“That’s it! I’ve had it with these viruses. I’m buying a Mac.”
How many times have you heard someone say this or something like it? Usually, it’s followed by the claim that Macs are immune to viruses, so you don’t need to install antivirus on mac.
That may have been the case a decade ago, and truthfully, for the most part, Mac computers are less susceptible to viruses and malware than their PC counterparts are. The explanations for this vary, but usually hinge upon the fact that until recently, Apple had a much smaller share of the market, making it less profitable for criminals to develop harmful programs for Macs.
Over the last few years, though, Apple’s market share has grown exponentially, making their computers a more attractive target for cyber criminals. This means that you can no longer stick your head in the sand and assume that you’re safe from viruses simply by virtue of having a Mac. In short, you need to install antivirus for Mac, and if you’re using any of the following excuses to avoid doing so, then you could be asking for trouble.
1. Antivirus on Mac is all FAKE
Again, perhaps the greatest misconception about Macs is that they do not get viruses, and therefore don’t need protection against them. This is simply not true. Macs can get viruses. In just the last few year, viruses and Trojans have infected more than half a million Macs, such as the Flashback virus and “Pintsize” Trojan, which defeated security software and caused data leaks. While experts suspect that OS X targeted attacks may be a few years off, they also agree that going forward, the operating system will become a prime target and there will be more viruses designed specifically to attack the machines. Not to mention, Macs can be “carriers” of viruses that infect PCs, meaning that even if your machine isn’t affected by malware, you could inadvertently spread it to others via email. In short, you need antivirus protection to keep the bad software off your machine.
2. I Don’t Go to “Bad” Sites
Most Internet users recognize that there are certain websites — and types of websites — that are more likely to cause an infection than others are. You might think that you’re in the clear because you never visit porn or gambling sites, but you’d be mistaken. Hackers have devised ways to attack even legitimate websites so that anyone who clicks on the site will have malware installed on their machine. Malvertising, in which harmful code is hidden in legitimate advertising, is a growing problem, for example, as are “watering hole” attacks, in which hackers attempt to gain access to targeted networks via a popular website. Since you can never be sure whether a website is completely safe, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
3. My Email Programs Scans for Viruses
Most email programs, including Gmail, run a scan of incoming messages and attachments to check for viruses. However, since most users are fairy savvy when it comes to identifying potentially harmful messages, criminals are finding new ways to hide viruses. Common file attachments, including PDF and JPEG files, can contain malware that email programs may not detect, so antivirus protection is important as a second level of security.
4. I Keep My Machine Up-to-Date
Installing updates to your operating system, applications, and plug-ins is one of the easiest and most effective steps to a safe machine, but even if you are diligent about installing updates, malware can still slip through the cracks. Remember, cyber criminals are now looking for ways to infect OS X, and are actively looking for security holes that they can exploit. Automatically updating antivirus protection can help protect against zero-day exploits and other crimes of opportunity that can infect your computer.
5. I Don’t Run Windows on My Mac
Most experts recommend that if you are running Windows on a Mac, you should install antivirus protection to keep your Windows programs safe from infection. Even if you don’t run Windows on your machine, though, you should consider installing an antivirus application. Again, Macs can be carriers of harmful code, and if you ever do decide to run Windows on your machine, or share files with someone else who does, you could inadvertently spread the virus.
Antivirus programs for Apple products are affordable, easy to install, and don’t hinder the operation of the device. Protect your investment by installing antivirus on mac — it’s always better to be safe than sorry.