Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Can my Mac get virus from Internet or FAT USB?

Big question remains unanswered to this date, ‘Whether a virus can really become serious threat for Mac’? Just to give you an idea, I have been running my Mac from 2011 and to this date I haven’t installed any Antivirus program for Mac. So, doesn’t it makes me compromise with the situation in rapidly changing IT environment?

Being in the data recovery industry I have realized the true meaning of the phrase ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. Data gone forever from a Mac may lead to endless regret of not backing the drive timely.  Similarly, ignoring any potential virus threat for OS X Mac would be an absolute carelessness. If a virus really paralyses a Mac then you may remind this term forever, ‘Look, you were warned’.

How Viruses are always around Mac OS X?

Its good that most of the viruses may not be able to penetrate OS X but the truth is they are always around the OS X. Who knows, may be a much better written malware/virus for Mac can cause calculated damaged. Internet is the biggest source of Trojans, malware for any computer systems and OS X is no exception. Many malware had been jotted down for the OS X in the past. These malware were easily able to penetrate the OS X defence. Most of them came via malicious websites or applications.

A Website runs on a browser and browsers are one of the most potential source to viral any malicious programs. Many a times, stupid pop-up ads & adware are installed through our browsers, which begin to create havoc on Apple file system. Some of these adware are too notorious and forces user to consider reinstalling the OS X again. An unplanned re-installation of OS X can be serious too since chances of loosing recent data is higher. Taking backup of such infected file systems also becomes a cause of worry since restoring them back to the system may create the infected loops again. If you have involved in such situation then consider scanning the formatted drive for recovery of files through formatted Mac file recovery software.

                             Recent threats to Apple Mac & iOS devices – Wirelurker

USB devices too pose enough threats to OS X. Since OS X can read FAT, EXFAT file system, a PC virus can easily corrupt it. Not only Mac file system but also viruses on USBs can damage the device file structure itself. Biggest threat lies in syncing of Apple devices, where other devices such as iPhones, iPad may intake the infection from OS X.

Possible solutions to eliminate a threat from Mac OS X:

Thankfully some geniuses have brought good antivirus software to this world and that too for Mac OS X. There is more than couple of them to download on Mac.
  1. Sophos for Mac (Free)
  2. AVG for Mac (Free)
  3. Antivirus by Max Secure ($15)
  4. Virus Scanner Plus ($30)
Working of Sophos of Mac OS X
  • Download Sophos for free and install
  • Run Sophos and select Apple HDD for scan. Connect any USB device if you want to scan it for threats.
  • You can scan more than one drive simultaneously. Check below image:
  •  Sophos will finish the scan and present you its report. In my case, it detected a threat. See below:

The above virus or spyware appears to be a minor threat or may be it is not a threat at all. Sometimes, even corrupt preference files may appear as malicious to anti-virus software. Best would be to quarantine such files with quarantine manager.