Yes, your Mac does need security software. Here’s why
Do Macs get viruses? For many years, Mac owners were confidently able to say no, they don’t. Apple’s computers really were much less likely to be affected by malware than Windows PC, so security software was often deemed unnecessary. But things change. Macs are more popular than ever. Security breaches and malware are increasingly common. And attacks are getting more sophisticated.
So can Mac owners still get away with not having a security app? Let’s find out.
Dispelling the Mac malware myth
Back in the day, Macs were seemingly invulnerable to malware. While Windows PC owners were always being told to think about cybersecurity, practically no one bothered running antivirus software on their Macs. And it never seemed to be a problem. Why?
Because hardly anyone was targeting Macs with malware. Imagine you’re a cyber criminal. You want to maximise your returns while minimising your effort. So why create a virus that will only affect a few million Macs when there’s a much bigger number of Windows machines for you to attack instead?
As Macs have grown in popularity, they’ve become more of a target. Although macOS comes with a number of built-in security systems that offer some degree of protection, it’s not always enough. So Macs can get viruses. In one year, a study found that Mac threats had grown by a whopping 400%.
The bottom line is your Mac is not invulnerable. No matter how well designed or regularly updated, it can still be hit with viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware and so on. And that’s why it’s so important to have Mac security software.
How to choose Mac security software
Saying you need security software is all well and good. But how do you actually go about choosing a cybersecurity app for your Mac? The security software market is huge, from real-time antivirus to firewalls to anything in between.
With so much choice, it’s easy to get confused about your options, but there are a few key areas you can focus on.
Your Mac security software should protect you against all kinds of cyber threats. When looking at cyber protection coverage, make sure your chosen app shields you from viruses, trojans, ransomware, adware, spyware, phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks.
The best security software is proactive. That means it protects your Mac in real-time, quietly running in the background, automatically checking your device for suspicious code and behavior. Once detected, the threat is automatically neutralized without requiring your input.
Web filtering and blocking
Even if you never visit sketchy websites and practice safe browsing habits, you still need protection against multiple online threats. A good antivirus app with web filtering and blocking functionality can prevent you from opening compromised websites, thereby keeping your Mac safe.
Ads on websites aren’t just annoying – they can potentially be stuffed with malware too. So by choosing Mac security software with a built-in ad blocker, not only do you get an ad-free browsing experience, you also increase your cybersecurity.
Complete system scanning
Even if your Mac security software features real-time protection, you still need to run a complete system scan every once in a while. By doing so, you can catch viruses that have fallen through the cracks.
Lightweight and fast
Even if you have a blazing-fast Mac, heavyweight cybersecurity software can slow it down. Look for a lightweight antivirus app that can run in the background without impacting your Mac’s performance.
Mac cybersecurity tips
Although good security software makes a big difference, you shouldn’t ever allow it to make you complacent. It’s always important to be on guard against malware and to follow basic safety guidance.
Here are a few cybersecurity tips to help protect your Mac from malware:
Keep macOS and your web browser up-to-date
Beware of suspicious emails
Use long, complex passwords
Avoid public Wi-Fi
Use a VPN
Use two-factor authentication
Clear your browser caches regularly
Install only verified software
Grant app permissions with caution
Back up your data regularly
In general, Macs are some of the safest, most secure computers you can buy, but they’re not immune from malware. And that risk can’t be ignored. Many of us hold valuable personal data on our Macs. We use them for online banking, social media, email and much, much more. A successful cyber attack could compromise all of that.
That makes Mac security software pretty much a necessity. Of course, with any luck, you’ll never download a virus or suffer a security breach, but it’s better to have some protection in place, rather than finding out the hard way.