How to Protect Your Mac From Malware, Viruses, and Other Junk

Yes, Macs are prone to malware and viruses just like Windows PCs, and it’s probably in your best interest to have at least one or two apps that can give you extra protection and peace of mind.

In a recent report from MalwareBytes, the company says Macs “outperform Windows PCs in terms of the number of threats detected per endpoint.” It is also partly true that the increased detection rates likely correlate with an increase in the number of MalwareBytes installations on the Mac, which is (obviously) the way MalwareBytes measures the total number of threats. However, the point is clear: Macs are not invulnerable. Yes, somewhat more protected, but not invulnerable.

I know; I know . If you just stick to the Mac App Store, the chances that you will ever encounter a virus or malware range from infinitesimal to low. So if this is your Mac, you may not need antivirus or anti-malware applications. I don’t understand why you don’t just install them anyway, because a little extra security never hurts, but I’m not going to scare you with that.

If I were you, I would definitely start by installing MalwareBytes . No, this is not a free company advertisement. This free malware scanner has long been a key part of the digital tools of many computer geeks. You will have to manually scan your system in the free version as you only get real-time scans by paying for the premium version, but the weekly scan shouldn’t be that hard to remember. Hell, set up a recurring calendar appointment for that; problem solved.

In addition to the whole , I would recommend to check a decent free antivirus software: come to mind Sophos and the BitDefender . If you really want to understand what’s going on on your Mac, you can even supplement (or replace) your antivirus application with something like Little Snitch , which alerts you when applications on your system try to connect to any type of internet server. … It is free to use for three hours (with endless restarts), so you can try it to see if you like it.

Regardless, don’t just download the old antivirus or anti-malware apps you find in the App Store. While Apple does its best to keep you from shit, there is no guarantee that you are not actually hijacking malware disguised as a useful application . Choose a well-known companies, even if they sometimes can be cheesy .

It never hurts to add a robust ad blocker to your browser, and I will recommend Ublock Origin and Privacy Badger until I turn blue . You can also try uMatrix , but it’s more geared towards power users who really want to control what is displayed in their browsers.

And of course, resist the urge to browse crappy sites, download random torrents, and install apps or scripts you’ve never heard of (and not recommended by others). This includes random browser extensions that can do you more harm than good. Ultimately, your own digital habits are the first line of defense against malware and other malicious applications; the fewer sketchy items you check, the better.

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