There are over 100 million users of Apple desktop computers and laptops in the world; however, it’s a fact that more than 80% of the worldwide computer users choose Microsoft Windows over Apple OS. That’s because of various reasons, and therefore confuses Apple developers who constantly struggle to come up with improved variants and user-friendly interfaces. No matter the efforts, it seems that Windows will continue to win this round and battleship over and over again while Apple has to admit its defeat.
But just like regular users, hackers and virus programmers also mostly target Windows users because of their great population compared to Apple computer users.
So, is it necessary to use an antivirus for Mac?
It’s almost a trivial fact that you need to have a virus protection tool installed on your Windows. But the question remains whether, with about 10% of the market, Apple also requires a specialized antivirus program? The answer lies, just like in most of the cases, in the conception of each and every user.
The utility of an efficient antivirus program also depends on the frequency on which one user connects to the internet. If you most likely will never open an Internet website (like at the office or etc.), the answer is definitely no – you do not need a specialized antivirus program for your Mac computer. On the contrary, if you spend most of your time surfing, working or socializing on the Internet, then the answer might be yes. And since the majority of users daily surf the web, how can one be sure they are truly protected against malware and spyware? However, most spyware and malware infections that get to the systems can be easily blamed on the user’s behavior.
Teenagers and youngsters are prone to download pirated softwares or illegally download applications that put the computer’s safety at risk. And while Microsoft users are more prone to be infected through the so-called drive-by silent infection which has nothing to do with the user’s actions or behavior, a Mac infection usually occurs because of the deliberate dangerous actions of its user.
The risk of infecting an Apple computer also widely depends on each variant and type of system used. Microsoft, for instance, tends to keep its entire OS “offspring” under the same roof and create a common background while various types of Mac OS can be extremely different one from another. This is why Apple strongly advices that all its users should upgrade to the Mac OS X, the newest and the most malware-tested operation system.
How Macs get infected?
But even though the risks of virus infection while using OS X are considerably smaller than the ones when using Windows, there are still numerous threats to the Macs as well. Especially in the past five years, many hackers and malware developers have come up with countless possibilities of infecting and damaging Apple products users.
The single most common way of infection is through the so-called “phishing” websites. Basically, the official front page of a bank or highly reputed store, financial institution is copied and visitors are asked to introduce their personal data for validation or for consulting their bank accounts. The minute a person introduces his or her personal data (account number, PIN code) all data are reproduced on cloned credit cards that hackers lately use to purchase online goods or retreat money. Even though phishing attacks do not require many programming skills, there are thousands of people worldwide that were the victims of such attacks.
In order to protect themselves from similar attacks, as well as the infections with malicious trojans or viruses, each responsible Internet user, whether running OS X, Windows or Linux operation system, should have a specialized antivirus software. Luckily, there are enough programs that offer both free and paid antivirus protection for users, depending on each user’s needs.
And, the recommended software is…
Sophos Antivirus is by far every editor’s choice when it comes to professional antivirus programs. The most appreciated feature of Sophos is that, besides offering full business-grade protection, it is capable of detecting both Mac and Windows malware threat. The technique is called “downstream protection” and it is the most appreciated currently. This means that a virus “caught” via email infected attachments that cannot harm a Mac (because the virus wasn’t written for Mac users, for example) can still infect a Windows user. So it still can be harmful if the user runs Windows on their Mac system. This is why most current antivirus programs struggle to offer malware protection for both Mac and Windows systems.
Brian is a tech blogger who mostly writes about Mac security products such as anti malware and Best Mac Antivirus software. His latest app reviews could be found on his blog.