For a very long time, we Mac users could sit back in an almost illusory state of bliss and think we were not subject to the same enemies of the PC, the main one being virus’. Those days though are sliding behind us as the Mac becomes ever more successful. The more successful the device is, the more of them there are and the more there is for someone who likes to wreak havoc on a PC, for some very strange reason, to write malicious software for the Mac.
Things have somewhat changed though and it is no longer the case that these people are writing simply malicious code. Now, they have decided that there is great benefit to be had in stealing money. In some cases, it is far worse than just the theft of your money. They might attempt to take your identity which allows them access to all kinds of things. It’s not as simple as snapping your finger either to get your identity back.
Proactive Tools to attempt to escape an Attack
Fortunately, as there are many proactive tools to keep the PC user safe, there are more and more tools becoming available for the Mac user. As a place to start, we can look at three very good tools for the Mac. Over time, the types of things AV software is being used for has changed and it is not solely used to prevent malicious code.
The use of any of the following three tools would be a good forward step but one must know that some of the tools may lead to one would say not a smooth a running machine but a far safer machine.
- Intego (complete suite is the best value and combination of tools)
If the Mac starts acting Oddly for No Apparent Reason
This section starts with an immediate word of caution. The Mac has been acting somewhat odd since Yosemite came out and is only sort of sorting out now with El Capitan. At one time, if your computer was acting strangely for no obvious reason, it would be easy to assume that it was a virus which was causing the behavior. It still might be and so it’s a good place to start.
However, putting this aside, no Mac today should be without protective tools – backup, Anti-virus etc. If you were to say loose all your photos, you would probably really be kicking yourself if you didn’t have a backup. And a virus can be annoying to say the least. However, having your credit card compromised or worse still you identity stolen is no small thing. Therefore, I can easily say without hesitation, to fully employ at least backup, some maintenance routines and AV software.
AV Programs built well for the Mac
All of the above programs are considered first rate for the Mac. There are other programs that can do the job and possibly for less money. However, where it comes to security protection I prefer the best. The cost of a failure, if it were very significant, would far outweighs any costs incurred up front.
Of these programs, not all are equal. Bitdefender doesn’t tend to get in your way much if at all. Webroot is a very comprehensive program but it interferes with programs such as TextExpander, Typinator and to a degree Keyboard Maestro. You can easily turn it off but that slows down the process of these programs. You are though, more heavily protected. It’s a bit of a trade-off here between highly secure but interference or less secure and little interference.
Intego’s X series of defenders are comprehensive yet can be annoying in that they constantly ask you how to handle something. Once the DB is complete though, it no longer asks unless something new comes along.
The one important thing about all the AV programs is that non-interfere with your CPU use nor does anyone use an excessive amount of memory unless something gets stuck on a process. This is important as a long while back, when CPU’s were much less powerful, AV programs did cause interference and it would be annoying.
The Past is Shaping the Landscape
Largely as a result of the negative impact AV programs had on our PC brethren, Mac users were more than happy not to have to use an Antiviral program. These past machines, their CPUs and low memory capabilities caused the PC to perform poorly. Yet, everyone in the PC world soon learned it was better to put up with this than have a nights worth of work disintegrated by a nasty virus.
In the Mac world, there is still this reluctance to use AV programs. They do complicate things somewhat but not like they used to and the impact of them on the negative impact on the environment is low. That there is an impact cannot be questioned even though AV vendors would like you to think there is none. It costs money so right from the get go there is a negative impact.
However, are they aiding in reducing unwanted intrusions and the potential loss not only of data but money and possibly even identity. The answer to this seems to clearly they assist. Yet, we cannot rest on our laurels just because we have an AV program.
The User has to be Smart Too
It is important to look at an AV program as an assist tool. The user of a computer unfortunately has to remain vigilant that some phishing scam doesn’t deplete the bank account or that you consistently deploy your helper program.
The two combined: a smart user with a good AV program can make all the difference in the world. These programs are by no means all that is available but they make for a good starting point. The getting started is sometimes the hardest part of the whole routine. Once in place, it then just becomes a part of consciousness and good practice. The payoff of averting a problem is often not measurable except in terms of what it took to get there.