Macs are no longer safe from viruses and to be fair they were never completely secure in the first place. If you’ve been using a mac without protection for some time and haven’t been effected by a virus then you’ve been lucky. The main reason why you’ve got lucky is because the market share for macs is as low as 7% and so virus writers aren’t attracted by such low numbers. They would rather attack around 90% of the users (windows users) so they can steal a lot more credit card numbers and therefore generate more revenue. It’s kind of like asking a car dealer to sell cars to people under the age of 18 only, they wouldn’t make much money from it.
So, what are your options? Free antivirus is definitely one of them and if you’ve been tempted to install a free antivirus before you certainly wouldn’t be doing your machine any harm (as long as it’s verified and safe software). In fact, it’s a very good place to start. Free antivirus is a great way to get your mac initially protected and can also provide long lasting protection without having to pay a thing. Most free antivirus software includes the very basic features to keep your mac clean and safe.
Sounds great, right? There are a few drawbacks. Viruses are developed to bypass antivirus suites and so the more frequently the antivirus software is updated the more chance your mac is still protected. Some free antivirus software isn’t updated as regularly as paid versions and so you could be leaving yourself more susceptible to a virus attack. Another drawback is that viruses are now designed to attack via different channels such as, email clients, browser extensions and software installation. Installing a paid antivirus package will usually cover all of these possibilities of attack by including extra features like browser protection and anti-spam, however if you’ve only got a free AV then you will almost always only be covered by the basics.
Whether you need a free vs paid software is really down to how you use your mac. If the majority of your work is offline, editing videos and watching movies then a free antivirus should suffice, but if you’re visiting social media sites (especially ones with lots of ads) and making online transactions we highly recommend getting a paid antivirus right now!