Aug 30, 2011 Do not install any commercial 'anti-virus' software. It's all useless and can only cause problems. The Mac OS has built-in detection of Mac malware in downloaded files. The recognition database is updated daily. Although the protection isn't perfect, it's as good as you'll get.
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Best answer: Though Windows malware doesn't affect Mac devices, it's easy to unknowingly send these threats to PC-using colleagues, family members, and friends. During our testing, we used live malware and saw that the protections that come with Mac devices don't always stop them. Several threats are disguised to look like legitimate Mac programs and often sneak in through email messages and network connections. Luckily, a good antivirus program can stop them while keeping your Mac safe.
- Staff pick: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($60 at Bitdefender)
- Tech support recommended: Malwarebytes ($40 at Malwarebytes)
- Free Mac antivirus: Avast Essential Security for Mac (Free at Avast)
If you start to notice weird advertisements popping up in strange places on popular websites like YouTube, you might be infected. These ads tend to feature adult content or claim that a virus has been detected on your device and will often appear in places that you don't normally see ads.
You may also discover that your personal email or social networking sites are sending out messages that you didn't write. If this happens, you should immediately change your password to stop any more messages being sent from your account.
If your Mac just isn't responding the way it should, you might have malware planted into your system somewhere. If it takes much longer for your Mac to wake up than it used to, there may be something lurking in the shadows.
You won't always know if you have a virus. Technology has improved for the bad guys just as much as it has improved for the good guys. There are viruses out there that are smart enough to know how to hide deep in your system and work constantly to keep you from noticing it, all while performing malicious attacks. And once you're infected, it super easy for other devices connected to your network to become infected, too.
While you may think you don't need antivirus protection on your Mac, it's more important than ever now that Apple has grown so popular. Even if you use a limited, free version of a program, you'll be doing yourself a favor.
How can I protect my Mac right now?
The Mac operating system includes a number of security tools that help keep adware and malware off your computer, including default restrictions on opening apps from unidentified developers. If you stick to only downloading apps from the Mac App Store and are good about staying away from seedy websites, you can keep your computer secure from most virus issues.
In fact, Apple's security tools are why you'll hear many old-school Mac users say that you don't need anti-virus protection. The Mac is locked down well right out of the box.
However, there is more to protecting yourself than just avoiding bad apps and websites. You never know when you are going to pick something up that could create havoc on your Mac or on somebody else's PC. That's why, for added protection, you should think about getting antivirus software.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Protection against Mac and Windows malware
Bitdefender runs in the background, deleting and eliminating Mac and Windows malware as it shows up. This protects both your Mac and friends' PCs from becoming infected. Bitdefender stops most threats before they download and includes phishing filters and a VPN.
Tech support recommended
Tech support's go-to
Malwarebytes is recommended by tech support at Apple, which downloads this program to user's devices when contacted about performance issues. This software searches out malware and other exploiting viruses and blocks websites that are known to distribute malicious content.
Free Mac antivirus
Avast Essential Security for Mac
Free basic protection
Avast's Essential monitors your email messages for any phishing schemes, malicious links or downloads that could lead to a malware attack or identity theft. It also watches your network connection and stops hackers and snoops as they try to sneak in.
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Antivirus software is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of software for your Mac or Windows PC. In fact, it probably is the most important thing to get right!
In this article FileHippo will take a deep look into why that is the case. Of course, for some of you it may sound like we’re stating the obvious – but you’d be surprised how many people snub this vital software.
We will provide the ultimate guide to antivirus software, answering commonly asked questions along the way. We’ve done a lot on this in the past, as our most avid readers will know. So, we’ll also be linking back to some of our best-read antivirus articles too!
What are we going to cover? Well, first we’ll explain what antivirus software does and how it protects your computer. Then we’ll look at whether antivirus is actually a necessity (Spoiler alert; it definitely is…) and if a paid option would be more advantageous.
To be clear; antivirus software is essential for PC Windows & Mac security.
To conclude we’ll wrap up by discussing the current best antivirus options for Mac and Windows users. But as we said, we’ll be signposting you to other great content along the way too – so no stone will be left unturned!
So, without further ado, here’s why antivirus software is not to be ignored!
What does antivirus software do?
Let’s get this one out of the way first! Simply put, antivirus software works to protect your Mac, PC and other devices against all sorts of threats.
Not that we want to scare you, but these threats will be lurking each time you access the internet. The most common examples of which include malware, viruses and spyware. To be clear, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of these!
So, that’s where antivirus software comes in! It helps you to stay safe online, giving you that priceless peace of mind.
These days ‘antivirus’ is a catch-all word for a tool that protects your computer and your precious data from all of these potential pitfalls.
In fact, actual viruses are the least of your worries, since they lay low to avoid detection. There’s a whole host of other malware ready to perform malicious acts – from deleting files and accessing personal data – to using your computer to attack other computers.
Want to be more clued up on all of the threats that antivirus software is up against? If so, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Malware, Viruses and Spyware.
How does antivirus protect your computer?
The best antivirus software will conduct full system scans and deal with threats accordingly. All program files that enter your system will be part of this, and you can choose how deep you wish to scan.
Of course, many products may differ. But most follow this simple and recognised practice. If files match the signatures that are classified as threats, they will effectively be blacklisted.
Don’t snub antivirus software, it’s just not worth it…
Simply put, recognised files would be allowed to continue whereas anomalies would be flagged up, even if they’re not 100% certain to be a virus.
Those flagged up files that the user knows about and trusts can still run with permission, when added to a whitelist. But of course it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially in the cyber world!
Likewise, background scanning will take place to make sure your browsing is also as safe as possible.
Do I need antivirus software for my Mac or Windows PC?
We’ve probably already answered this one. But, to remove any shred of doubt, of course you do! It’s a scary cyber world out there. You can’t afford to be complacent, no matter who you are.
Remember no one is safe, from a well-loved celebrity to a giant tech company, anyone can be brought to their knees by a huge DDoS attack.
Nowadays even us average Joes (and Josephines), are subject to an onslaught of trojans, botnets, worms, ransomware, rootkits, rogue security software, and all manner of generally malicious software.
But you’re smart, right? You don’t take risks. You’re not some schmuck that clicks on those dodgy links or pop-ups. Well, as How-To Geeks put it:
‘Whenever antivirus software is mentioned, someone always seems to chime up and say they don’t need an antivirus because they’re careful. This isn’t true. No matter how smart think you are, you can still benefit from an antivirus on Windows.
‘The idea that antivirus software is only necessary for irresponsible Windows users is a myth, and a dangerous one to spread. In an age where zero-day vulnerabilities are found and sold to organized crime with alarming frequency, even the most careful of users are vulnerable.’
The bottom line is this. The risks posed by malware are only going to increase. With such a wide range of free, and paid, antivirus solutions available, which take just seconds to download, why wouldn’t you protect your computer, your personal data and the wider digital community?
Should you pay for antivirus?
On the whole, it’s probably a decent move to opt for a paid option – but hear us out! There are scores of brilliant free antivirus options out there, don’t get us wrong, and they are more than capable of protecting you from a majority of threats.
However, this is likely a case of getting what you pay for and it may be worth upgrading to a paid option. We’ve discussed the ‘Should You Pay for Antivirus’ debate at length before, but we’ll summarise the argument here.
How do you know which antivirus is right for you? Here are some things you should look for in a good #antivirus product – https://t.co/s6YI88sTLwpic.twitter.com/98IWbY041H
— FileHippo.com (@filehippo) March 18, 2019
Basically, if you change to a premium antivirus package, you can enjoy a whole load of extra features on top of those you presently receive. This will likely mean your service will be Ad Free, it can also deliver additional privacy.
Paid options will likely have better ransomware protection. Unfortunately, ransomware has emerged as big business among criminal empires. It involves using malware to encrypt or obtain files from the target’s machine and then refuse to release them if a ransom is not paid. Or indeed threaten to release them publicly!
Additional protection can prevent untrusted software from making changes to your files, and thus keep them from the clutches of hackers. It’s probably still best not to go clicking random email links, however, no matter how desperate that Nigerian prince sounds.
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Automatic updates are more common place with paid software too, and more regular. Obviously, it’s crucial for your defence to be as up-to-date and knowledgeable of current threats.
Don't scrimp on security. Upgrade your #antivirus and compare the best of the best premium antivirus #software bundles of 2019 https://t.co/wi9Pxqu412pic.twitter.com/kCvEWHrj9r
— FileHippo.com (@filehippo) March 23, 2019
Paid antivirus software will also see advanced Behaviour Monitoring. This is what allows your antivirus to respond to these zero-day threats by looking for unusual patterns of behaviour on your machine.
Free Mac Antivirus Software
If a file or piece of software is found to be behaving in a way which is not expected, the antivirus can immediately isolate it and flag it for further investigation. This will potentially cut off an attack before it begins. So, you really do get your money’s worth!
How Do I Find Antivirus Software On My Mac
Which is the best antivirus program for Mac or PC?
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Now, that is the question! Perhaps not surprisingly, only you will be able to work that one out. It will come down to a combination of things, mainly including your budget and preferences.
Fortunately, we’ve recently compiled lists of our favourite antivirus to help you choose. Be sure to take a look through these when deciding which antivirus is right for you:
We have an extensive range of great antivirus software for you to download. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for the best, free, or business antivirus software – we’ll have something for you!
How To Find Antivirus Software On My Mac
We regularly review different antivirus programs to help you understand which ones are worth installing. We even have a dedicated antivirus page for everything you need to know.