Can Macs Get Viruses & Do Macs Need Antivirus Software?

Wondering whether you need antivirus software to protect your Mac? macOS is more secure than Windows, but you'd be wise to look carefully at your security options because Macs can get viruses. We explain why you (probably) need antivirus software for your Mac and what to do if you think you have a Mac virus


Do Macs get viruses? Do Macs need antivirus software? The answer isn't as simple as it may seem. In this article, we look at the dangers faced by Mac users and the pros and cons of using Mac antivirus software.

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We also explore how secure Macs are in comparison to Windows PCs. The Mac has historically been considered to be safe and secure for a number of reasons, but in recent years that has shifted considerably.

A report by Malwarebytes in March 2018 suggested that Mac malware grew by 270 percent in 2017. The same company reported that it had already seen an increase in Mac malware in 2019, with 16 million instances recorded in April - which is four times more than the previous record.

And according to network-security firm WatchGuard Technologies, Mac Malware took two spots in the run down of the ten most popular attacks in the first quarter of 2019. There is no doubt that attacks are on the rise, but that doesn't mean your Mac isn't safe.

What's changed is the popularity of the platform, both with consumers and with those who wish to target the Mac. In the past, Mac users were less vulnerable to malware because there were far more PCs and therefore PCs were a more lucrative target. Now there are new threats, such as malware designed to gain access to cryptocurrency, phishing attacks and adware, and we will examine some of these below.

Despite this Macs have remained pretty secure. This is partly thanks to the fact that the Mac operating system is Unix-based, and Unix offers a number of built-in security features.

In addition, Apple itself has included a number of security measures that make attacking a Mac particularly challenging. These include Gatekeeper, which blocks software that hasn’t been digitally approved by Apple from running on your Mac without your agreement.

However, with the increased interest in the Mac from the point of view of malware distributors, are the inbuilt protections enough, or should you install antivirus software on your Mac? Or is it too late and are you already infected by a virus on your Mac - find out how to tell if you have a virus on your Mac below.

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