most of the installers, or else.
An infamous example that comes to my mind is Adobe with McAfee, which don’t put boxes in the installer, oh no. They put it at the download.
It’s crazy, and it’s not even fair. Adobe gets a shitload of money, their programs cost a ton (Although with good reason). They don’t need this! Why would they do this?!
(As a side note, do not download McAfee. I don’t know how good of an antivirus they are, but if they need to resort to this, they mustn’t be very reliable, don’t you think?)
Another thing to beware of (Is that even a word?) are automatic downloaders. Never ever ever EVER trust an automatic downloader. They will fill you with crap you want it or not. Clear example is the Softonic downloader, which will try to fool you every single time (Which is why I don’t use Softonic anymore. It’s a shame, they were good…) And if you are a more advanced user, don’t download .dll fixers and that kind of stuff. God, those are bad.
Note that, as it can be unwanted software all these things mentioned could be a virus. Toolbars and these kinds of software are normally actually viruses which eat up your memory, both the HDD and the RAM memory. And the rest of the software you install without knowing may do the same. Don’t ever trust it.
And that is only the main stuff. Cookies, scripts, and all kinds of other weird things roam the internet freely, trying to kill you…r computer. Although, these last ones are more likely to be seen early by your antivirus, so don’t go telling people cookies are bad. They are not :/ (Mostly, of course)
But, even if you are careful, things can get through. I don’t have a master degree in Logical Thinking, which means sometimes I install things I don’t want to. However, taking care of these little things is easy if you see your errors. Install an antivirus to help you detect when things get trough (But don’t rely on them 100%. Once they tried to block a Microsoft program to burn a Windows image into my USB. And a Microsoft program is not by any means a virus… Well, except maybe Windows 8) If you see a new icon pop up on your desktop without reason, uninstall it immediately. Check your task manager from time to time to check if there are processes running in the background, trying to emit infrared through your screen (AKA, using all your memory for nothing) But most importantly, read. Read and understand what you are doing. Observe before clicking. It could save your PC. It actually saves homeless people in Canada. It may even cure your cold.
Be safe around ads.
WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT HAS THIS TO DO WITH SECURITY IN AN APPLE COMPUTER? YOU LIED TO ME!
Errr… Ummm… Oh, wow. I really went off topic here, didn’t I? What I was trying to achieve/tell is the following:
It doesn’t matter how much viruses there are for Windows. If you know how to avoid them, it is a perfectly secure system.
And, backwards, it doesn’t matter that there are little to no viruses for Mac. If you are not carefull, you may end up installing so much shit you’ll wish you’d catch a virus pronto.
I think that is it. It is, right?
I’ll stop now.