Are there viruses on Android, Mac OS X, Linux, and iOS?

Are there viruses on Android, Mac OS X, Linux, and iOS?

Viruses, Trojans, and other types of malware are a serious and common problem on the Windows platform. Even with the latest Windows 8 (and 8.1) operating system, despite numerous security enhancements, it is not immune.

And what about other operating systems? Are there viruses in Apple's Mac OS? On Android and iOS mobile devices? Is it possible to catch a Trojan using Linux? I will talk about all this briefly in this article.

Why are there so many viruses in Windows?

Not all malware targets the Windows operating system, but most are. One of the main reasons is the widespread and popular use of this operating system, but it is not the only factor. Since the beginning of Windows development, security has not been a major concern, as it is, for example, on UNIX-like systems. And all popular operating systems except Windows have UNIX as their predecessor.

Today, when it comes to software installation, Windows has developed a rather peculiar pattern of behavior: programs are searched from various (often unreliable) sources on the Internet and installed, while other operating systems have their own Centralized and relatively secure application stores, from which tested programs are installed.

Yes, Windows 8 and 8.1 also have an application store, but the most necessary and well-known "desktop" programs are still downloaded by the user from different sources.

Are there viruses for Apple Mac OS X?

As mentioned, most malware is developed for Windows and cannot work on Mac. Although Mac viruses are much less common, they do exist. Infections can occur, for example, through the Java plug-in in the browser (so it has not been included in the operating system lately), by installing pirated programs, and in a few other ways.

Recent versions of the Mac OS X operating system use the Mac App Store to install applications. If a user needs a program, they can find it in the app store and be sure that it does not contain malicious code or viruses. No need to search other sources on the Internet.

In addition, the operating system includes technologies such as Gatekeeper and XProtect, the first of which prevents programs that are not properly signed from running on the Mac, and the second is analogous to an antivirus, which checks the applications that are running for virus.

Thus, there are viruses for the Mac, but they appear much less frequently than for Windows and the probability of infection is lower, due to the use of different principles when installing programs.

Android virus

Viruses and malware for Android exist, as do antivirus for this mobile operating system. However, you should consider the fact that Android is a widely protected platform. By default, applications can only be installed from Google Play, in addition, the application store itself scans applications for virus code (lately).

The user has the option to disable the installation of applications only from Google Play and download them from third-party sources, but when installing Android 4.2 and higher, it will ask you to analyze the downloaded game or program.

Generally speaking, if you are not the type of user to download hacked Android apps and only use Google Play to do so, then you are largely protected. Also, the Samsung, Opera, and Amazon app stores are relatively safe. You can read more about this in the article Does Android need an antivirus?

IOS devices: are there viruses on iPhones and iPads?

Apple's iOS operating system is even more closed than Mac OS or Android. Therefore, when using the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad and downloading applications from the Apple App Store, the probability of downloading a virus is almost zero, because this application store is much more demanding for developers and each program is checked manually.

In the summer of 2013, a study (from the Georgia Institute of Technology) showed that it is possible to bypass the verification process by publishing an application on the App Store and including malicious code in it. However, even if this occurs, as soon as the vulnerability is discovered, Apple has the ability to remove all malware on all Apple iOS devices. By the way, similarly, Microsoft and Google can remotely uninstall installed apps from their stores.

Malware for Linux

The virus writers do not work especially in the direction of Linux, because this operating system is used by a small number of users. Furthermore, Linux users are mostly more experienced than the average computer owner, and most trivial methods of spreading malware simply won't work for them.

As with the operating systems mentioned above, Linux, in most cases, uses a kind of application store - the Package Manager, the Ubuntu Software Center, and the tested repositories of these applications. - to install the software. There is no way to run viruses designed for Windows on Linux, and even if you do (in theory, you can), they will not work and will be harmful.

But viruses for Linux exist. The most difficult thing is to find them and get infected, it is required at least to download a program from a dark site (and the probability that it contains a virus is minimal) or to receive an email and execute it, confirming your intentions. In other words, it is as likely as African diseases to be in the middle belt of Russia.

I think I have been able to answer your questions about the availability of viruses for various platforms. I should also point out that if you have a Chromebook or Windows RT tablet - you are practically virus proof too (Unless you start installing Chrome extensions from an unofficial source).

Keep an eye on your safety.


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