Tech Tips

Do Mac users need antivirus protection?

Apple products are designed with security in mind and many people opt for them due to the features that offer a strong level of protection. If you have a Mac, you may wonder how necessary it is to get additional security software. The truth is that although Macs are considerably more secure than Windows computers, they can still be affected by malware. Apple has implemented a solid security system that can stop malware, but in order to make sure that your device is truly secure, you may want to consider getting an additional layer of protection.

One of the options available is Bitfender, which is known for being an effective solution to protect your computer, without slowing down its performance. TotalAV is another good solution and it is preferred by many, due to its affordability. Although an antivirus program can help you to keep your Mac Mini, Macbook or iMac safe, many people think that malware is a threat that can only affect computers running Windows. While there is no definite answer, we will take a closer look at the question: Do you really need an antivirus application for your Mac?

Malware and macOS

Many people question is malware is really a concern for Mac users. The reality is that although there is less risk for Macs, there is still a chance of being infected with malware. However, Apple has included a file quarantine and the system can check for known malware with great efficiency. This reduces the danger for your computer in case you download and run malicious applications. Still, it is important to keep in mind that the security capabilities of your Mac will depend on the version of the OS that you are running, after all the malware detection feature was originally launched with OS X 10.6.

This feature works in a similar way as antivirus programs and it quarantines the data downloaded from the internet. It uses Code Signing certificates to confirm if the content is legitimate and it downloads security updates on a regular basis, relying on a database of known threats that affect Mac. If you try to open a file downloaded using Safari, Messages or Mail, you will see a dialog box that will show you information on the data you are about to open including where was it downloaded from and when. This allows you to decide if you want to open it or not.

If you try to open a file that is identified as malicious, Mac’s platform (OS X 10.6 and above) will stop you using an alert box that will let you know what file you are trying to open, when it was downloaded and from where. You will also see a description of the issue with the file. If the alert states that the file is malware and could damage your computer, it should be moved to trash, or ejected, in the case of a disk image. As long as you pay attention to the warnings and avoid opening malicious files, your Mac should not be affected by viruses. However, it is crucial that your Mac malware remains updated and in order to ensure that this is the case, you need to follow the below steps:

  1. Click on the Apple icon that is located in the top left corner of the screen and then select System preferences.
  2. Go to the App Store
  3. Make sure that the the tick boxes that appear next to the update options are checked. Keep in mind that all of them should be ticked.

Once you do the above, you can enjoy a good level of protection against malware, but that doesn’t mean that you are completely safe. Your Mac may still be vulnerable because some threats may try to get you to upgrade admin privileges in order to install them. There is also a risk of being targeted by new malware that hasn’t been included yet in Apple’s databases. Since Mac is a popular platform, the amount of threats is on the rise. This is why it is advisable to use additional security. As previously mentioned, Bitfender is a strong antivirus solution that can protect your Mac from malware. Given that the majority of threats that target Mac are adware and spyware, it is important to consider other measures. Below you will see more steps to keep your Mac protected.

  1. The first tip may seem obvious, but it is crucial that you don’t let other people access or install files on your Mac, unless you really trust them.
  2. The option that says “Open ‘safe’ file after downloading” should be unchecked. Go to Safari, Preferences and then General.
  3. Your Mac comes with a firewall, but you need to make sure that it is enabled. Go to System Preferences, then Security and Firewall.
  4. To disable Java in your browser, uncheck “Enable Java” in Safari, then Preferences and Security
  5. Don’t open email attachments or other files received from sources you don’t trust.
  6. Use strong passwords to protect all your online accounts. The passwords should contain at least 8 characters and they should be a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
  7. Only install software from reliable sources and don’t use pirated software
  8. Make sure that your Mac and applications are regularly updated and ensure that you only perform updates from the developer’s site. Never trust pop-ups that appear while you are browsing the internet.

If you follow the above steps, your Mac should be protected. Just make sure that you always keep an eye on the latest Apple security news, in case there are any updates or changes that could have an impact on your Mac.

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