Traditionally, one of the core selling points for Apple Macs is the claim that they don’t need antivirus software.
They are often described as being a very low (or even non-existent) security risk compared to Windows PCs, leading many people to state that antivirus software and services are unnecessary as all the required protection is integrated as standard.
But is that really true? Let’s investigate those claims one by one.
Are Macs more secure than Windows computers?
Mac OS X is built on one of the most secure operating systems in existence, which makes it harder to hack by default. On top of that, a typical hacker is generally more experienced in and familiar with Windows operating systems so learning about and creating viruses is easier as more information about Windows exploits and backdoors is widely available. The hacking community evolves through learning from other members and past hacks, plus building on and developing existing hacking tools, code, and scripts.
Windows is also appealing to hackers because of its large market share, which means a hack can be spread more quickly and efficiently, affecting a greater number of people. Finally, many of the viruses created by hackers are targeted at large corporations, organisations and government departments, which typically use Windows operating systems rather than Mac OS.
While Apple Macs are less likely to be infected by viruses specifically, Trojans, malware, phishing scams, and other fraud techniques are extremely common. No computer is completely safe from online threats as Macs, Windows, and Linux based computers all have their vulnerabilities. This is especially true in recent years as hacks, scams, and other threats have grown considerably more sophisticated.
Do I need antivirus protection for my Mac?
The simple answer is yes. Apple Mac sales have skyrocketed in recent years, partly due to the knock-on effect of iPhone and iPad’s popularity and sales. Many iPhone users are obsessed with the brand in general and Apple has carefully engineered iCloud and iTunes to encourage multiple device syncing.
Windows has always been appealing for hackers because they can target a vast range of people, but the tremendous growth in Mac owners recently means they have become more of an interesting target for hackers looking for fresh challenges. The number of threats for Mac users is growing every day, so antivirus protection is strongly recommended as prevention is better than cure.
Additionally, if you run an emulator or version of Windows on your Apple Mac, for example through Bootcamp, Parallels, or similar software, your computer is vulnerable to Windows threats, including viruses and malware, that typically wouldn’t be able to target your Apple computer.
Although Apple operating systems are more secure by default than Windows, your Mac is likely to be more vulnerable than you think due to the software, extensions, plugins and other add-ons you’ve installed.
Hackers most commonly take advantage of Macs through third-party browser plugins including versions of Adobe Reader, Flash and Java, which are common to the majority of Mac users and therefore easy targets. As many Mac owners have a relaxed approach to antivirus software, security is less likely to be an ongoing and conscious consideration, meaning important updates are left ignored or set to be postponed, and reading up on the latest security news is rare.
What about my other Apple devices?
In addition to protecting your Macs (both laptop and desktop varieties), we also recommend safeguarding your iPads and iPhones too. To stay safe, we strongly recommend you don’t take the risk of leaving your Mac and other Apple devices without the latest antivirus software as your personal data and identity are always as risk of being exploited. Take a look at the best antivirus for iPhone to learn more about protecting your iPhone from viruses and malware.
The good news is that you can purchase a single cost-effective antivirus subscription that will cover all your devices, so you don’t need to worry about different logins or paying separately for a range of different services.
For the best Apple Mac and iPhone antivirus software, check out our comparison of the top brands and secure all your devices and enjoy complete peace of mind for less than a cup of coffee per month.