Do Macs Really Need Antivirus? Yes.
Put a diehard Windows user and a fellow diehard Mac user in the same room to debate which platform is better, and it’s likely the topic of malware will come up at some point. That Mac user will probably argue how “Macs don’t get viruses,” and point to the PC’s seemingly never ending stream of issues when it comes to malware.
It is true that by and large Windows computers are much more susceptible to viruses, spyware, and other exploits. What’s not true is that Macs are completely immune to attacks. Recent studies show that Mac malware is at an all-time high, and in 2015 the amount of malware in the wild was higher than the previous five years combined.
Why the drastic increase? Hackers traditionally passed over Mac OS as the number of Macs in use just didn’t make the effort worthwhile. Things are different now. Apple’s market share has increased drastically over the last several years, and with Apple allowing its customers to install Windows on their Macs, it’s no less immune to Windows viruses than a traditional PC.
It should be said that overall actual Mac OS viruses still remain quite low – little malware exists that can truly put your Mac at risk. But here are all the facts so you can be better informed and better protected.
You Still Need an Ad Blocker
Macs might be less prone to malware, but harassing and malicious ads, dangerous pop-ups and shady websites are still an issue. Adaware’s ad block works for both Chrome and Firefox on Mac, and can provide the protection you need.
While our ad blocker does what you expect in blocking out annoying banners, pop-ups and video ads, it also works behind the scenes to keep your information safe. Ad block will also block you from visiting potentially dangerous sites where your personal information could be compromised, and blocks out tracking codes so you can surf the web without fear of being tracked.
What many Mac users don’t realize is that their Macs can also act as carriers, passing along malware to Windows users without any symptoms of infection on the Mac itself. You’re doing your Windows using friends a favour by using anti-malware applications, as well as giving yourself added security.
When a Mac Runs Windows, It’s Basically a PC
Mac users can be lulled into a false sense of security when running Windows on their computers. They think that Apple’s much better malware track record applies just the same when they’re running Windows. That couldn’t be any further from the truth.
An iMac, MacBook, or Mac Pro is just another PC when it’s running Windows. Malware is software based and has nothing to do with the hardware its running on, so the attacks take advantage of flaws in the Windows operating system. The same virus your friend just got can make it to your Mac if you open up an infected file in Windows.
If you plan to use Windows extensively on your Mac, antivirus software is a must. Adaware antivirus protects against a wide variety of threats, including viruses, spyware, and proactive threat blocking.
Combined with ad block, you’re fully protecting yourself from just about every threat you may encounter, and preventing possible issues with your Mac. Remember, Apple doesn’t directly support running Windows on your Mac, so if something happens, you’re on your own.
Other Tips to Keep Your Mac (and Others) Virus-Free
While running ad blocking and antivirus software on your Mac are the two best ways to protect yourself, we have a few other tips to share to prevent infection of your Mac and others.
Use email providers that offer proactive scanning of incoming and outgoing emails. Web-based email like Gmail and Outlook offer this as part of the basic service offerings. Infected messages are either scrubbed of any malware or blocked. Also, be extremely careful when downloading files from untrusted sources.
Never trust any application that asks you to enter your Mac’s system password when you don’t expect it, and also use Mac OS built in features that block installation of software from untrusted sources. Turn on Mac OS X’s built-in Firewall (you can find it under Security & Privacy in System Preferences), and make sure other security settings are offering you an adequate amount of protection.
Finally, turn off sharing features that you do not need (some of them can be found in System Preferences > Sharing). Hackers have been known to break into Macs through these sharing features.
Regardless of what you do, we can not stress enough that your Mac isn’t immune to malware. Be smart online just like you would with a Windows PC. Do so, and you should get years of problem-free use out of your Mac.