Here’s Why Macs Don’t Need A Traditional Antivirus
Macs have several built-in features that can be effective malware tools. These features come installed by default; hence, Mac users don’t necessarily need to rely on third-party antivirus software.
It operates in the background invisibly, so that no maintenance or activation is required while your Mac experiences no visible performance decline.
Gatekeeper, another security feature, prevents the apps from being opened without your permission.
There Are Simply Fewer Macs Than Windows Users
After its release in 1985, Microsoft Windows has dominated the hardware industry and maintained a dominant presence. In recent years, Windows OS has stayed at the front with a commanding 77.7% market share and Apple's MacOS X remains a distant second, while the market share has dropped marginally in recent years.
Due to the larger share, hackers find macOS a less lucrative target than Windows.
More First-Party Apps
Macs have some excellent integrated apps to shield you from threats. For example, your Mac checks every file from the list of known malware applications using XProtect when you download an application from the internet.
Furthermore, all the updates are managed and monitored using the Apple-owned App Store. By contrast, Windows users are widely accustomed to downloading and installing apps and tools from 3rd party sources, which offers the perfect backdoor for hackers.
Less Third-Party Access And Permissions
Historically, Macs don’t allow downloads and installs of multiple 3rd party apps like Windows or other OS. All the programs come built-in, and Mac also offers the Gatekeeper feature which prevents apps from automatically opening without your permission unless it has been digitally signed as safe.
The recent update introduced a new feature where Apple has started notarizing applications so they can prove their trustworthiness.
Further, all the apps on your Mac are sandboxed, meaning they can’t access your system’s infrastructure and settings.
This entire framework leads to lesser 3rd party downloads, making your Mac less vulnerable to threats.
Apple Updates Flushes Out Older Versions Of Apps
New Windows releases must make compromises to allow apps that have already been built for older Windows releases to run, and accordingly build a complex collection of legacy systems.
On Windows, a majority of apps come from third parties. An update on the Windows OS has nothing to do with the older apps.
In comparison, since the launch of OS X, macOS has seen fewer updates, and Apple is less hesitant to make applications that were previously functional completely obsolete.
For instance, they made older 32-bit apps useless with the launch of MacOS Catalina in 2019.
So, Is Mac Vulnerable Or Not?
In all fairness, no matter how many layers of security you install, nothing guarantees 100% security. Cyber threats are increasing in nature.
The recent exposed weakness of the intel processor, ZombieLoad, shows how the nature of such threats is evolving. This flaw helped hackers to steal data from computers, including Macs, by using flaws in the design of Intel chips.
If you download suspicious files or add random extensions, your Mac is just as vulnerable as a Linux or Windows device. In fact, the Flashback malware tricked more than 500,000 Mac users by exploiting a Java vulnerability back in 2012.
So, What Protection Do Mac Users Need?
Most of the security experts unanimously recommended Malwarebytes as an added layer of protection for Mac devices. The product is quite similar to Windows Defender, straightforward to use, and doesn’t keep asking for money. It’s easy to tweak the settings for enhanced protection and costs around $3 per month once you end the free trial.
Core features include:
- Automatic threat detection and removal in real-time
- Removal of PUPs and adware
- Quick scans for your Mac
- Blocking unwanted apps at the source
Though Macs are way more secure than Windows, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t vulnerable to newer threats. The inbuilt features can only secure the device to an extent.
Hence, the ideal way is to add an additional security layer like Malwarebytes which can check and remove threats in real-time.