Your Mac Might Not Be Safe from Viruses

For a long time, people thought that Macs didn’t need antivirus protection – and many Mac users still think that. In fact, Apple still says that Macs don’t need antivirus software. But that’s just not true.

While Macs are designed with built-in tools to protect users from malware, they still have their vulnerabilities. Hackers are increasingly taking advantage of those vulnerabilities, too, especially as Macs get more popular. These days, it’s a good idea to have antivirus software for your Mac, to give you the most comprehensive protection against new malware for Macs and against downloading malware by accident.

Protect Against New Malware for Macs

Macs have security features like XProtect to block malicious software by running in the background, checking apps for malicious changes when they are updated or launched. Gatekeeper sandboxes apps for a digital developer certificate before it will allow macOS to open them. But hackers are finding ways around these systems.

For example, OSX/CrescentCore is a Trojan horse that uses a false developer certificate to get around Gatekeeper, a macOS feature designed to ensure that any apps you install or open have come from a reputable developer. Some newer malware has become so effective at avoiding protections built into the macOS that built-in protections might not notice it at all. A piece of crypto-mining malware hidden in the Final Cut Pro software is able to stop its operations when the user opens Activity Monitor, for example, so that you won’t see the malware taking up all of your processing power.

You might think that you don’t need to worry about downloading malicious apps because you only get them from the App Store. But that won’t protect you. Malicious apps get into the App Store all the time. Some have been downloaded millions of times. Hackers make apps with a variety of features to help them get through Apple’s vetting process for apps in the App Store. For example, they might be designed to work properly when put through Apple’s tests, only to activate when they’re installed on a phone with a SIM card.

Remove the Potential for Human Error

One of the biggest vulnerabilities in any operating system is the person who is using it. All human beings make mistakes that can leave themselves open to malware. Maybe you’re taken in by a sophisticated phishing scam and accidentally download something malicious, for example. It only takes a moment of weakness or a brief lapse in judgment to fall victim to a phishing scam.

Users are also prone to use built-in protections inappropriately, such as by overriding warnings and downloading a malicious app anyway. Malicious software is often disguised as trustworthy software, so many people are tricked into downloading malware. Your system’s protective features can’t help you if you give the malicious software permission to run on your system – and we all get dialogue box fatigue or simply misjudge an app from time to time. Antivirus for Mac can help by protecting you against malware that has found its way onto your system in spite of your best efforts to be vigilant. An antivirus scan will detect any malware that is trying to evade detection on your device.

Get More Comprehensive Protection

One of the things you should be most concerned about in terms of computer security is zero-day threats, which consist of malicious software or system vulnerabilities that are as of yet unknown to security experts and manufacturers. These threats are impossible to predict and protect against. But a third-party antivirus software for your Mac will do a better job of protecting you against new threats than the protections built into your macOS.

Apple’s built-in protections are all about stopping malicious apps and do a worse job protecting against potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and adware. They also tend to have less comprehensive threat definitions than antivirus programs for Mac. A third-party antivirus program for Macs will have a more extensive threat definitions list to draw from in protecting your Mac from malware. It will be more effective at removing threats detected, too. 

If you’re using a Mac, you need to be using antivirus for Mac. The days when hackers didn’t bother to write malware for Macs are long gone. These days, more people have Macs than ever, and hackers want to get in on the potential profits. Protect yourself with a third-party antivirus program for your Mac. It will keep your system and your personal data safe from criminals.