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Ask 100 people whether Macs need antivirus and you’ll be looking at close to 100 different answers. The subject of third party antivirus software and Mac security is one of heavy debate. Millions are totally convinced that the standalone Mac antivirus embedded in the operating system itself is more than enough (see this article dedicated to that topic). By contrast, others insist that Macs need antivirus from other antivirus companies or software producers due to inherent security and online privacy issues.
Truth is, Macs are open to the same security vulnerabilities as Windows PCs. The difference with a Mac compared to a Windows system is that Apple products benefit from greater in-built ransomware protection, viruses, malware and other everyday security issues.
However, it was all the way back in 2012 that Apple itself stopped proclaiming that Apple computers and laptops do not get viruses. The claim was withdrawn due to the fact that Macs and Apple devices, in general, do get viruses and may be susceptible to all the usual Mac threats & other malware. That is why we got you covered if you need an antivirus for your work. You can also check out our best gaming antivirus review, or if you are looking for an antivirus with a VPN, click here.
MacOS remains much safer than Windows and other operating systems, but its built-in Mac antivirus security is by no means flawless. Built in security for Mac computers therefore needs to be bolstered by the best antivirus programs for the job. Look no further than this review to find out more about the best antiviruses for Mac systems.
A Growing Security Threat
Here’s an important factor to be aware of – malicious software targeting MacOS an OS X devices increased in prevalence in early 2020 by 50% compared to the year before. As for why it’s a simple case of Mac OS users, in general, have a tendency not to take malware and general real-time protection seriously.
The fact that you don’t protect your Mac properly with third party Mac security isn’t something that’s escaped the attention of cyber criminals.
Roughly translated, they’re fully aware people don’t tend to secure their Macs in the same way as the average Windows user, and they plan their attacks accordingly. Precisely where more advanced antivirus protection for Mac desktops and laptops can prove invaluable.
Do I Need Antivirus for Mac?
The short answer is yes – Mac users really need antivirus protection for their Macs.
It’s up to you and you alone to protect your machine and keep it safe (see our AVG safety post).
Free Mac antivirus software is available, but few (if any) free antivirus apps provide the coverage you need.
Hence, the best way is to simply bite the bullet and secure your Mac using a tried, tested and trusted antivirus software package from a leading developer, like AVG, for example.
Why are Macs becoming such popular targets?
Increasingly, hackers and cyber criminals are targeting Mac users with greater prevalence than ever before. Keeping your PC or MacBook protected from all possible vulnerabilities has never been more important, for the following four reasons:
1. Apple’s Mac devices and laptops are getting more popular all the time, resulting in more targets worldwide for hackers to direct their attacks at.
2. The demographics Apple’s Mac products appeal to most tend to be more affluent, making them attractive targets for data hijacking, identity theft and so on.
3. They don’t realize it, but a sizeable proportion of the Mac community is quite naïve in its assumptions about how well protected their devices really are.
4. In the meantime, Windows is becoming increasingly secure and making it difficult for hackers to gain access to important files and data.
One of the biggest problems of the whole security issue is how you often don’t realize there’s a problem until you quite hopelessly have infected files in the system. At which point, attempting to repair the damage done isn’t easy.
Hence, online protection from anything and everything malicious like malicious code, malicious websites and malicious software is the only viable option for keeping your data, files, and Mac safe.
Do Macs have built in antivirus?
One of the more appealing aspects of MacOS over other operating systems is that it features its own built-in malware detection system. A feature that’s being enhanced and improved all the time, enabling it to detect more zero-day threats than most comparable in-house security suites.
Some of the security features you gain access to if you use Apple’s Mac devices include the following:
• Gatekeeper: Gatekeeper has been designed to ensure that anything that hasn’t been formally approved by Apple is blocked from running on your computer unless you authorize it to do so.
• XProtect: The XProtect feature monitors for malware or signs of malicious intent, preventing anything suspicious from being installed on your machine. It’s also updated regularly to keep up with the latest known viruses, block threats, and potential vulnerabilities.
• Malware removal tool: Should anything sinister (or suspected as such) be found on your machine, the built in anti-malware removal tool deals with known malware and new threats accordingly.
Even so, it’s down to the user to ensure they keep their computer and their apps up to date, in order to keep up with all new and existing threats. Automatic security updates should therefore be enabled, which you will find in the ‘System Preferences’ menu.
How to keep your Mac computer secure
When you begin taking the whole malware and virus protection thing for granted, you leave yourself wide open to various types of attacks like ransomware attacks & malware attacks. As with all types of computers and OS, proactivity holds the key to keeping things secure. This means plugging as many ‘gaps’ as possible in your Mac built-in security coverage, which can be helped with the following:
• Enable your firewall: Keep your firewall active at all times and consider boosting it with a third-party firewall as part of a separate security suite.
• Disable Java: It’s advisable to disable Java as not only is it largely outdated and unnecessary, but it’s also rife with vulnerabilities.
• Restrict access to your computer: Important at work and elsewhere, never leave your machine unlocked or allow anyone else to use it without your direct supervision.
• Never open unknown files: Unless you know exactly where it came from and who sent it, treat any file you receive as a potential security threat.
• Be wary of unverified software: Be extremely careful with the apps and programs you install and use, sticking exclusively with those that have been tried, tested and verified by top rated & trusted independent testing labs.
• Use strong passwords: Along with assigning the strongest possible passwords in the first place, they need updates on a regular basis.
• Keep your software updated: As already touched upon, make sure you enable automatic security updates to protect your computer at all times.
In addition to the above, setting yourself up with the best antivirus suite you can lay your hands on (see AVG and Panda) should be considered mandatory. Install Mac antivirus software and much of the work is taken out of your hands, or at least made that little bit easier.
Which Antivirus is Best for Mac?
Picking up a Mac antivirus software and apps for the first time can be daunting, given just how many options there are to choose from. As with Windows PCs and mobile devices in general, the rule of thumb is to stick with one of the market’s leading developers and top-rated apps recommended by experts.
Here are the best Mac antivirus software options (we reviewed AVG packages and went to AVG troubleshooting elsewhere) you could install for added protection include the following, which are listed in no particular order:
Always one of the safest options to go with, Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac ticks all the right boxes at an affordable price. For around $40.00 per year, you get everything from webcam protection, spying security to phishing sites protection to content filters and so much more. It can even remove other potentially unwanted programs, files, & folders from your system.
A powerhouse that needs no introduction, Norton 360 Deluxe provides total protection for up to five devices simultaneously, along with an impressive unlimited VPN for safe and discreet browsing. It’s also a bargain at $40.00 for the first year, though increases in price to $100 per year thereafter.
Available with a reassuring 30-day money back guarantee, Intego Mac Internet Security X9 excels as it was designed specifically and exclusively for Apple devices. It’s not simply a spinoff of a Windows-focused antivirus suite, so it knows its way around MacOS better than most. It also excels as great malware protection. anti-spyware and phishing scam detection.
One of the biggest points of appeal with VIPRE Advanced Security is the sheer number of features and functionalities it brings to the table. It’s not the easiest to get to grips with as a newcomer, but nonetheless rivals Norton, McAfee antivirus and Bitdefender in terms of both performance and value for money.
Outstanding performance at an affordable price, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac combines a Biblical array of features with the reassurance of a 30-day money back guarantee. If you’re not totally convinced after putting it to the test, they’ll provide you with a refund – no questions asked. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac boasts one of the best VPNs in the business (as part of an antivirus software suite).
Does free antivirus software provide adequate protection?
Rounding things off, it’s a tale of two halves with free antivirus tools. On one hand, you could (quite rightly) argue that a free third-party protection suite is better that no additional protection whatsoever. On the other, free security software is nowhere near as robust as its paid counterpart, though has a tendency to lead many users into a false sense of security.
In addition, free version of software often brings the irritation of annoying popups, reminders and pushy sales pitches into the equation.
In conclusion: Is antivirus recommended for Mac?
Yes! Built-in Mac protection is a decent option for getting to grips with how Mac security software works, but in most instances cannot be considered a viable long-term solution in its own right.
1. How do I check my Mac for malware?
Step by step procedure on How to check your Mac for malware.
- Download and install an antivirus program.
- Launch the app and initiate a full scan
- Conduct a virus scan
- Wait until the scan is complete before examining the results.
- Eliminate detected threats and undesirable components from your Mac.
2. What is the best malware removal for Mac?
- Kaspersky - Always one of the safest options to go with, Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac ticks all the right boxes at an affordable price.
- Norton - A powerhouse that needs no introduction, Norton 360 Deluxe provides total protection for up to five devices simultaneously (see also in-depth comparison of Norton and AVG).
- Intego - Available with a reassuring 30-day money back guarantee, Intego Mac Internet Security X9 excels as it was designed specifically and exclusively for Apple devices.
- VIPRE - One of the biggest points of appeal with VIPRE Advanced Security is the sheer number of features and functionalities it brings to the table.
- Bitdefender - Outstanding performance at an affordable price, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac combines a Biblical array of features (see our earlier comparison of AVG and Bitdefender, too).
All the said antivirus does not have a noticeable impact on your system performance than some antivirus rivals.
3. Does Apple recommend Clean my Mac?
Mac OS does not require any type of cleaning application. The majority of them will clean so thoroughly that they will delete necessary system files. Apple makes no endorsements of any third-party software, which is why you must install third-party apps for antivirus software such as Lookout for example.
4. Can Mac get malware?
Yes, Mac is susceptible to virus infection. Regrettably, adware, malware can infect your MacBook, iMac, or Mini Mac edition. Although Mac is less vulnerable than Windows devices, computer worms and hackers can still attack them successfully.
5. Will resetting Mac remove virus?
It does remove computer worms and malware, but not always. If your PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android devices become infected with a virus, performing a factory reset may help remove it. A factory reset, on the other hand, should always be approached with caution. You will lose access to all of your personal data.
6. Is Avast premium good for Mac?
Yes, Avast Premium Security works well on Mac machines. Avast identified and quarantined 89% of samples, matching Clario and F-Secure Safe for Mac. Webroot detected 100% of the Windows samples, while no other antivirus outperformed Avast in this malware collection.
7. Should I install Trend Micro on my Mac?
Yes, you should install Trend Micro on your Mac. Mac premium antivirus like Trend Micro Antivirus provides lab-certified security in addition to a robust set of additional functions. However, keep in mind that the antivirus is the standout feature; some of the extra functions are rather restricted. While Trend Micro can help keep your Mac secure, some applications are more generous.