Why Macs don't need traditional antivirus?

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Why Macs don’t need traditional antivirus?

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Wirecutter wanted to create a guide for the best antivirus apps. We spent many months researching software and reading reports from institutions and independent testing labs. After all that research, we discovered that most people shouldn’t pay for traditional antivirus software like McAfee or Norton. They should also not use free programs such as Avira or Avast. It is the “best antivirus” that most people should purchase. Windows Defender, Microsoft’s built-in tool, is sufficient for most people.

We spent dozens of hours looking at results from independent labs such as AV-Test, AV-Comparatives and feature articles from many publications like Ars Technica and PCMag, as well as white papers and releases from groups and institutions like Avast antivirus license key, and others. To find out what malware, ransomware, and spyware are currently infecting computers, we also looked into the recent viruses.

We have spoken with IT professionals and security experts over the years to help filter out the usual headlines about antivirus. Antivirus is becoming less useful but still quite handy. No, antivirus has become redundant. Wait, no, it is not.

We test every product in every category, but we don’t know enough to test antivirus suites better than independent labs, so we relied upon their expertise.

However, depending on one app to protect your computer, data and privacy is not a good idea, especially since almost all antivirus apps have been found vulnerable. No antivirus program will catch all malicious software on your computer, no matter how expensive or free. Also, you will need secure passwords and two-factor logins. Data encryption, systemwide back-ups, automatic software upgrades, and smart privacy options to your browser. It is important to be careful about what software you download. Only use official sources such as the Apple Mac App Store or Microsoft App Store. If you don’t know the email attachments, it is best to avoid opening them. Our complete guide to setting up security layers will provide guidance. Click Here

We don’t recommend traditional antivirus software.

A security app cannot protect against one set of “viruses”. It is insufficient to have a security app that only protects against one set of known “viruses.” Although antivirus companies constantly upgrade their detection systems to defeat crypting services, they won’t be able to keep up with the malware makers who are determined to get through.

Quick terminology: malware means “bad software”. It refers to any program that runs on your computer and has unintended, often harmful, consequences. Antivirus, on the other hand, is a term software developers still use because viruses, Trojan horses and worms were major, attention-grabbing threats in the early 2000s. Technically, all viruses can be classified as malware. However, not all malware pieces are viruses.

Why not get a complete antivirus suite from a trusted brand? There are many reasons to do this:

Problems:

 The nature of antivirus apps providing protection is a problem. TechRepublic explained that security software requires high access privileges to function effectively. However, when it is insecure or malfunctioning, it can become a greater liability because it has more control over the system. Symantec, Norton, Kaspersky and all major antivirus vendors have all been victims of critical vulnerabilities.

Performance: Antivirus software can slow down computers, block the best security features in other apps (such as Chrome and Firefox browsers), pop up with distracting reminders or upsells for subscriptions and updates, and install potentially insecure browser extensions without asking for permission.

Privacy: 

Free antivirus software can cause all the above issues and create privacy concerns. Security isn’t free. Free-to-download programs are more likely to collect information about you and your browsing habits and sell that data. They also have the potential to hijack your search and break your security, as well as add advertisements to your email signature.

We don’t recommend people spend money or time installing traditional antivirus software on their computers.

Our recommendation comes with two caveats:

Do not remove antivirus software or other security tools from a laptop you are given by work, school or another organization. Security needs for organizations are different from personal computers. They also have different threat models and require that employees have safe and technical habits. Don’t make it more difficult for your IT department.

There are unique threats for people who have sensitive data to protect (medical or financial) or who use the Internet to access riskier areas. While our security and habit recommendations can be a great starting point, these situations might require more intensive measures than we have covered.

Windows Defender is generally sufficient.

Windows 10 users already have an anti-malware and antivirus app, Windows Defender, which is enabled by default. Independent testing by the AV-Test Institute gave Windows Defender a recommendation for December 2019 and a near-perfect performance rating.

Windows Defender is a default Windows 10 app by the company that made the operating system. It doesn’t need to upsell or nag about subscriptions and doesn’t require the same certificate trickery for deep-rooted protection of your system. It does not install browser extensions or plug-ins for other apps. Windows Defender is the default malware detection app, which malware makers often try to circumvent. However, you can protect yourself from malicious Defender-defeating malware by having layers of security and good habits. They include sticking to the official app stores and not downloading unlicensed versions of items you should purchase.

AV-Test did not protect Windows Defender in September 2019 because it failed to detect zero-day malware attacks. No antivirus software receives perfect scores in all tests every month.

Why Macs don’t need traditional antivirus

Macs are historically less susceptible to infection than Windows computers because of a combination of historical precedent, demographics, and tighter controls.

  • Macs are far more popular than Windows computers. 17% of all Web-browsing desktops used macOS last year. They are significantly lower than the 78 per cent for all Windows versions combined.
  • The default macOS version includes a greater number of first-party apps. Both downloaded, and macOS apps can receive updates from Apple’s App Store. Windows PC owners are more comfortable downloading software and drivers from the Internet. They also give permissions to third-party apps more likely to be malicious.
  • Windows 10 and later versions must accept older apps to run. This creates a complex set of legacy systems that are difficult to secure. Since OS X’s introduction, Apple has not hesitated to make older apps obsolete. Older 32-bit apps were rendered obsolete by the company’s introduction of macOS Catalina in 2019.
  • Catalina adds security features to make it difficult to run malicious software. They include requiring apps to request permissions such as access to files and microphones. It isn’t easy to install the software you don’t want to.

However, this does not mean that Macs are immune to vulnerabilities. Mac users who have installed a malicious browser extension can be just as vulnerable to malware as Windows and Linux users. The Flashback malware exploited Java vulnerabilities and tricked over 500,000 Mac users in 2012. This affected about 2% of all Macs. There have been reports that Mac malware was growing. However, macOS’ built-in security features make it less of a problem than an actual threat.

Safe computing should be practised on a Mac. Only install apps from the official Mac App Store. Browser extensions can be dangerous, so only install the ones you need.

Most people don’t require additional protection.

We’ve discovered that Malwarebytes can detect malware that Windows Defender missed or made onto a Mac. The paid version is unnecessary for most people.

Malwarebytes can detect zero-day exploits Windows Defender might miss. The two programs can be used in tandem, provided they are properly set up. While the premium version includes live scanning for downloads, it is $40 per year. They are costly to protect against something that most people don’t use very often. You can use the free Malwarebytes version to scan your computer for suspicious downloads.

Layers and good habits are the best protection.

It is absurd to think that one app can be all-knowing and protect against all threats. Brian Krebs, a security journalist, writes that antivirus is “probably the most overstated instrument in any security toolbox.” While antivirus can catch malicious programs and protect your system from them, it is insufficient. We have created a guide to good practices and the best layers of protection.

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