Why you shouldn't install antivirus software on your Mac

Antivirus software on the Mac or anti-malware apps on macOS are not required. In this post I would like to show you why this is the case and how I have been using Apple computers for over 20 years without even having a virus or trojan. I would also like to refute the rumor that you can do anything with an antivirus program on your computer and no longer have to think about possible dangers. Many examples - especially from the Windows and Android sectors - show that an AV app does not prevent infection, but at best can detect it. If you're lucky, she'll bring treatment tools too.

In this article I explain why you shouldn't install antivirus software on your Mac. AV apps are not only unreliable, they are also a target for attack. A conscious use of the computer is much better!
In this article I explain why you shouldn't install antivirus software on your Mac. AV apps are not only unreliable, they are also a target for attack. A conscious use of the computer is much better!

Install antivirus program and be safe?

No antivirus software can protect a computer from threats 100%. Although it can warn of downloaded files, websites and other access or changes, as these can be potentially harmful. However, it is the user himself who ultimately decides whether the program should be executed, the website should be called up or access should be allowed. And it is not uncommon for impatience and ignorance to come together, an error can quickly occur and the malware is already installed. Then the AV app might still be able to do that Virus, the Trojans, which detect adware or similar malware, possibly even quarantine them. However, in the case of modern, sophisticated attacks, not all elements are removed.

Ergo: Antivirus software - no matter on which system from macOS to Windows and Linux to iOS, Android and others - does not really make sense. At most if there is already an infestation, but otherwise common sense is required when dealing with the computer.

Why antivirus software cannot protect properly at all

Malware, its detection and combating as well as the emergence of new malware - this is a constant cycle. In the beginning there are the new viruses, Trojans, ransomware programs and the like. When they are detected, not only are anti-virus programs adapted to them (after they have failed and already allowed the infection on some computers), the sources of distribution (websites, programs, e-mails) are switched off and other countermeasures are taken. In the end, the AV people announce that their program now helps against Virus X and Trojan Y, but do not say that these dangers are no longer current. New, still unknown programs and scripts are in the works. And the cycle starts all over again.

As early as 2014, Symantec (the program forge behind "Norton Antivirus") recognized that antivirus software is basically useless and no longer relevant for the market. At that time, the Vice President for Computer Security at Symantec announced to the Wall Street Journal that antivirus software " dead ”. You can read the story from 5 years ago at heise and at Golem.

Why Apple Products Are Still Safer

It has long been said that you don't need virus protection on an Apple Mac - mainly because hackers, malware programmers and Ransomware- Focus extortionists on outnumbered Windows users. But even today, at a time when Apple Mac, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook and Co. are in greater demand, there is no need for antivirus software under macOS. With its proprietary system, Apple ensures that known dangers can be quickly counteracted with an update. This also applies to iOS on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. In complete contrast to Android, where updates - if they appear at all - take weeks from some manufacturers due to the open system.

Instructions: Keeping your computer safe is not difficult

“A computer is only as smart as the person sitting in front of it.” - that is an old and not insignificant wisdom. Because if you are aware that unsolicited mail attachments, Programs loaded from software portals with installers and links in e-mails that appear insecure should not be opened, life is a bit calmer. When in doubt, every app and every file on the computer should be questioned. Here is a brief overview of things to look out for:

Ja No
Did I create the file myself / saved it on the hard drive? Okay good. If no reliable source can be determined: delete.
Do I know the sender of the email with the attachment or have I actively requested it? Mail and attachment can be opened. Delete and preferably mark it as spam right away.
Does the app come from the App Store? Wonderful. Then hopefully it comes directly from the developer, who does not ask for a PW during installation.
Should an app be installed via the installer, which asks for the admin password? Don't install, delete. See app store question.
Do I make regular backups, e.g. B. with Time Machine? Very good, then accidentally deleted data or the entire system can be restored. Why not?

A little tip on the subject of e-mails and phishing: Google has released a phishing quiz that can help you find out more Phishing e-mails can safely examine for clues. Among other things in the Weekly news for week 4 I have already reported about it. You will also find the quiz, in which you learn to discover false senders, links, attachments, etc. with this link.

And if you're wondering which hard drive to use for your Time Machine backup, I have here is the appropriate contribution.

Conclusion on the topic

There is no need to install antivirus software on Apple Mac. On the one hand, because it doesn't really bring anything. On the other hand, because Apple quickly protects the macOS operating system from emerging threats. In addition, AV apps themselves are a source of danger as they open pretty much all files, programs and scripts for analysis. This means that they offer an enormous target area for those digital pieces that you actually don't want to open. If you want to protect yourself from viruses, Trojans and the like, you should simply work with care and a little brainpower on the Mac. It's also been the path I've been walking for over 20 years, and so far I haven't had a single virus on my Mac.

What are your thoughts on or experiences with the topic? Feel free to leave a comment!

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6 thoughts on “Why you shouldn’t install antivirus software on your Mac”

  1. Hello! I totally agree with you, but my Mac was infected by malware that kept redirecting me to the Bing search engine while searching the Internet. I don't know how this happened. Even with the new software macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the problem was not solved, so I downloaded the free versions of Malwarebytes, Avast Security, Memory Diag and Cleaner One Lite, the last two mentioned do nothing against this attack where against the two first help. However, I don't really feel safe with these programs on my Mac as I see it as described in this article. Once you have installed virus protection, you open gates and doors to malicious programs. However, I admit that I'm not that great of a computer expert. If someone can give me tips on protection even though my Mac is already infected, I would be very grateful. Because, as I said, I don't want these so-called protection programs on my Mac.

    1. Hello Pershing! I am surprised that a malicious program redirects to the Bing search. The evil programmer has nothing to do with that. I can imagine that Bing may have been entered as the default search in your browser via some means. Have you checked the browser settings? If you tell me which browser you are using, I can help you where to look.

  2. Hi, thank you very much for your assessment. It definitely helps me with my question as to whether or not I should install an AV on my new iMac. Do you perhaps also know how it behaves when you send a lot back and forth with Windows users? On the Internet you can find the statement that you can theoretically infect Windows users with viruses that cannot affect Mac OS, but can infect Windows computers. And I definitely don't want that. I am self-employed and don't want to be responsible for accidentally infecting my customers with a virus or other malicious program. What do you think about?
    Thank you very much and greetings,

    1. Hello Sanna! Yes, there is a theoretical possibility that you are passing on a virus that cannot do anything on your Mac, but on Windows it can. I just think that Windows users usually have an antivirus program running anyway, since they are more the focus of the "bad guys" than Mac users. This means that if someone has such a program, the virus will not be able to do anything from you either. And besides, you would first have to classify the attachment as trustworthy and so should your customer. With most attachments with a virus you can already see that something is wrong here. Every now and then you get a Microsoft Word file that wants to run macros. Or there are attachments that pretend to be ZIP files but end with .exe. If you're vigilant, you'll quickly get a feel for what's clean and what's not. In any case, I have never had the case that I have forwarded a virus. Or the recipient didn't tell me about it, but I can't imagine that. Ultimately, you'll have to go with your gut when deciding whether to go for it or not. LG!

  3. Hello Sir Apfelot

    I agree with you that the behavior and caution of the user is the most important tool to protect the computer from a pest infestation.
    However, a multi-tiered safety net is always better than just hanging everything on a single node, the more the better.

    1st level = User!
    Anyone who thinks that's enough is massively overestimating themselves!!
    2nd level = AV software!
    Assuming that anything can be done safely with an AV app is as idiotic as buckling your seatbelt and driving into a wall.
    It does not prevent an infestation, but it can massively reduce the consequences.
    3rd stage = backup
    Playing back data always involves a lot of effort; the more complex the system becomes, the more time-consuming it becomes. > So the last emergency nail.

    1. Hello Florian! Yes, you are certainly well served with the 3 levels. I left out level 2 because I keep noticing that after every major macOS update, readers come to me with strange problems. And in many cases, the problems go away when the anti-virus software is uninstalled. But everyone can decide for themselves, I think. I can also understand if someone makes this compromise in order to have a greater sense of security.

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