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Do Macs Need Antivirus Protection?

It is *almost* true that Macs don't get malware or viruses.

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It is almost true that Macs don't get malware or viruses. While not nearly as popular a target as Windowsmore

It is almost true that Macs don't get malware or viruses. While not nearly as popular a target as Windows and Android devices, Macs do attract the attention of hackers. In 2016, for example, Mac users saw the first functional ransomware targeting the Mac. And Bitdefender, this year, identified sophisticated malware designed for the Mac.

Apple works to keep you and your Mac safe, but if you're the cautious type, check into running a security app.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need antivirus software for my Mac?
MacOS does include security features to protect you from malicious software. And you can set MacOS to block you from downloading software from anywhere but the Mac App Store or warn you if you are about to download software from an untrusted source. But for an extra bit of protection, look to antivirus software.
What else can I do to keep safe?
Besides being smart about where you download software from, you can take other steps to stay safe. First, keep up to date with the latest MacOS and third-party software updates. Do not open untrusted email attachments. Don't click untrusted links in emails or on websites -- and think hard about clicking ones you do trust. And finally, make sure you have good and current backups, so if something does go wrong, you can return your Mac back to a safe state without much effort.
Should I pay for antivirus software?
A handful of Mac antivirus tools offer solid -- and free -- protection. However, if you are already running antivirus software on another device, look into a security suite from Norton, for example, which lets you install antivirus software on your Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices for one price.
How does antivirus software work?
A good antivirus program can check software as you download it to prevent you from installing a malicious file. And antivirus software can scan your already-installed files to check for viruses. Almost all antivirus tools rely on a collection of frequently updated virus definitions to identify malicious threats. But because hackers are always creating new and mutated viruses, antivirus tools can pair virus definitions with code- and behavioral-pattern matching to watch for files that look suspicious but don't match virus definitions.

Best Mac Antivirus

Sophos Home

Sophos Home

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A respected anti-malware tool, the free antivirus software from Sophos gets top marks from the independent testing center AV-Test.

AVG AntiVirus

AVG AntiVirus

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AVG's antivirus software for Mac is free and rock solid. AVG runs in the background, but you can manually check suspicious files and folders.

Norton Security

Norton Security

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If you need to protect multiple devices, check out Norton's security tools. For $49.99 a year, you can protect five mobile, Windows, and Mac devices. Secure ten for $59.99.

Bitdefender Antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus

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For $39.98, install Bitdefender's highly rated antivirus software on three Macs -- or one Mac for $29.99.