Malware vs Virus: How to Protect Your Mac Against Both

Pappi Hex

While it may appear that they both do the same thing, there are differences between a malware vs virus problem. This guide will show you how to prevent both.

While Apple software is pricey, many people decide to get a Mac over a Windows system because of its amazing specs. One of these specs is how wonderful Macs are at keeping your computer safe. Many people wrongly believe this means Apple computers are safe from ever getting infected, but this is not true. 

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In fact, this idea is causing malware and virus infections on Macs to outpace that of PCs. How can you protect your mac from these attacks and what is the difference between malware vs virus? Keep reading to get the answers to these questions.

Malware vs Virus

Some people think when their computer is infected, they have a virus and only a virus. Malware could also infect your Mac, and it is helpful to learn what each one is. Malware is a broad term that describes a variety of unwanted, malicious codes that may infect your OS. Malware includes viruses, worms, adware, spyware, trojans, and more.

A virus, on the other hand, is more specific. It is a type of malware that is made to replicate itself and spread on an OS. Viruses are the oldest type of software that spreads by gluing itself to programs and files. When you look at it this way, viruses are a type of malware, but not all malware are viruses. 

Can Apple Computers Get Infected With Malware and Viruses? 

If you're still wondering whether or not a Mac can get a virus, the answer is yes, they can. Apples are not immune to viruses or malware even though the chances of getting these infections are low if you protect your OS the right way. There are four types of Malware that are most likely to get that range from just being a hindrance to actually damaging your software. 

  1. Trojan Horses
  2. Viruses
  3. Ransomware
  4. Adware
Trojan horses are made to steal your personal information. Hackers attempt to steal user keychains, passwords, credit card information, PINS, and usernames. Trojans are designed to trick you and they mask themselves as legit programs in order to get users to open them.

You ever heard of the Trojan horse from the Trojan War? Yep. Same idea. 

Viruses, as you now know, are a type of malware, that damages your PC by replicating itself. The way you "activate" the virus on your PC is by performing an action such as clicking a link or opening a file or attachment. 

Ransomware, as the name may tell you, is designed to give users the ultimate choice. They either need to "pay a fee" to unlock and use their PC or reclaim certain data otherwise they will lose that data. This is one of the more obvious infections, but, there are those who are clueless when it comes to infections, you may fall for this. 

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Adware is another infection you could probably guess what happens from the name. It's not malicious, but the annoying pop-ups that appear on your Mac can get annoying. These ads may later lead you to malicious sites that attempt to steal your data. Adware can also deliver the information they get on your Mac and share it with other parties. 

Keeping Your Mac Safe From Both

When you want to know how to get rid of malware on Mac, you should know there's no single solution. If you already have an infection, you have to remove it by finding the source. If you don't have an infection, you still want to take steps to ensure your Mac remains free of malware and viruses. 

Keep Your OS Up to Date 

Keeping your Mac up to date at all times is the easiest way to prevent your OS from infection. Updates are made to patch security vulnerabilities that are found. When you don't update your OS, you risk leaving your system open, void of system protection. 

These updates should start on their own, but will not update if you turned that setting off. If you prefer to keep it off, remember to check the App Store for updates or check or notification alerts. 

Only Install Trustworthy Software and Uninstall Those That Cause OS Issues 

Stay away from unknown or sketchy applications that are not approved in the App store. Anytime you want to download anything, you should always do so in the App Store or at the software's official website. Avoid downloading software anywhere else. 

If you did download an unknown software you believe is infecting your Mac, you need to uninstall it. You will have an idea you have an infection if your OS is running slow, you are getting dozens of pop-ups, or you experience browser issues. 

Keep System Identity Protection Enabled 

System Identity Protection, or SIP, makes it impossible for anything other than an Apple update to change anything on the system. When it's enabled, nothing outside the OS can change a thing without your permission. Some people may want to disable this in order to add tweaks to their system, but this is a hazardous idea that exposes your OS. 

Perform Malware and Antivirus Scans on Mac 

Remember, Macs aren't invincible. It's not a crazy idea to install a trust antimalware or antivirus software on your OS. So long as the software you use is official and is compatible with a Mac OS, you can use any. 

Ensure Optimal Security on Your Mac 

Macs can and do get malware and viruses without proper protection. This doesn't mean Apple OS systems are insecure. All PCs are vulnerable to attacks at some level, especially with hackers constantly attempting new methods to invade into the software. 

The best thing you can do to make sure your Apple Mac is free from attacks is to keep your system updated and protect your system. If you believe you have an infection, you should differentiate whether you have malware vs virus in order to find and eliminate the source. Don't leave your Mac unprotected and use malware and virus protection. 

If you found this article helpful and enjoy reading technology-related topics, feel free to check out more posts on our website. 

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