Apple computers have a reputation for being virus-free. Is that reputation deserved? As the popularity of Apple computers has grown, so has the number of malware targeting them. Macs are not immune to malware. Not all anti-virus software is created equal.
In this guide, we review the aspects of Do Apple Computers Need Antivirus Software, do i need antivirus for macbook air, how do i know if i have antivirus software on my mac, and does apple make antivirus software.
Do Apple Computers Need Antivirus Software
Apple computers have a reputation for being virus-free. Is that reputation deserved?
Apple computers have a reputation for being virus-free. Is that reputation deserved? Unfortunately, no. While Macs are less likely to be infected with viruses than Windows PCs, they are still vulnerable to malware of the email and web variety.
As with any piece of software, not all anti-virus programs are created equal; there are many different types available on the market today. Whether you choose one or another will depend on your needs and preferences for security measures on your computer or mobile device.
As the popularity of Apple computers has grown, so has the number of malware targeting them.
As the popularity of Apple computers has grown, so has the number of malware targeting them. Macs are not immune to malware and can be vulnerable to some forms of malicious software.
The number of malware targeting Macs has increased over the past few years, particularly in countries where PCs still dominate. As a result, there is a growing market for malware directed at Apple’s operating system as well as an increase in its overall prevalence throughout the world. The number of new threats targeting Mac computers is increasing every year, so it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself against them and ensure your computer stays safe from viruses and other malicious programs
Macs are not immune to malware.
You might be wondering whether you need antivirus software for your Mac. The short answer is yes, because while Apple computers are not immune to malware and viruses, they do have some built-in protections that make them less vulnerable than Windows computers.
As a general rule, Macs are less likely to be infected by a virus than PCs. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a Mac to get infected with a virus or malware—it just means you probably won’t see as many reports of these infections on the news or in forums as you would if you were using Windows machines at home or work.
Macs need anti-virus software because they are vulnerable to viruses.
Mac computers are not immune to software threats. They need protection from viruses, adware, malware and other dangers that exist online. Macs can also be infected with dangerous software through malicious apps downloaded from the App Store or websites.
Bacteria and viruses can spread quickly on your computer if you don’t have an antivirus program installed on it. One of the biggest problems with Macs is that they don’t have an inbuilt virus protection system built into them like Windows PCs do so it’s important that you install a good antivirus program to protect yourself from any potential threats that may come your way during your web browsing experience
Not all anti-virus software is created equal.
There are many different kinds of antivirus software available, and not all of them are created equal. Some are free, while others have a premium price tag. Some offer better protection than others, and some even have a better reputation than others in the market.
When it comes to choosing between brands and types of anti-virus software for your Mac computer or Apple mobile device, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:
- Do I need an antivirus?
- Which kind is right for me? (free vs paid)
- How much do I want to spend? (cost)
Apple computers are vulnerable to malware and need protection from software threats.
Malware is a general term for any kind of application or file that can be used to disrupt or damage your computer. Malware can come in many forms, including:
- Viruses—programs designed to automatically spread from one computer to another on a network, such as through email attachments or instant messages (IM).
- Trojans—programs that appear benign but actually have hidden malicious functions that are triggered when the victim opens the file or launches the program.
- Worms—similar to viruses except that they don’t need human involvement; worms spread by infecting a vulnerable system and then using it as an intermediary host from which they spread further via a network.
- Bots—also called botnets (a collection of bots), this type of malware uses infected computers without their owners’ knowledge and turns them into zombies for use in criminal activities such as DDoS attacks and spamming campaigns.
Ransomware is perhaps the most notorious type of malware today, especially since its rising popularity coincided with an increase in internet usage around 2012-2013
do i need antivirus for macbook air
Can Macs get viruses? Do you need antivirus software on your Mac? These questions have plagued Mac users for years. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as you think it is. But we’ve broken it all down for you below.
Do Macs Get Viruses?
Macs have been historically considered very safe and secure systems, and the general belief is that Macs are invulnerable to viruses and malware. Unfortunately, this is quite untrue. Viruses and other malware can infect Macs as much as they do other systems. Security firms have actually uncovered several threats and malware specifically targeted at Macs.
Macs have a lot of built-in features and protections that can prevent malware from infecting them. These include Gatekeeper and XProtect (more on them below). But they are not foolproof protections, and you may need additional protection on your Mac.
What Are the Built-In Mac Security Features?
Your Mac has many built-in security features to keep it safe. It may surprise you to know that your Mac already runs an anti-malware scanner in the background called XProtect.
Whenever you open a file, XProtect scans and checks it against known macOS malware. Thus, if any file is suspicious, you’ll see a warning that the file may damage your computer.
Another technology incorporated into macOS is Gatekeeper. This prevents unknown applications from causing harm. Gatekeeper blocks all software that isn’t signed with an Apple-issued developer certificate from opening on your Mac, unless you specifically authorize it.
Unsigned software isn’t always harmful—lots of free software developers can’t justify the $99 required to enter Apple’s Developer Program and issue certificates. It’s just more common to see malware from unsigned applications than apps downloaded from the Mac App Store or signed with an Apple-issued developer certificate.
macOS also uses sandboxing. As the name suggests, sandboxing refers to providing the app with all the bare essentials it needs to perform its purpose, and nothing else. When you run an app in a sandbox, you limit what it can do and provide additional permissions based on input.
Can Viruses Bypass My Mac’s Security Features?
Viruses and other malware are often stopped in their tracks by macOS. However, if the malware has been recently developed or hasn’t been seen before, Apple has no way of knowing it could be harmful to your system—hence it could circumvent the security features. These are referred to as zero-day threats and won’t be identified by your Mac until Apple updates its databases.
Malware has also been found in software with Apple developer certificates. For example, in June 2019, OSX/CrescentCore was discovered posing as an Adobe Flash Player Installer disk image. The malware installed an app on your system, either Advanced Mac Cleaner, Launch Agent, or a Safari extension. It then checked your Mac for antivirus software. If the system was unprotected, it would exploit the machine. OSX/CrescentCore was signed with a developer certificate, so it infected machines for days before Apple caught it.
Whenever a security threat is identified, Apple normally reacts quickly and issues a security update to the latest version of macOS and the two previous versions. This keeps your Mac safe from known vulnerabilities and flaws in macOS that could be used by hackers.
Do I Need Antivirus Software for My Mac?
Although Apple’s security system is fairly good, it’s not foolproof. As discussed above, Apple’s security mechanisms rely heavily on Apple identifying and tagging malware and viruses so that it can update its databases against them. This, in turn, keeps macOS systems safe from vulnerabilities. Since Apple isn’t a dedicated security company, it doesn’t keep track of nearly as many threats as third-party products.
Antivirus software steps in here. Having antivirus software installed on your Mac provides an additional layer of security on your Mac, which isn’t a bad thing. Antivirus software isn’t essential, but having it can be an additional benefit, even if it’s not “essential” for a Mac.
It is important to note that antivirus software is not foolproof either. Even with antivirus software, your Mac could fall victim to a new, undocumented infection. If you follow some basic practices (covered at the end of this article), the chances of infection remain low.
Which Antivirus Should I Install on My Mac?
There are many paid and free antivirus apps available for macOS. You must take care that you only use antivirus software from trusted companies and beware the software doesn’t slow your system down. For this reason, we recommend choosing from our list of the top antivirus software for macOS.
How Can I Keep My Mac Safe From Malware?
Apple offers built-in security features to keep your Mac safe, but there are some general tips for you to help avoid malware on your system.
Keep macOS Up to Date
Keeping macOS up to date with the latest version can keep your computer safe. Apple addresses flaws and vulnerabilities with the Mac by issuing regular updates to the Mac operating system, so it is important to make sure your system is up to date.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks can be handy for getting online on the go, but other people spying on the network could gain access to your passwords or your private information. Try to use a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal Wi-Fi hotspot instead of a public Wi-Fi network. If you need to use one, avoid transmitting any secure or sensitive data (such as credit card data) over the public network.
Watch Out for Phishing or Spam Emails
Malware is commonly found in phishing or spam emails. These usually contain a seemingly authentic link that many users fall for. The link installs malware on your system that can damage it and hijack your data. It’s important to note that most antivirus programs don’t protect against phishing emails or scams, so it’s vital that you avoid them yourself if you want to keep your Mac protected.
Don’t Install Adobe Flash Player
Adobe discontinued Flash Player on December 31, 2020, and for good reason. Many security firms have recommended not to install Flash Player, as a lot of malware is introduced in the form of fake Flash Player updates.
For example, people who want to download or watch a video or movie online (for free) find that they need to update the Flash player from the host’s website in order to view the content. This fake “update” contains malware, which then infects your system.
Flash has now been replaced by HTML5, so there is no need to install or use Adobe Flash anymore.
Keep Your Mac Protected!
According to Malwarebytes, the number of identified serious malware attacks on Mac computers increased by 61 percent from 2019 to 2020. Thus, it’s important that you take extra care of your system. We also recommend you make a backup of your data, in case things ever do go south!
how do i know if i have antivirus software on my mac
You can see which version of macOS you are running from the Apple menu > About This Mac. Hopefully you aren’t running any antivirus app.
does apple make antivirus software
For many years, most Mac users assumed that their computers were safe from the viruses that attacked PCs. For a while, that was true. But these days, bad actors are creating malware that targets Macs and can take over your computer and steal your personal financial information. So do you need antivirus software on your Mac, or does the computer have built-in antivirus protection? The answer is more complicated than you might think.
Do Macs Have Built-in Antivirus Software?
Since 2009, Apple has included XProtect, Apple’s proprietary antivirus software, on all Macs. XProtect scans all applications and files for viruses and malware using a database of threats that Apple updates daily. If XProtect detects malware on a file or application, it notifies the user and blocks the download. Since threats are always changing, the Mac Malware Removal Tool also scans your computer regularly to check that nothing sneaks past XProtect. If the tool identifies malware, it will notify you and remove the dangerous files.
In general, the design of Macs limits damage from malware. The computers automatically quarantine suspicious files, meaning that they can’t access critical system software or change the computer’s core functions. Apple enables these features by default, so you don’t have to worry about getting your settings right.
Do Macs Have Built-in Security?
Macs have several built-in security features designed to protect your computer and information from attackers. These include antivirus software called XProtect and the Mac Malware Removal Tool. Additionally, Macs keep malicious software from causing too much damage with tools like Execute Disable (XD), Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), and System Integrity Protection (SIP) that run in the background to prevent viruses from accessing critical files.1 Apple also updates Macs daily with new virus information, so you don’t need to wait for the next security patch or software update to stay protected.
Our Favorite Antivirus Software to Protect Your Mac
Do Macs Need Antivirus Software?
Most antivirus experts agree that while Apple’s security software is fairly good, it’s not foolproof. XProtect does not identify as many types of potential malware as third-party antivirus software, and gaps in its library of malicious programs can leave users exposed.2 Part of the problem is that the software relies heavily on Apple identifying and tagging malware and viruses, and since Apple isn’t a dedicated security company, it doesn’t keep track of nearly as many threats as third-party products. According to Malwarebytes, the number of serious malware attacks identified on Macs increased by 61 percent from 2019 to 2020, while less malicious adware rates declined, a worrying trend that suggests installing dedicated antivirus software is a wise decision.3 That being said, it’s important to make sure the antivirus you choose works on a Mac, which is why we tested the software we listed as the best antivirus software for Macs.
What Are the Latest Mac Viruses?
Macs face an increasing number of threats. These are a few you should know about:
How to Tell if Your Mac Is Infected
Mac malware and adware can be pretty sneaky. But here are a few telltale signs that might indicate an infection.
Mac Malware Myths
A lot has changed since Macs first came on the market to compete with PCs, and unfortunately, that means some incorrect information and myths have stuck around. We’ll debunk a few falsehoods here.
Myth 1: Macs Are Safe From Malware.
Hackers used to target Macs less frequently because they weren’t as popular as PCs. Now that Macs are very common and PCs have better defenses, malware designed for Macs is on the rise. In fact, antivirus software Malwarebytes reported that it detected 9.8 viruses on average per Mac in 2019, compared with just 4.2 viruses on the average Windows computer. In the same year, a Mac malware program was the second-most frequently detected in the world,6 which is startling, given that Macs comprise only 17 percent of desktops worldwide as of December 2020. In contrast, Windows makes up 77 percent of all desktops, making the disparity in malware detections even more shocking.7
Myth 2: Macs Don’t Have Software Vulnerabilities.
Thanks to strong advertising by Apple, lots of people believe that Mac’s software itself doesn’t have the security openings that Windows does. However, that isn’t true; researchers have identified thousands of vulnerabilities over the years.8
Myth 3: Malware Can’t Take Over Your Mac Without a Password.
Since Macs require your password to install software, many people think they are safe from malware as long as they don’t install anything that looks unfamiliar. However, these days you’re more likely to get infected by visiting a website with malicious code or watching an advertisement. Plus, hackers have gotten a lot better at disguising malware as legitimate programs.
What to Look for in Mac Antivirus
Trying to identify the right antivirus software for your Mac can be daunting. Here are a few things you’ll want to look for:
Free vs. Paid Mac Antivirus
With several robust free antivirus options out there, paid antivirus software can be a hard sell. However, the best antivirus software options for Mac are paid (our favorite is Avast), and we think it’s well worth the small monthly fee to ensure you have the best protection for threats against Macs. Check out our review of Avast to learn why we think it’s the strongest choice.
Mac Antivirus Effect on Performance
Some Mac users don’t install antivirus software because they have concerns about its impact on computer performance. Antivirus software can indeed affect a computer’s speed, but slowdowns range widely — from 1 percent to 51 percent — based on the software and system, according to AV-Test.9
How We Test Mac Antivirus
When we review antivirus options for Macs, we test against five different types of viruses and malware to see if they identify dangerous downloads. We also use the program’s scans to see how well they identify what is already on the computer. We combine that research with extensive data from AV-Labs, a leader in the antivirus industry that tests software against tens of thousands of known viruses, to give us a fuller picture of how well the program can identify malware.
Privacy Concerns With Mac Antivirus
We need to be cautious about the privacy implications of the software we choose, and that includes antivirus programs. We recommend considering a few key questions regarding your antivirus software.
Is the Company Located in a Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes Country?
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes are surveillance alliances in which countries have agreed to turn over data to each other for security or law enforcement reasons. If an antivirus company is based in a country that belongs to one or more of these alliances, that means any country in the alliance can compel the company to turn over your data.
What Type of Encryption Does the Program Use?
There are a few different ways in which companies encrypt your data, and it’s essential to know that your sensitive information is safe. We recommend looking for antivirus software that uses AES 256-bit encryption, the standard the U.S. government uses for top-secret data.
Other Ways to Secure Macs
Besides purchasing antivirus software, you can do a few other things to protect your Mac:
Do Macs Have a Built-in Firewall?
Macs have a built-in firewall, but it is turned off by default. Although Macs are less vulnerable to hacks via incoming connections than PCs are, if you want to be safe, it’s easy to turn on the firewall. Here’s how:
Do Macs Have Built-in VPNs?
Macs have built-in support for connecting to a private company or school’s network, like those you might use to access your work’s servers from home. However, they do not provide a “true” VPN that protects all of your traffic without going through one of those networks. If you’d like to use a third-party VPN, Macs support most VPN apps. However, they do not support OpenVPN, which is a common VPN protocol. You can still use a VPN built on OpenVPN, but you will need to download a third-party app to make the connection. And not all VPNs work equally with Apple products, which is why we rounded up the best VPNs for Mac.