How to Protect your Mac from Spyware, Adware and Viruses

by Alexia Petrakos

The Macintosh computer is notoriously impervious to most viruses, spyware and adware that affects Windows-based computers. This is due to the stability and security that the Mac Operating System provides. If by any chance viruses and other malware pop up on the internet, Apple will quickly address these problems with a Software Update.

Browse Safe. Since Internet Explorer is no longer supported for the Mac OS, Safari, Firefox and Opera are three good and relatively secure browsers.

Don't download anything from untrusted sources. Many adware and spyware programs come in the form of an ".exe" executable. Since the Mac OS cannot natively run ".exe" executables, you're safe from malware embedded in these. Still, do not download from unsafe sites.

Make sure your email is secure. Don't download any attachments unless you're expecting them, and disable images. Most email clients for Mac like and Thunderbird have built-in spam filtering.

Boost your privacy settings on your Instant Messaging Programs. All IM programs have privacy settings that allow you to filter who can contact you. Strange IM's from strange people may open your Mac computer to malicious software, adware and perhaps viruses. Don't download anything unless you're absolutely sure it's safe. That includes images.

Disable Macros if you're using Microsoft Office and you're opening a document that originated elsewhere. Office documents are one of the only ways viruses can infect both Mac and a Windows Operating Systems. Keep your Office software updated.


  • check Apple issues updates every so often. Make sure you update your software whenever the "Software Update" window pops up to keep your Mac computer secure.
  • check Norton and McAfee have AntiVirus programs for Mac. Purchase this software at your discretion knowing that there is a lack of viruses for the Mac OS and Apple usually responds to threats quickly by issuing a Security Update.

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About the Author

Alexia Petrakos has been working in the web industry for 10 years, helping clients such as Cartoon Network, CNN, Nascar, CARE USA. Mainly focusing on front-end web coding, she's also done technical writing and QA. Alexia's taught several classes on HTML & Web Development at workplaces and local libraries. Her love for computers was nurtured by her father who always brought home the latest technologies. When she's not geeking out Alexia is often found playing with paint, paper & fabric.

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