Scams and Mac antivirus software - what you need to know

Watch out for online scams and protect your Apple Mac with the best security software

There is no end to the scams on the internet and they can pop up on your Apple Mac at any time. Would antivirus software help? Some apps will, but some apps are poorer than you might expect.

Scams and tricks

While searching for information on Terminal commands at Google, I opened three or four tabs for links on the first page of results.

I find it useful to look down the results and Ctrl+click interesting ones and open them in a new tab. Then I can quickly switch from tab to tab, checking the pages to see if they have what I want.

One of the tabs suddenly switched from the web page I was viewing to a pop-up scam. It was trying to trick me into doing something, I don’t know what because I didn’t hang around long enough or click the link to find out. It’s best to shut these pages down as fast as possible.

Pop-up scam messages when browsing the web

How do I know it is a scam? For a Start I am using a MacBook running macOS and the popup message has a Windows logo. It is obviously aimed at Windows users. After all, they make up the largest group of people browsing the web.

The page, dimmed in the background (you can't see it because the images is cropped), has Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo all over it.

This is  dumb mistake on the part of the scammer, but I have heard of popups like this that pretend they are from Apple, or they look like macOS generated messages.

It would be pretty easy to swap out the logo, Microsoft and Windows wording for an Apple logo, Apple and macOS wording, so don’t assume this won’t affect you as a Mac user.

It could and one day it probably will. You must be on your guard and be very suspicious of scams like this. 

In this case I just closed the tab and everything was fine. However, the scammer might try to lock the browser and prevent it from closing.

In this case, press Command+Option+Esc to open the Force Quit window. Select the browser and click the Force Quit button.

!5 ways to increase the security of your Mac
Encrypt files from the command line using OpenSSL

Which is the best antivirus software for Mac?

Mac malware exists and there is a fair bit around. Most of it is adware, spyware and Trojans, and there are hardly any true viruses. That doesn’t make it any less of a problem though.

Malware is found in software from, let’s say, less reputable sources. Some Mac users are plagued with popup ads and spyware after installing apps from dodgy websites.

Use reliable sources, such as the Mac App Store or a direct download from the developer’s website.

Security software is available for the Mac and there are many apps to choose from, but which is the best?

Security experts AV-Test have tested 12 different Mac programs against 31 malware samples. According to AV-Test there is malware that has a valid Apple certificate, which enables it to bypass macOS security systems.

The results are very interesting and AV-Test found that only 4 of the 12 security programs provided 100% protection. The following packages were able to detect and fully remove the malware: AVG AntiVirus, Bitdefender Antivirus, SentinelOne and Sophos Home.

F-Secure SAFE was found to detect only 64.5% of the malware samples. If you think that is bad, Webroot Secure Anywhere detected just 22.6% of the Mac malware.

It is worth pointing out that it is better than nothing and it does increase security, but detecting and removing only 22.6% of malware is shockingly bad.

Best free antivirus for Mac

If you want to increase the security of your Mac and stay safe on the internet, which security software should you use? These two packages offer 100% protection and they have a minimal effect on performance.

AVG AntiVirus for Mac

If you are at all concerned about security or have been affected by malware in the past, install one of these applications.

Further reading: 5 ways to browse the web securely using Safari



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