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Keep Your Mac, and Other Software, Up to Date

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  • Keep Your Mac, and Other Software, Up to Date.
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Share Tweet. False detections, although annoying when too common, are preferable to a failure to catch something malicious.

How We Tested

And although AV-Test gave Defender a demerit for slowing down the installation of some apps, the Microsoft app earned top marks and beat industry averages for launching websites, starting apps, and copying files, tasks you do far more often than installing apps. And when a major vulnerability was discovered in Defender in May , the fix was remarkably fast—from a Friday-night disclosure to a Monday-evening patch.

Due to a combination of demographics, historical precedent, and tighter controls, Macs have long been less vulnerable to infection than Windows computers:. This is not to say Macs lack any vulnerabilities. Mac owners who install a bad browser extension are just as vulnerable as Windows or Linux users.

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The Flashback malware exploited a Java vulnerability and tricked more than , Mac users in , or about 2 percent of all Macs. More than anything, though, relying on any one aspect of your system, even the inherent protections of a Mac system, is foolish.

All the experts we spoke to recommended that Windows users run Defender, but also said it worked best when paired with Malwarebytes Premium. With the two apps, there is some overlap in coverage, but Windows Defender and Malwarebytes can run alongside each other peacefully.

While Windows Defender serves as a traditional system-protecting antivirus layer, Malwarebytes Premium protects you from newer threats not traditionally spread by email, USB drives, or other old-fashioned avenues. Malwarebytes looks for any program doing the kinds of things that malware does, not just a known list of bad actors.

This difference in approach is partly why Malwarebytes is not included in institutes' and publications' antivirus-software tests, which often rely on running a list of known threats against each software suite.

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The Best Free Antivirus Software for | Digital Trends

Malwarebytes also looks for junkware installed alongside other apps, potentially unwanted programs PUP , and exploits present in applications already installed on a system, as explained in a Malwarebytes blog post :. Antivirus usually deals with the older, more established threats, such as Trojans, viruses, and worms.

Anti-malware, by contrast, typically focuses on newer stuff, such as polymorphic malware and malware delivered by zero-day exploits. Antivirus protects users from lingering, predictable-yet-still-dangerous malware. Anti-malware protects users from the latest, currently in the wild, and even more dangerous threats. Malwarebytes offers a free trial of its Premium version for Windows and Mac 14 days and 30 days, respectively. The Windows and Mac apps are all but identical: Both live in the system tray, work in the background, and have an uncomplicated dashboard you can mostly ignore.

We recommend the Premium version because, unlike the free version, it performs real-time scanning—if you leave to yourself the task of manually scanning for things already on your computer, that's no kind of security.

Amazing FREE Mac Utilities You Must Download!

Everyone we spoke to said that while virus and malware protection was necessary, the idea that any one app could be universally aware of and protect against all threats was ludicrous.