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There is a very common misconception out there that those using Macintosh or Mac are completely protected from anything that can infect their computers. The longstanding myth that Macintosh is protected and does not need anti-virus software needs to be busted once and for all. This is because of the number of people whose computers become infected with a virus due to the owner’s misconception.
Anti-virus software is completely necessary for anyone and everyone, including those using Macintosh, because their computer is not safe if they use the internet on it. The internet is a risky place and unless you are only using your laptop for extremely basic and internal usage (for example saving pictures or using Microsoft office), only then can your computer remain completely safe.
This is why the top five free anti-virus software programs have been picked for this list, as a means to provide you with a quick, easily accessible preventative measure.
How can a Mac get Infected with a Virus?
Like all other computers, Mac can also be at risk of getting infected with a virus. There are several types of Mac viruses and how your computer can end up getting them, including:
Adware is an additional and unwanted program on your Mac that will repeatedly have advertising pop-ups appear on your computer. This is a disrupting experience and it is generally difficult to detect the adware for a layperson and would require a diagnosis by a computer expert. Adware is often mistakenly downloaded on to your computer through an unreliable website.
The scarier part is that adware often works with spyware, which is a type of virus that records everything you do. Spyware is much more difficult to detect than adware and can often exacerbate your computer’s virus infection.
Trojan horses are the most common sources of viral infection and they come in many different forms, as the name suggests. They will appear to be something completely neutral or beneficial for your computer and if you end up downloading the malware, your computer will be instantly infected with a virus. Some Trojan horses also work in corroboration with spyware.
Ransomware is another virus that has been newly introduced in Macintosh. As the name suggests, ransomware gives Mac owners an ultimatum to either pay money to get their computer unlocked or face dire consequences which can range from you losing all of your data or even chunks of it. This virus usually comes about through unreliable and harmful websites or even placed in your computer by hackers.
Macro viruses have been in existent for a very long time and they were once exclusive to Windows computers, but also made a shift to Macintosh as well. These are usually installed in a computer when a user opens a macro-enabled corrupt file. The effects of such viruses include data corruption, creating new files, moving around text and sending files.
The 5 Best Free Macintosh Anti Virus Software
Some of the best free anti-virus software available for Mac includes the following:
This is a very powerful anti-virus software that will protect your computer from malware and keep it safe while you are online. It runs in the background to ensure that your computer does not acquire anything that can potentially cause a threat. It keeps your computer protected against different threats, like harmful websites, emails and downloads. In short, it covers the most basic security needs.
- Covers basic needs
- Runs in the background
- Scans and detects
- Can run an in-depth scan
- Does not have parental blockers in place
- A full system scan can take a while
- Only covers most basic needs
This is a great software if you want something basic that will not require constant monitoring from your end. However, if you are looking for something that provides complex security, this may not be the one for you.
Avira Free Antivirus for Mac
Avira is a well-known name in the anti-virus world. It detects harmful malware and alerts you to its presence. It also has a scanner that can allow you to either scan your entire computer or a specific set of files. It will intercept any dangerous websites and can even conduct “block tracking”. It has more advanced features than most basic anti-virus software, which is why it is quite popular. Avira can also protect your computer from spyware and adware.
- Provides advanced features
- Block tracking
- Protection against spyware and adware
- Scanning can be done for the entire computer or specific files
- Accurate virus detection
- A complete system scan may slow your computer down and take time
- Initial updates may take some time
Avira is a household name for a reason and that is because it is one of the most effective free anti-virus software programs available for Macintosh.
Bitdefender Virus Scanner
Bitdefender virus scanner offers a plethora of scanning options that can help keep your Mac safe from any kind of harm that may come it’s way. It is the fastest deep scanner that is available for free in the market and it is guaranteed to maintain your computer’s speed while doing so. Bitdefender can even scan important and often commonly hit locations on your computer, making sure to provide you with the protection you need. It also quarantines any files that may have been affected by a virus to make sure the rest of your computer does not catch it.
- Several scanning options
- Detects and quarantines already affected files
- One of the best free anti-virus software programs available
- Very fast system scan
- Hourly malware definition updates
- May not be easy to understand for everyone
If you are looking for heavy-duty software, Bitdefender is the one for you and will let you remain free of worries while using your computer.
Sophos Home Free
Made for lovers of custom use, Sophos provides basic features as well as other features that some might call excessive. Sophos allows you to create scheduled and on-demand scans of specific files, drives, folders, etc. It can quarantine harmful files in your computer, preventing further infection. It is a very lightweight software and is also user-friendly. Sophos also includes ransomware monitoring and webcam protection.
- Quarantines files
- Customized scheduling for specified locations
- Provides ransomware monitoring
- Provides webcam protection
- Does not burden your computer’s resources
- May run slower scans than other software
- Very compact user interface
Sophos is perfect for anyone looking for an anti-virus software that can be customizable and provides you with an easy to use interface.
One of the most popular anti-virus software programs available to date, Avast Security has earned its name as one of the most effective security systems created to date for computers. It has one of the fastest performances of any free software in the market and provides on-demand tools for different functions, including sifting through internet activity and email threads to looking through attachments and downloads. Even connected devices can be scanned using Avast. Avast is well-known for being very easy to use and highly reliable.
- Highly reliable
- Fast performance
- Most accurate virus detection
- On-demand tools
- Advanced features
- Easy to use
- Some premium features require paid access
Avast Security is the perfect match for anyone looking for something that can level with their fast-paced lifestyle. It is brilliant for people who are constantly on the go and need something that will work quickly and help them work with their schedule and not against it.
Considerations for Macintosh Anti-Virus Software
If you are looking for something that is available for free for your Macintosh, you need to find a highly reliable software. High-speed anti-virus software can be ideal for people who need their scans done within minutes and will not prevent them from their work.
You should look for a software that will provide you with additional features besides fulfilling your basic needs because the additional features are the ones that will allow you greater control and understanding of what is happening with your computer.
The top pick and most highly recommended free anti-virus software is Avast Security. This is because Avast provides you with everything you need in a neat little package. It is a household name, which shows how reliable the software is and getting it for free will only allow you to remain completely carefree. It is a dependent and high-performance software that ensures protection.
Thus, just because you own a Macintosh does not mean your computer is completely safe from viruses. Any computer can get infected nowadays, which is why it is crucial to find yourself an incredible anti-virus software that will provide your computer with the protection it needs. You cannot protect your computer on your own, your computer needs protection from the inside.
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