Viruses rarely discriminate. The only prejudice most malicious software harbors is a penchant for processing. If it runs, it infects. Always. For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to expound on the differences between a virus, trojan, bug, zombie, or any of the countless ways malicious code can get into your gear.
I’ve been in far too many discussions with Mac users claiming Macs are immune, or Linux users claiming nobody writes viruses for Linux, or Windows users who say Virus software isn’t needed if you’re careful. Art is subjective, software isn’t, and the plain truth about code is that it infects. While there are still a few instances of college kids hacking away code for relatively benign purposes – like turning everyone’s computer clock back six months, or setting home pages to gay porn sites just for laughs – the truth is malicious software is big business. Infected PC’s send billions of spam messages every day without their users ever knowing they were even infected. And if you’re in the business of writing malicious code, you target the biggest install base – Windows-based PC’s.
But big install targets aren’t the only targets. Macs are just as susceptible to infection as PC’s, but being a lower percentage of the PC market, there simply aren’t as many people targeting Macs because there’s less return on that programming investment. The more popular Macs become, the more that will change.
Do yourself a favor and don’t be a fool. Your computer use habits only matter if you never connect to the internet, never read e-mail, and have no means of installing software – which probably means you’re using a calculator.
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