5 free security apps to keep your Mac safe


Mac users, check out these five antivirus software options, which includes one antimalware app that is ideal for SMBs.

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Macs get malware. In fact, recent reports indicate that “Macs saw more cyberthreats per endpoint than Windows PCs.” In order to have a secure Mac, you need to do more than just rely on Apple’s built-in security software like Gatekeeper. Although Gatekeeper does a good job, supplemental antivirus software is still necessary.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Mac Pro 2019 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Check Apple security settings

Before you rush to download antivirus software for macOS, look at the settings on your Mac that you can change to enhance security in System Preferences | Security And Privacy. 

By only allowing downloads from the Apple Store, turning on the macOS firewall, and controlling which apps have access to what folders, you can prevent malware from taking over your computer if it gets installed.

After turning on the macOS security settings, it’s time to find the right malware protection software.

Avast Security for Mac

Avast Security for Mac is a solid choice and has been for a long time. The free version includes three robust main features: 

  • Antimalware security
  • Web and email shields
  • Wi-Fi security scanning

Premium users get Wi-Fi intruder detection and a ransomware shield, but neither are essential. 

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Avast’s premium users get Wi-Fi intruder detection and a ransomware shield.

Sophos Home Free for macOS

Sophos offers a great option for small businesses wanting to keep their networks clean: It can filter web content on up to three macOS or Windows devices for free. It also offers real-time malware protection, and a web-based remote administration panel for managing multiple devices with Sophos on them.

Sophos Home Premium is a great option for anyone who needs to secure a SMB office that is full of computers: For $42 a year, subscribers can install and manage 10 machines.

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The free Sophos Home option is great for SMBs.

Avira Free Security Suite for Mac

The standout offering in Avira’s Free Security Suite for Mac is the free VPN service that comes with its free antivirus and web browsing protection. It’s only 500 MB of VPN traffic per month, but if you’re on an unsecured network and need to do sensitive work, a trustworthy VPN is critical.

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Avira offers a free VPN service with its antivirus and web browsing protection.

AVG AntiVirus for Mac

The free version of AVG AntiVirus for Mac includes real-time threat protection, web and filtering, and automatic updates. AVG runs silently in the background until needed and doesn’t take up a lot of system resources–at least not on my MacBook Air.

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AVG has been a reliable choice for years for protection and filtering.

Malwarebytes for Mac

Malwarebytes for Mac can function as a full-fledged security program, if you’re willing to pay for it, but its true worth lies in the one tool that comes with it free of charge: A malware cleaner.

The ability of Malwarebytes to remove malicious software–no matter how hard it has dug its claws in–is what makes this product an essential. Keep it on your computer in case of disaster–it’ll do the trick.

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The malware cleaner with Malwarebytes for Mac makes this an essential security program.

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