The Best Antivirus for Your Mac

Most people out there are either on a laptop or a smartphone, while few are on desktops. This is because millions of people work online, and need to move around. The statistics show that the majority of people prefer to browse the internet on a smartphone these days. As such, Apple’s line of laptops is hugely popular, albeit very expensive. In popular culture, Apple has established itself as the ‘it’ brand to buy due to two factors; design and software. Fewer people understand and can appreciate just how quality and minimal macOS is, while others buy Apple’s laptops just for their design or their color. After all, few laptops on the market can match (if any) the streamlined and futuristic look of Macs. 

What is one thing that even fewer people understand? Security. Another of Apple’s staples in popular culture is that its products are innately safe. Naturally, this has some truth to it because Apple’s software (like their operating systems) is built in such a way that it is restrictive and very difficult to modify (unlike Windows and Android products). But, this doesn’t mean that Macs are impervious to cybersecurity risks like viruses and malware. Though this happens much less, and there is far less malicious software that can hit Apple’s products, there are still some out there that can properly ruin your day. Other times, it is user error that can cause infections and not the device itself. Simply downloading the wrong file somewhere online can lead to this.

The truth is your Mac could use an antivirus program! For this reason, let’s take a look at the not-too-well-understood world of antivirus software for Mac laptops (though it may also apply to desktop Mac users though there are far fewer of those).

What Are Viruses and Do They Affect Macs?

When it comes to risks like malware and viruses, Macs are typically seen as being safer than Windows, as we said earlier. Some security-enhancing measures that are part of macOS are built-in and you won’t find them in other systems. 

Yet, it's advisable to have additional security in the form of dependable antivirus software given the rising threats associated with using the internet. There are many great solutions available, and you’ll find the chosen few as well as the best free and paid ones to include below. 

So, you've undoubtedly heard that unlike Microsoft Windows computers, Apple's Mac computers don't require antivirus software. This is due to the fact that macOS is typically seen as being more "safe" and resistant to attacks than Windows-based computers. Although Apple says that macOS is impervious to viruses and hacking, cybersecurity risks are nevertheless on the rise i.e malware that specifically attacks Macs.

For instance, there’s the Silver Sparrow. Around 30,000 Macs were attacked by the Silver Sparrow virus in February, two years ago. A few anonymous researchers have also discovered ways of activating webcams and microphones on Macs, as well as injecting the Safari browser with viruses. Apple's own senior vice president of software engineering revealed that Mac malware has significantly escalated and is already at intolerable levels as of 2021. 

Thus, despite the fact that macOS contains certain security features, they are insufficient to protect against the sophisticated attacks that plague today's internet environment. This is particularly hard as cybercriminals switched their focus on remote workers (which means, a lot of Mac computers). Also, whether browsing or buying online, it's simpler than ever to become a victim of dangerous websites, ransomware, password theft, phishing, and other issues.

The Best Antivirus for Mac

For the reason above, you want a powerhouse of an antivirus solution for your Mac that will both: not break the bank, and not hog resources (i.e overheat your system). Simply put, you need a program that has excellent malware protection, a formidable virus scanner, from a brand that is privacy-friendly and performance-friendly. Yes, it is tough to fit all of this in a completely free solution, but Avast Security would be the choice there. Avast Security offers a solid virus scanner, and receives regular virus definitions. For most people, this will suffice.

However, the threat landscape grows every day, and for those of us that want comprehensive protection from advanced threats 24/7, 365, a paid solution will be necessary. 

As far as subscription-based options go, you want to go for either: Norton 360, Kaspersky Internet Security or Trend Micro.

Even though Macs have a built in virus protection feature called ‘XD’, as well as other features like disc encryption and firewalls (as well as a sandboxed software system), this doesn’t mean that you won’t be collateral damage for the most advanced threats out there like Silver Sparrow.

Out of the list, Trend Micro would be the pick. Why? This is a premium security package with an additional privacy checkup, excellent customer service, and all the other bells and whistles coupled with a reasonable pricing plan. Trend Micro is also a well-established brand that has been around for a long time.

With Trend Micro, you are getting essential features to fight advanced threats such as real-time protection, safe browsing modes, and even a social media privacy checker. All of this is available for less that forty dollars a year for one Mac device. On top of that, you can get Trend Micro’s ‘Maximum Security’ option for the same price which will cover not only your Mac, but other operating systems as well. Not convinced? You can try out the program with a 30-day free trial!

Finally, remember that any of these top three premium AV suites will do the job. The only difference will be in their features, which you must look at before you buy to see what you need and what suits you. Having an AV suite on your Mac future-proofs you from increasingly dangerous threats, and keeps your all-important sensitive data and browsing sessions under lock and key.

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