Does your Mac Need Antivirus?

We get this question often, especially from new Mac users. If you are a Mac user, you may wonder about this yourself: Should you get and install an antivirus app? In this article, we will explore how safe and secure your Mac is from viruses, malware, spyware and other dangerous content.

Computer virus

The macOS software is very popular, and this popularity definitely makes it a target for malware and virus authors. It is a well-known fact that these authors are giving Apple’s Mac more attention in recent years. So the important question then becomes whether Mac has good enough built-in protection. This is, in fact, becoming a complicated question.

Users may not like antivirus software, not only because it can be expensive, but also because it can slow down your Mac. However, we all know that viruses and malware are a huge problem in information technology. Criminals develop malware and viruses to steal your personal information. They can harm your Mac’s performance or security. Malicious software can be installed on your computer without your consent, if you are not careful.

Malware is malicious software that includes viruses, worms, spyware and more. And of course, it’s all bad.

Does Mac come with antivirus protection?

Yes, it does. Your Mac includes many security features to safeguard your data:

  • Gatekeeper: This checks your apps for malware. More specifically, Gatekeeper performs checks to verify if any app you installed contains malware and malicious content. It further checks whether the developer’s signing certificate is revoked. This lets you use only trusted software on your Mac.
  • Runtime protection: This technology is designed to protect your system files from vulnerabilities.
  • System Integrity Protection: This is designed to protect your Mac by preventing the execution of unauthorized code – preventing unauthorized modification of protected files and folders on your Mac.
  • XProtect: This is the built-in malware protection and is a part of Gatekeeper. XProtect scans downloaded files for malware.
  • Malware Removal Tool: If your Mac was somehow infected with a virus, this tool can remove it. You Mac’s software is designed to identify and block viruses.
  • Firewall: This is disabled by default. You may want to enable it by going to System Preferences > Click Security or Security & Privacy.

Do you need additional antivirus software?

No, you do not need 3rd party antivirus software if you are an average Mac user – about 95% percent of all Mac users fall into this category. This is because, as stated above, your Mac already includes several security protection systems that are already built into macOS. Your Mac can detect viruses and keep you safe, but this does not mean that you should not be careful while using your Mac.

Although Macs have been much less vulnerable than Windows PCs, I should mention that Mac malware exists. Thus, you should follow the tips below to ensure that your Mac is protected against any security threats:

  • Enable Automatic Updates to automatically download and install app and macOS updates.
    • In the App Store on your Mac, choose App Store > Preferences and select Automatic Updates.
    • Go to System Preferences and click Software Update. Select the “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” box.
  • Be careful with downloads. Try to only downloaded apps from the App Store, or from trusted companies; This includes browser extensions, add-ons or plugins. Likewise, if you want to download trusted software, only download it from the official source, like the developer’s website.
  • Stay vigilant. For example:
    • Do not open email attachments that you don’t recognize.
    • If you do not know the sender, don’t click on any links within an email.
  • Turn on Firewall on your Mac. Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall.
  • Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and review your settings.
  • Don’t click on popups saying “virus warnings,” “you won an iPhone,” “free Amazon gift card” or anything similar.
  • Backup your Mac regularly. You can use Time Machine.

See also:

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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