Table of Contents
- How Does Mac Get a Virus?
- What to do to Avoid Getting a Virus?
- 5 Best Online Virus Scan for Macintosh
- And the Winner is…
- Things You Need to Consider When Choosing an Online Virus Scan for Macintosh
You may have heard the statement: “Macintoshes do not get viruses” and, to some extent, this statement is true. Apple’s software security is generally deemed impenetrable when it comes to malware. MacOS is constructed on UNIX, which means that their advanced virus protection built-in tools are better equipped to handle viruses and prevent their spread to the rest of the system.
However, this does not completely prevent malicious software from slipping in and wreak havoc. Cybersecurity data-keeping websites publish their findings at a yearly basis of the increasing risk of virus attacks on macOS.
With virus attacks on Macs increasing every year, it is only natural to look for online protection services. If you want to decide which online virus scanner to go for, you have come to the right place. Following is a list of the five best online virus scans available in the market for Mac. We have also mentioned the pros and cons of these five virus scans, things to consider when choosing an antivirus for Mac, and our top pick.
How Does Mac Get a Virus?
The most common method Mac hackers use is third-party software, plug-ins or add-ons that connect to the internet. The majority of the viruses are sent through email or iChat where people are prompted to open the email containing malware. Some are side-downloads. Some occur due to a code flaw after an OS update, leaving thousands of users vulnerable until it has been modified; in addition to that, Mac users are always in peril of online scams and frauds.
What to do to Avoid Getting a Virus?
No operating system, no matter how secure, can be 100% safe. However, there are simple measures that one can take to help prevent unwanted viruses, Trojans, and malware from affecting your device. These steps are:
Even though Apple updates have sewed a good number of Java security holes in the past, it is a good idea to either disable or remove Java from both the Safari browser and from the OS in general.
- From Safari: Open Safari, go to the Safari menu, and select Preferences. Go to Security, and uncheck the box that says Enable Java.
- From macOS: Go to Applications and open the Utilities folder. In Java Preferences, uncheck the box that says Enable Applet Plug-in, and Web Start Applications. Also, uncheck all the boxes next to the Java SE # in the dialog box.
If, for some reason, you still cannot remove Java entirely, try to minimize the risk by allowing it to run only when needed.
Disable/Remove Adobe Acrobat Reader
An average Mac user does not need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and view PDF files; Apple has a built-in “Preview for viewing PDFs” reader in its macOS. Removing the software from your desktop by uninstalling it and/or removing the browser plug-in should be sufficient enough to secure your system.
Disable Adobe Flash OR Use a Flash Block Plug-in
When it comes to internet browsing and computer gaming, some programs use Flash. In such cases, we recommend you to disable Flash using a block plug-in. Flash block plug-ins only allow Adobe Flash to run when the user clicks Allow.
Enable Anti-Malware Definitions
Recent macOS versions maintain a malware definition list to refer to when faced with a potential threat. Go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, and look for Automatically Update Safe Downloads List under the General tab. This setting should ideally be checked by default.
Do Not Install Any Software or Program from an Unknown Source
You should not download a program or software from an untrusted source. Mac malware has been known to propagate this way in the past, so this is an intuitive step to take. You should also avoid downloading email data unless you trust the content or the sender.
5 Best Online Virus Scan for Macintosh
In all honesty, it is difficult to find a completely free Mac virus scan online. If they claim to be free in the beginning, they almost always contain features that require some sort of payment and they consistently push you to get their premium versions. Some free virus scans have also been known to spy on their users.
If all you need is to have a simple additional security wall to Apple’s existing security measures, then a basic online virus scanner should be enough. You need to invest in a paid antivirus program if you want to keep important sensitive information safe.
Following is the reversed numerical list of the top five online virus scans, their details and features, their pros and cons, and their final verdicts:
Avast Online Security for Mac
If you want to opt for a free online virus scan, then your best bet is Avast Security for Mac. The interface is straightforward and easy to navigate through. It comes with features that prevent ransomware, viruses, and malware from sneaking in. Avast also provides real-time protection and has a full-system virus scan option, in addition to customized options.
Avast subverts dangerous emails and even alerts you if your Wi-Fi connection has security holes. Its paid service costs $30 annually.
- Blocks viruses and other malware
- Online protection
- Wi-Fi password security
- Real-time Wi-Fi security alerts
- Blocks ransomware
- One of the fastest full-system scans
- Allows custom scans and scheduled scans
- 100% real-time malware detection
- Blocks all web trackers
- Some features are only available if you are a premium user
- Aggressive reminders for getting you to upgrade to an offline and paid service
- Notoriously involved in retaining and selling free users’ data
Avast’s email and basic internet protection services for free users are commendable. Another positive point is the real-time protection. These positive points come at the cost of marketing tactics and your privacy.
Airo AV Online Antivirus for Mac
The fact that this virus scanner is specifically designed for macOS shows loyalty towards its customer base. The program’s refreshingly new take on virus elimination stems from a powerful AI code that keeps the antivirus two steps ahead. The protection is in real-time, which allows it to remove viruses completely.
Airo AV’s browser extension does an excellent job of keeping internet-based adware and phishing schemes at bay. Its database has a large list of websites that are deemed dangerous, and are hence pre-blocked. This list gets regularly updated to keep up with the newest threats to the macOS.
Airo AV is a paid online antivirus program, starting from a single license for $49.99 per year, $69.99 for three licenses, and $89.99 for five licenses.
- Real-time virus detection and prevention
- Preventing phishing scams and sensitive data stealth
- Powerful AI technology for protection
- Preventing camera, keyboard, or mouse hijack
- Full speedy scans
- One of the best user interface
- Powerful AI code that predicts and eliminates emanating threats
- Garnered exceedingly well lab test scores for its antivirus tools
- Some features are unavailable or buggy, e.g. phishing protection tool
- Only allows users a week-long free trial
Airo Antivirus’s user interface, speedy full scans, and top scores from lab tests do not warrant prices that are this high. Some features are not ready. The use of AI to ward off unwanted programs and software might just be a trendsetting innovation but, at this stage, Airo needs to do a lot more to get to the number one spot.
Sophos Online Antivirus Mac Home Edition
This is the best option for parent Mac users, because this virus scan also protects children from age-inappropriate content and sites. There is also a protection tool against bots and scammers disguised as AI pop-ups on different sites. Quarantine tools isolate potentially dubious files all in real-time.
The Free plan interface allows the user to add up to three computers; this means that more than one device in your family gets unobstructed protection, in addition to having adult sites blocked. The Free plan also includes webcam protection and live support options. The Premium version is for $30 per annum and allows users to add up to ten devices.
- Real-time antivirus
- Parental filtering
- Web protection
- Ransomware protection
- Privacy protection
- 100% malware protection
- Real-time protection tools
- Allows more than one device to be protected
- Remote systems managing option
- Features such as Privacy Protection, Ransomware Protection, and Malicious Traffic Detection are reserved for Premium users
- Requires a registration account
- Slow device scans
Sophos Antivirus for Mac is brilliant for quarantining and eliminating threats. Its more than one device protection ability, remote management, and advanced parental controls make it ideal for home-usage.
Bitdefender Online Virus Scanner for Mac
The Bitdefender Online Virus Scanner for Mac is the best option to go for if you want speedy virus detection and that too for free. The interface allows you to choose from three scans.
These scans are:
- Critical Locations Scan: It checks temporary files, emails, and downloads.
- Deep System Scan: It is for the entire Mac.
- Custom Location Scan: It customizes the scan for selected locations.
Bitdefender has an hourly virus update routine when running in the background, which means that the program is constantly looking out for possible threats. It comes with a host of features that include multi-layered ransomware protection, adware protection, and the ability to scan Windows malware as well.
The paid plan starts from $34.99 per year for the first year, and the subsequent year subscription cost is $59.99.
- Real-time protection against all viruses and ransomware
- Adware blocking and removal
- Included VPN
- Protecting all online shopping and banking
- Multiple scan options
- Excellent malware protection tools that can find a variety of malware file types
- Does not slow down your Mac
- Email, phone, and live chat support
- No real-time protection – users have to initiate scans
- No browsing and email protection
- Hassles you to upgrade to the paid plan
Bitdefender for Mac is a great option for Mac computers, primarily because of its multiple scan options that do not make your system lag. The lack of real-time protection is the sole reason we are putting Bitdefender on the number two spot in our list.
Intego Mac Internet Security X9
Protecting Macs since the year 2000, this software knows what Apple devices want for their security. Its greatest feature is its fast scanning system. The antivirus has a great clean-up rate and it provides an excellent firewall for internet security blanket and network permissions. It protects Mac users from Windows and UNIX malware as well.
Intego has a month-long free trial to let users try it out for themselves before buying it. It is available for $39.99 for one Mac device per year, but its grand features justify the expensive price tag.
- Real-time antivirus with 24/7 automatic scans
- Protection against both Mac and PC malware
- Built-in location-aware firewall
- Identify and block untrusted devices
- Fastest scanning speed
- Advanced threat detection tools that include scanning incoming emails and any USB or mobile devices that are attached to the Mac
- Fully-functional firewall
- Has anti-phishing tools, malicious website warning and blocking notifications, identifying browser pop-up viruses and eliminating them in real-time
- Comes in a bundle which also includes parental control tools
- Does not have its own safe browsing features; only alerts you when the features are off
- Does not have safe banking features, password management, or a VPN service
Intego tops the scorecard for all of the lab tests conducted last year. These tests were done to measure the program’s efficiency, protection services, and ease-of-use. The inclusive bundle where you get all the prominent internet security features makes it an ideal option to go for if data protection is of paramount importance for you.
And the Winner is…
After judging all the antivirus software in the above list, Intego Mac Internet Security X9 proves to be the best online virus scan for macOS. Intego has the fastest real-time protection that is certified by AV-Test lab tests. It has one of the best built-in firewall protection apps. It also detects malware for different OS platforms. Users are allowed to model the scanning tools any way they want with the use of the advanced personalization features offered by Intego.
Things You Need to Consider When Choosing an Online Virus Scan for Macintosh
You must have a pretty clear image by now of how and what to consider when choosing an antivirus program for your Mac. You should pay special attention to the following:
You should choose a service that is either free or low-budget so that you can get the best of Mac safety at a reasonable price. It is not necessary to buy the most expensive program to secure your computer.
A high number of cyberattacks have their roots in email phishing, fraud, and scams. You should look for the spam email protection feature before choosing an online virus scanner for your Mac.
Downloading certain files on your computer can result in unwanted files and viruses being installed alongside them. You should choose a program that offers file download scanning.
Spyware and Malware Detection
The best antivirus tools and programs not only look out for viruses, but they also offer spyware, ransomware, adware, malware detection and protection services; hence, you should also keep this feature in mind.
Notice how some online antivirus programs slow the computer, while others do not? Go for programs that aren’t too heavy on your processors.
Online antivirus scan tools are a great way to keep your computer clean without needing to be installed. They are lighter in weight than their offline counterparts due to their scanning tools being cloud-based; you won’t have to worry about them taking up any of your computer’s storage space.
They may vary in speed and can sometimes cause your computer to lag, but they are ideal as a quick fix. There are a lot of good and light online antivirus scanners that may or may not require some installation. You should use the information we have provided in this article to choose whichever online virus scanner you feel is the best for your system, and also fits your needs the most.
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