Can windows malware applications also infect other operating systems such as Linux and Mac?

We’re continuing in our series of blog posts that cover some of the most common questions I get asked about cybersecurity. Here are the last few weeks of questions in case you missed them and want to catch up.

This week’s question: Can windows malware applications also infect other operating systems such as Linux and Mac?

A: Historically, this hasn’t been happening. The executable form of a Windows program isn’t compatible with Linux and Mac (although these two have more in common with each other).

But there are ways to “write once; run anywhere.”

The great example is code written for the Java Runtime Environment, which is installed on over 90% of all desktops and also by default on Android devices.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more cross-platform malicious code in the future.

But, the creators of malicious code would need an incentive to do that. For example, more money can be made (stolen) by targeting multiple platforms rather than focusing on a single one (typically, Windows).

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