Yes, Macs CAN get Viruses Too!

You have probably heard by now that there is a nasty Mac virus going around today. The BackDoor.Flashback.39 has already affected up to 600,000 Mac computers today. Wow. I used to have many people that boasted about the greatness of Macs and how they do not get viruses or problems. At the time I was a PC/Mac technician so I always said “Well, if that were true I probably would not have a job.”

Sure, Macs may be affected less than PC’s. But you still have to be careful. So what should you do? Just like PCS, you need to install virus protection and take steps to make sure that you do not get infected.

#1. Check to See if Your Mac is Infected: Since so many Macs have been infected, many without user error, you should check your Mac to make sure you are not infected. To do so follow the simple instructions in this post.

#2. Install Reliable Virus Protection: Peek into the Mac App store (if you are running OS 10.6 or greater) and search Virus. The top FREE choice is Bitdefender.  Once installed be sure to run a full scan of your computer. It got good reviews. I installed it on my Macbook today and initiated a scan. So far it has been scanning for well over an hour and have found and deleted many things mostly in my email files which are stored on the hard drive from using Mac Mail.

#3. Update Mac OS X: Apple released a fix earlier today for Java which is how Macs are being infected with the exploit.  If you have not automatically been prompted to install, then you need to do it manually. Open System Preferences–>Software Update. Click on Check Now. It should come up with Java for OS X 2012-001 version 1.0.

#4. Be Careful Where You Browse. Although today’s particular exploit is said to “get us” even if we are being good, you should still be careful where you browse. Do not download any files that are not from reputable sites, and do not open email attachments (especially executables) from people that you do not know.

Now off you go to protect that Mac!

  • Marty Landa

    Hi LittleTechGirl,

    Although I appreciate you making people aware of the Flashback Trojan malware, I think it’s very important to let people know that this was a malware program that people were tricked into downloading, NOT a virus as you indicate in the title of your article. The post you send people to, to check and see if their Mac is infected is clearly titled “How to Check for the Flashback Trojan in Mac OS X,” and correctly does not refer to it as a “Virus.” You may not think this is important, but there is a huge difference between Trojan malware software that someone downloads unintentionally, and an actual virus that “infects” someones computer without them doing anything, and automatically infects other computers as well.

    The reason why this is important is because Mac users should not be made to fear the infection of their Macs. It’s not just a matter of the fact that 90% of the users in the world are Windows users, and the “fame and glory” for a hacker is not as significant, that causes there to be no viruses on Macs. It’s more because Apple rewrote their entire Mac OS X operating system years ago, and built it on top of the Defense Department developed UNIX operating system, a very stable, reliable, very hacker and virus proof operating system. So although I agree with your recommendations, and advise my own consulting clients to install virus protection software if they want some additional peace of mind, I feel that it is a dis-service to Mac users to make them “fear” infection, and portray the Mac platform as similarly susceptible to viruses, just like the Windows platform which has over 15,000 known viruses.

  • Thanks for this post! I double checked just to be sure. I use NoScript which at times can be a pain in the buttocks, but it is times like this that I am glad I do. I also use MacKeeper. Do you have any thoughts on use of either of these apps? I’ve read both good and bad reviews, but so far, I have managed to stay safe and clean. Thanks again.

  • Tequila B

    Kris thanks for this post, I always thought my Mac could never get viruses, now i know and im glad i checked. Luckily i don’t have any. How often do you think i should run the Terminal script to check for viruses? even when you have good virus protection software?