Macs were known to be immune to viruses and other cyber-attacks. This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Gone are the days when Mac users didn’t need to worry about malicious software. Macs are more secure than most computers but hackers continue finding ways to infiltrate them. There are now many ways for viruses and other threats to find their way into your precious Mac.
According to a report in 2018, Mac malware and other viruses have increased by 270%. It also mentions that there were 16 million recorded instances of Mac malware in 2020. This makes it one of this year’s most popular attacks. The increasing popularity of Macs made it a more attractive target for cyber-criminals.
Apple introduced Mac OS X in response to this increase in malware attacks. Their main goal is to improve Mac security with the following built-in features:
Quarantine - This feature prompts users to think twice before opening files they’ve downloaded. However, it has a serious flaw. It stops you from opening documents tagged as quarantined even though they are malware-free. It also doesn’t work well against executable programs. They can launch themselves by exploiting your browser’s vulnerabilities.
XProtect - This prevents you from opening files and programs with malware. Its limitation is it only works if a file or program carries a signature from known malware software. Its detection rate is not that impressive. You will have to update its database regularly. If you don’t, you will become susceptible to newer attacks.
Gatekeeper - This restricts users from downloading applications that were not reviewed by Mac App Store’s developers. Registering as a developer does not cost much though. This means that some hackers can easily get through Gatekeeper’s protocols.
Malware removal tool - Mac OS X now comes with a built-in malware removal tool (MRT). It can only detect malware and remove it as soon as you restart your computer. Unlike Mac antivirus software, it cannot detect threats - it only reacts to them.
Despite Mac OS X’s improved security, it would be wise to invest in antivirus software. Quarantine, XProtect, Gatekeeper, and Mac’s malware removal tools are not enough to keep you safe from various threats. You have to recognize their limitations and look for security software that can supplement them.
Now that you know that Macs are not as secure as they were before, the next step is to look for an effective antivirus. It sounds simple but the whole process can be quite challenging. Comparing antivirus features and sifting through user reviews will take some time. The good news is, if you know what to look for, it will be much easier to find the best antivirus for your machine.
Getting dizzy with all the information on antivirus software out there? Here’s a list of the most important features you should look for.
Non-intrusive virus scans - Some antivirus apps can significantly slow down your Mac while running in the background. Make sure to look for a program that does its job without compromising its speed and performance.
Compatibility with your devices - Looking for an antivirus that you can use for your Mac and your mobile devices? Choose security software that’s compatible with all the devices you own.
Comprehensive, real-time scanning - The key to protecting your Mac is to find a program that can detect threats in real-time. This prevents you from getting malware, ransomware, and other threats. Always remember that prevention is key. If your Mac antivirus can accurately detect incoming threats, you won’t have to worry about dealing with them in the future.
Excellent customer service and support - Most antivirus programs have fancy websites that promise 24/7 customer support. Unfortunately, some of them fail to deliver. Make sure to look for a company that sends regular updates on new security issues. They should always look out for emerging threats and find ways to address them.
Money-back guarantee - When looking for Mac antivirus, always choose a product that offers a money-back guarantee. This way, you can cancel anytime without forfeiting your monthly or annual payment.
Note that most antivirus companies now offer free virus protection for Mac. If they have all of the features above then it’s worth looking into their free trial. Hey, they’re free, so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose!