Articles, Blog

The Best Mac Anti-Virus Software (MacMost #1908)

December 21, 2019

Hi, this is Gary with Today let’s look at the best anti-virus software
for your Mac. MacMost is brought to you by a community of
more than 350 supporters. Find out how you can become a part of it at So I often get asked what’s the best anti-virus
software for the Mac. A lot of times people say I just don’t feel
comfortable not running anti-virus software or my company says I have to have it on my
computer. So what should I get. You’re not really looking for anti-virus software. You’re looking for anti-malware software. A virus is just one type of malware and it’s
rare today. Most malware today are trojans. These are pieces of software that you install
yourself because you’ve been tricked into downloading software from a site you shouldn’t
trust. Sometimes that software itself is malware. Sometimes the malware comes along for the
ride when you install the software. Now you want to prevent that malware from
getting on your Mac. So what software should you install. The good news is that the best software for
the job is already on your Mac. It’s included as part of Mac OS. For years now Apple has include anti-malware
software built into the operating system. They don’t talk about this much because, of
course, they don’t want to publicize that part of it. They don’t want to talk about how there are
trojans out there for the Mac. They just quietly built it into the operating
system and it protects you. Now this protection software is in three parts. The first part is called Gatekeeper except
you won’t find something called Gatekeeper anywhere on your Mac anymore. If you go to Apple menu, System Preferences
and then you go to Security & Privacy and you look under General there’s a section here
called Allow Apps downloaded from. Years ago they actually had a little icon
there and they called this gatekeeper. So that’s what people refer to it as. Now it’s just some settings here. You can’t even actually change them unless
you authenticate and then you have two options. You can only allow apps to be installed from
the App Store or you can allow apps from the App Store and from identified developers. Beyond these two options you do actually have
the ability to install any software you want as long as you give it permission. So this is like your first line of defense. If an app is in the App Store then it was
submitted by an identified developer with a developer account with Apple and Apple reviewed
it before they allow it in the App Store. It’s not a perfect system but it does allow
Apple to check for a lot of things including whether it presents a security or privacy
vulnerability and just some quality guidelines that Apple has. If there are problems Apple can actually pull
it out of the App Store and take away the developer’s ability to produce new apps in
the App Store or even as assigned developer. Even if the app is from outside the App Store
if it’s an assigned app, that means the developer is part of the Apple Developer Program. There’s been some identification checks and
Apple can revoke that. So there’s some level of security with just
signing an app. So Gatekeeper is kind of a gateway system. It just prevents things from getting installed. So if you’re not that tech savvy then you
should definitely set it at the lowest level and have it only allow apps from the App Store. Even if you set it to the other one you should
always question whether or not you really need an app and whether you really trust the
site that you’re downloading from. If there’s any question just don’t do it. The next part of Apple’s Anti-malware system
is called XProtect. You won’t find any mention of it anywhere
official either. It’s built into Mac OS and you can actually
check to see that it’s there and that it’s been updated. So what XProtect does is it prevents you from
installing some of the worst pieces of malware out there. It does this in the same way antivirus software
works. It has these little identifiers that identify
if a piece of software is bad and it will then prevent it from being installed. You can check in the Apple menu About This
Mac, click on System Report, and then look on the list on the left and go, Under Software,
to Installations. Then you’re going to get this long list. If you look all the way under XProtect you’ll
find a bunch of XProtect plist ConfigData entries. The most recent one is the one that you want. You can see right here that version 2102 installed
on April 19th. Now if you want you can actually find XProtect
just to see that it’s there. So in the Finder choose Go and then choose
Computer. Dig down into your hard drive, then System,
and then Library. Under there look for Core Services. Look there and you’ll find one called XProtect. If I Control click on it and say Show Package
Contents, I can look in Contents, Resources, and I can see a XProtect plist and an XProtect
meta plist. Under meta I can see here in the little preview
that the version is 2102 right there. Under the other one I can open it up just
by hitting the spacebar and look at it in QuickLook. You can see all these different definitions
for different pieces of malware. So if I look for something like a dictionary
entry here under description I can see in the string there’s the name of it. If you actually search for that online you
might find a little bit about that piece of malware. Here’s another one and here’s another one. All right. So Gatekeeper prevents you from installing
something that you probably shouldn’t. XProtect is the next line of defense making
sure that even if you give it permission it’s not going to let you install some of the worst
malware out there. What’s beyond that? Well, there’s something called MRT which is
the malware removal tool. This is an app that’s on your Mac that will
actually remove pieces of malware. You can also find that if you go to About
This Mac and then System Report and then look under Installations. You’ll find MRTconfigdata and a version number
there and the last updated date. In the Finder if you go into your Computer
and then System and then Library and then from there you also look in Core Services
that’s where you’ll actually find MRT. So how do you run MRT. Well, you don’t and it’s kind of a mystery
as to when it runs. Some people say it runs every time you reboot
your Mac. If you have malware if you simply do a restart
of your Mac it may get rid of it because MRT will trigger then. Other people say it runs whenever there’s
an update. So you do an update and then it will run and
scan your drive and then look for that malware and remove it. Now to keep XProtect and MRT updated make
sure that under System Preferences and Software Update click on the Advance button. Make sure you have Install System Data Files
and Security Updates checked. So that’s Apple’s three part anti-malware
system built into Mac OS. It won’t protect you from everything. You can still go to a site that you probably
shouldn’t, download a piece of software that you definitely shouldn’t, install it and give
it permission to install, and then you might be stuck with something like some adware that
actually shows ads or changes how Safari searches and things like that. So you can still be the weak link here. Only install software that you’re absolutely
sure you need and it’s from a site or service that you know you can trust. Always keep your Mac updated.


  • Reply Neno May 3, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    So happy I transitioned to Apple’s ecosystem 1 year ago from long lifetime Windows & Android user.

  • Reply Carlos & Provy Rivera May 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Great explanation of what built in already in MacOS. Thx!! So does an app like CleanMyMac that has a malware removal option simply run MRT or is it doing something else?

  • Reply chessdude67 May 3, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks Gary! Thumbs up!!

  • Reply Tony Padgett May 3, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    One of your most interesting and informative video yet!

  • Reply Emile van Zeeland May 4, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Gary, thanks again. I use Malwarebytes but seeing this I do not need it?

  • Reply Ludovic Bubner May 4, 2019 at 9:23 am

    This is a good video. Finally, there is somebody out there who tells the truth about Mac.

  • Reply Andrew Cave May 4, 2019 at 9:37 am

    After years of pain running Windows machines i transistioned to the Apple ecosystem and now I have to remind myself how fantastic the Mac (and my other Apple products) is at keeping me safe and virus free………..Thanks Gary for explaining how the Mac does this.

  • Reply Alan Davis May 4, 2019 at 10:51 am

    I had a problem a while back = Apple support suggested I install Malwarebytes?? They even talked me through the installation?

  • Reply But We May 4, 2019 at 11:33 am


  • Reply ChildOL May 4, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Unfortunately I still see macs that are infected with malware/adware and use the free malwarebytes scanner and avast antivirus to remove them.

  • Reply HabibalbyBm May 25, 2019 at 8:49 am

    There is huge difference between less experience person who uses MacBook who is totally ignorant to security by saying, Oh yeah Apple doesn't require Anti-virus software. And the other guys who has 18 – 20 years of experience in general IT, where it's not possible to convince them that MacBook does not require Anti-virus. Please all, don't be just ignorant to threats and security.

  • Reply mehmet emin Dogru June 7, 2019 at 9:03 pm ANTIVIRUS FOR MAC $34,99 42%

  • Reply The Late Waker July 11, 2019 at 12:34 am

    thanks for the video as I am very new to the iMac

  • Reply The Real SyXx Team Syxx Productions July 18, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    I keep getting this redirect to bing its driving me insane

  • Reply be lovely July 20, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    If you do end up installing antivirus software will this negate these features on Mac? My thoughts behind this is that when you get a new subscription for antivirus software on a windows computer you need to remove any previous software. So I'm wondering if these features somehow get removed or if they are always there no matter what?
    Also what about VPN?

  • Reply J D August 15, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    thanks ii also brought mackeeper thanks for saving me money.

  • Reply shivam sharma August 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    to enable from anywhere

    sudo spctl –master-disable

    to default again

    sudo spctl –master-enable

  • Reply Jose Calvo September 7, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Good information thank you!

  • Reply 360VisualSolutions September 12, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Anyone know how to run a malware scan using any of these programs? I have a website infected and the host is asking for a screen shot to show I have SCANNED the computer for malware and I'm clean

  • Reply Brandon Hawkins September 25, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    I need help, so i think i have a password on my mac. i use to at least, i didnt want it on there any more cause i live alone and no one could get into it. Well i thought i deleted it a while back but i cant remember if i did or not. Now it does not ask for it when i start my computer up again but i cant unlock anything for security purposes etc. because the old password that i use to use doesnt work anymore. It says its incorrect. Now i only use like 3 different passwords ever in my life so i know it has to be one of 3 and nothing is working. so is there anyway to rest my password without knowing it?

  • Reply st.clair mac aulay October 6, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    well it don't fucking work!!

  • Reply David Detail October 11, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    It has taken 5 years ! to come around to your point of view / fact .

  • Reply WenSaiPanther October 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Great video, but my wife downloaded malware, so how do I get rid of it now that it’s there?

  • Reply Mark Sibert October 21, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Interesting. I just checked my computer and didn't see MRT among the 3 you mentioned, and the computer has malware. Do you think the malware removed the MRT?

    If yes, how do I get rid of the malware now?

  • Reply Gerd aus dem Bergischen Land November 14, 2019 at 3:50 am

    Thanks for your outstanding VideosGary,
    Ok understood, I don't need anti virus software for the Mac. Does it work even if I have Office 365 installed on my Mac? For example, I need Outlook and Excel for Business. It would be a disaster if I forwarded documents with viruses to my customers?

  • Reply Wilmar Valverde December 2, 2019 at 12:36 am

    Very good video!!!!!

  • Reply Cory Wong December 10, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Gary im getting my first Mac. A 27 2013. Do i need a firewall? Or does Mac have one already installed? Thank for your excellent vids. Im learning about Macs thank to you

  • Reply Pig E December 12, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Would love to see these protections put to the test.

  • Reply Dave Howie December 12, 2019 at 3:58 pm


  • Reply Dennis van Mierlo December 18, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Hi Gary,
    Thank you for this great video. But it is not finished since you did not mention which the best additional anti malware/virus software is for the Mac. I’m also interested in the performance impact on the OS of these additional software packages.
    Greetings from The Netherlands ??

  • Reply HappySamSenior December 19, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve just been through this video step-by-step. Right at the end MRT shows up on my Mac withe a white circle and bar, as if it hasn’t been upgraded to work with Catalina. All the other things are as they are in your video.

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