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Do i need antivirus software for my mac?

Do i need antivirus software for my Mac?

This is the question we get asked a lot on jobs around Cairns. Whilst it is a simple question. The answer is not. Before we speak about whether purchasing an antivirus is the right move, lets briefly talk about antivirus software in general.

One of the most important things to understand when considering purchasing an antivirus program is they’re not perfect. In the windows environment, it is common knowledge that at least 10% of virus’s will get past your antivirus system. Whilst this number is reduced (improved) on some mac systems, no antivirus is perfect and some do nothing at all.

Another important fact – no antivirus software will prevent a zero day attack.  When new threats appear online a number of people must be infected before antivirus companies will notice and start to gather enough data to create a virus definition. Between the time of initial attack and the release of an update to your antivirus programs, millions of computers can be infected. This means even a perfect antivirus system is still completely useless for a period of time after the release of new malware (viruses). A good example of this is the MacDefender malware that prolifically infected mac systems. It was achieved simply by modifying the trojan enough to slip through the definitions created by the antivirus companies.

Lets come back to the question. Should you buy an antivirus system for your mac. At this point in time the latest version of Mac OSX protects against all known malware. Due to the way OSX is programmed it is inherently more secure then other operating systems on the market. However, as previously mentioned, it cannot protect you against new malware, neither will your Antivirus software. As Mac OSX becomes more popular it will be become more attractive to cyber criminals. This will increase the risk of browsing the internet unprotected. A good example of this is the increase in adware infections in OSX system in the last few months. Also with credit card fraud on the rise it becomes prudent to enhance your security with an antivirus system. As the saying goes “its better to be safe than sorry”.

When it comes to business, we always recommend installing an antivirus. When operating a business, there is increased risk of using the internet without security software. With the hundreds of emails, attachments and websites that you access every week you become more susceptible to attack. Also if you become infected you could spread the virus to all your contacts and be blacklisted from sending emails.

It is worth noting that your security is only as strong as the weakest link, and that weakest link is you. Good decisions on the internet translate to good security. Bad decisions translate to infections. If it looks suspicious it most likely is. But if you need a second opinion, then a reputable antivirus program is the way to go.

Which antivirus software should i choose.

There are many different brands on the market. Some get better over time, some get worse. Some are very basic and others packed full of security features. Over the years we have come to trust one brand when it comes to internet security and those that have spoken to us know we recommend Kaspersky. Whilst it isn’t a perfect antivirus system. It’s the best one we’ve seen yet. It’s packed full of antivirus features that will protect you from cyber criminals and malware attacks. It also has banking security functions to prevent criminals from recording your keystrokes and stealing your banking password. Further, unlike some security systems Kaspersky Total Security includes a robust firewall as well as an antivirus for extra protection.

Should you get antivirus software for your mac: the verdict.

Quite simply, if you have a mac at home for general internet browsing and limited emails from friends, then your risk of infection or cyber theft is low. Accordingly, as long as you have kept your Mac up-to-date you most likely wont need security software. On the other hand, if you use your computer for banking or business purposes, then we absolutely recommend you secure your computer with an antivirus program. The risks of criminals getting access to your banking information or infecting your office with a virus is just too high to ignore.

For any further questions you may have about security or if you need us to drop in to assess your current virus situation please do not hesitate to contact us.

Note: If your office environment includes a server system please speak to us about a customised antivirus solution before purchasing any antivirus software.