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I recently got a Mac, and am transferring files from my old Windows laptop which had kept freezing with very high hard-drive activity, and may or may not be infected with malware. I'm wondering if there's a chance of my Mac being infected by malware from photos, documents, videos and music transferred from a Windows machine?

If so, which antivirus would you recommend me to get on my Mac? Are Sophos and Avira any good?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The short answer is "No, your Mac should not get infected".

The a bit longer answer is "it depends". You should be fine with photos, videos and music, but there might a very small risk with documents (depending on the format) and anything html-related (which might access a malware server or something). But given the current state of malware on OS X I wouldn't worry too much.

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While your Mac won't show any symptoms of infection by Windows malware, it can carry and pass Windows viruses on to other computers or networks. Think of your Mac like a Typhoid Mary if it is housing any Windows malware.

Your Mac can get infected with Mac malware, which is a growing threat these days.

I would't bother putting any Windows antivirus software on your Mac. I recommend Intego, an Apple antivirus company that focuses on protecting Macs. You can check them out here: http://www.intego.com/products

Hope this help!

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Do you have sources/references which show that malware on OS X is a growing threat? –  patrix Feb 15 '13 at 19:10
Fine, but where exactly? Without some clear source it seems to be rather speculations based on rumors. –  patrix Feb 15 '13 at 20:46
It's a trend I noticed being reported on more often. Here are some sources: May 18, 2011: pcworld.com/article/228183/… September 27, 2011: pcadvisor.co.uk/news/desktop-pc/3306522/… June 6, 2012: govtech.com/security/… October 8, 2012: forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/10/08/… –  Martin Feb 15 '13 at 20:50
→ martin: could you add ClamXav clamxav.com? I'm using it at a professionnal level on a set of thousands Mac (10.5 → 10.8), with positive and correct results. –  daniel Azuelos May 10 '13 at 8:36
→ martin: Typhoid Mary = excellent allegory! –  daniel Azuelos May 10 '13 at 8:41

It won't affect your Mac. But it may infect other Windows systems that your Mac comes in contact with.

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