Antivirus for Macby Adam Marshall
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Choose the best antivirus for your Mac
Unlike with Windows PCs, there’s historically been little demand for antivirus software for Macs. Apple’s OS X operating system has been built to withstand malicious attacks, and there have been comparatively few viruses written to target Macs.
However, Mac users could be exposed to a rise in viruses and malware in the future. With more Apple products being sold and Mac ownership on the increase, criminals are now actively targeting the Mac ecosystem.
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Our equal-top scoring security software for Apple Macs is also completely free of charge. It's a back-to-basics antivirus program that makes mincemeat out of adverware and infections from Windows or Android devices.
It's really easy to use too, with an intuitive interface and colour coded warnings if any nefarious goings on are detected.
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Another simple but effective internet security download. Its real-time scanning is ruthless, halting infections from USB sticks and dodgy files before they could make their way on to our test computer.
And if anything goes awry, this company provides free 24 hour telephone support.
This program leads the two above in terms of features – its firewall is watertight and the parental controls really useful, allowing you to lock down individual web pages.
The anti-phishing tool is much improved from when we first tested the software and we like how proactively it checks newly inserted USB drives.
Do I need Mac security software?
Even if the Mac operating system has traditionally proven resistant to virus attacks, there are still risks. If you use your Mac to go online, you’re still open to many of the same issues that affect Windows PC users, including spam emails, phishing scams, Trojan malware, browser vulnerabilities and ID theft. In fact, March 2016 saw the first example of OS X-breaching ransomware.
Apple continues to keep its Mac operating system security beefed up. For example, its Gatekeeper tool can prevent you from installing anything other than Apple-approved or registered software. FileVault keeps your files safe from prying eyes by encrypting your Mac so it can only be used by an authorised user. Other Mac OS X security features include anti-phishing, privacy and parental controls.
Mac OS X now also includes App Sandbox, which keeps your apps separate from system components, so it’s easier to remove one app if it gets infected by a malicious program.
How to use the Mac firewall
Macs do not come with any antivirus or antispyware software, although they do have a built-in firewall. This, however, is turned off by default.
To turn the firewall on, go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy, click the Firewall tab and click Turn On Firewall.
To configure settings to allow incoming connections from authorised sources, click Firewall Options.
Free antivirus for Mac vs paid-for packages
The best Mac antivirus software should be easy to use and eliminate all types of malware, even those designed for Windows PCs.
Free Mac antivirus software provides basic antivirus protection, but typically lacks the extras such as a firewall, identity protection, parental controls and email monitoring that you get with paid-for security suites.
For comprehensive protection, look for a security package that covers all the angles with antivirus, antispyware, email scanning, web protection and anti-phishing. Some programs include a two-way firewall and network protection. As viruses evolve quickly and new ones emerge daily, it’s best to look for software with an automated scanning and updating schedule.
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