There have been long-standing perceptions that Macs are safer than Windows-based, even going as far as to create ads saying that “Mac don’t get PCs Viruses”, implying that if you are putting your data at much greater risk if you aren’t in Mac platform.
But how much truth is there to this claim well, around the 2012 - 2013 timeframe it was estimated that one third (1/3) of the world’s computers were infected with some sort of malware, and when you look at only Macs that number was less than 3%, well since numbers don’t lie Mac must be safer.
Well, it depends on what exactly you mean by safer, you see while it’s true that there are fewer threats out there designed to attack Macs compared to Windows PCs, the reasons for that might not be what you think, worldwide just over three-quarters of desktop computers run some variant of Microsoft Windows with Mac OS 10 a very distant second at just over 12% market share.
That means that the simple truth is that black hat hackers and cybercriminals see more value in targeting Windows, it’s kind of like how you are more likely to see a pickpocket operating in the tourist district of a large city compared to in a small town in the middle of nowhere. If you go back to Apple’s claim that Mac doesn’t get PCs Viruses, it’s not hard to figure out that while it is technically true it was designed to mislead.
While Windows and Mac OS are very different operating systems in terms of their underlying code with modern versions of Windows based on the Windows NT kernel and Mac OS instead based on UNIX there isn’t about Mac OS that makes it inherently more secure instead the differences between Windows and Mac OS mean that while malware often has to be coded separately for each platform a Mac isn’t necessarily more difficult to attack or less vulnerable than a Windows PCs.
So saying Mac PCs don’t get PC viruses? No. But at the end of the day does it matter why fewer viruses that can infect you exist, I mean maybe you should have switched to a Mac and reduced your odds of getting a malware infection simply by playing the numbers well there is a legitimate argument to be made there. But here is the thing, using a safer platform is no excuse to drop your guard while it is true that there are fewer exploits out there for Mac.
These days it’s much more common for the bad guys to steal your data by employing social engineering anyway. Social engineering includes tactics like phishing attacks that are designed to trick you into giving up your information through compromised websites such strategies are independent of what platform you are using.
So simply by paying attention and not clicking on suspect links or downloading questionable files, you are likely to avoid the worst of the malware out there regardless of whether you are a Windows PC or a Mac PC.
Both Microsoft and Apple have developed pretty comprehensive ways of securing users’ systems and neither of them is by means perfect. Both companies invest plenty of resources into finding and patching vulnerabilities.
According to the most recent State of Malware Report from information-security company Malwarebytes, in 2019 the average Mac faced more malware attacks than the average PC did, for the first time.
Not only was there a significant increase in the overall prevalence of threats against Macs in 2019, but the number of attacks per Mac was almost double that of PCs.