Wondering if you really need antivirus for your MacBook or Mac OS X device? Our experts explain the benefits of using antivirus for your Mac, where to get free Mac antivirus and the best ways to keep safe from malware.
The Benefits of Using an Antivirus for Mac
Why Do I Need Antivirus for Mac?
“I don’t need virus protection – I’m a Mac user!” I hear you cry. Uh-oh… this is a common misconception, and a very dangerous one at that.
Where does this myth come from? Well, back in the day, it was largely true. You could indeed own an Apple Mac computer and not have to worry about getting viruses, but only because no one had gotten around to creating them!
Because almost everyone owned Microsoft products, hackers and cybercriminals concentrated on developing malware that would exploit specific vulnerabilities in these operating systems. Lucky old Mac users simply weren’t big enough fish to fry.
That’s just not the case anymore.
These days, Macs are enormously popular – and that makes them a target for viruses and other forms of malware. While Apple is very security-conscious and its operating systems tend to be harder to infiltrate than Windows ones, they are certainly not immune.
A few years back, the Flashback Trojan infiltrated more than 500,000 Macs, and since then there have been more and more attacks on Mac devices. More recently in 2016, the first massive piece of ransomware hit Mac users around the world.
Continue reading to learn what kind of coverage you need with you antivirus for Mac, and how to find the best antivirus software for your needs.
What Do I Need?
Not all Mac antivirus suites are created equally, and to avoid getting caught without protection, it’s important to invest in a comprehensive antivirus package or internet security suite to keep your beloved MacBook and Apple devices malware-free.
This best virus protection should be designed to tick along in the background, allowing both for manual and real-time scans, and keeping your computer safe from all the usual suspects: viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and other forms of malware.
Ideally, you should choose a system that also provides plenty of privacy and security features, such as two-way firewalls, social media protection and, if you have kids, plenty of parental controls.
McAfee, for example, has some of the most comprehensive features on the market today and you can read our expert McAfee review to learn more.
Research the Options
When it comes to the specifics, there are a range of options for antivirus for Mac. Just like their Windows-centered counterparts, these vary in price, performance and overall quality.
To start with, there are the free services, trials and special offers. While there are fewer decent free antivirus tools available for Mac, you can indeed get antivirus Mac free. A handful that provide free basic coverage include Avast, Avira, and Sophos.
Then there are the much better paid / premium services, which you can typically purchase by annual subscription, download directly from the vendor’s website and easily install on your Mac. Again, bear in mind that not all internet security companies provide antivirus for Mac, though.
If you need to cover a range of devices, opt for antivirus from someone like BitDefender, which provides superb protection for any kind of computer and can be managed from a central dashboard (read our expert Bitdefender review here). If you don’t have any Windows devices to cover, Intego is another excellent option that creates virus protection exclusively for Mac.
Don’t Take the Risk!
Although the Mac is still relatively new to viruses, these are proliferating fast and it’s essential to ensure you’re thoroughly protected. What’s more, if you shop or bank online, especially using public Wi-Fi, you are vulnerable to hacks and identity theft no matter what device you use.
To get the most out of your Mac antivirus software, run scans at least once per week, especially if you frequently browse the web. Even better, keep the program’s shields running in the background at all times so that your computer is thoroughly protected.
The best antivirus programs can do this without slowing you down. In fact, some even offer performance-enhancing tools to keep your machine running in top-top condition.
Want to learn more about the best antivirus for Mac? See our top antivirus software reviews here.