I have been searching for a good virus/malware scanner for my mac. But I'm scared that I might download some trashy software because all the stuff I find on google just turn out to be ads.
Do you have any recommendations?
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I would recommend MalwareBytes. However, macOS already includes XProtect, which is a regularly updated blacklist of malware. On top of that, there are lots of built-in security features that make it very difficult for malware to do damage: processes are limited in what they can read or write.
Of course, I'm not suggesting that 'Macs don't get malware'. But if you're already cautious about downloading 'trashy software', then that's as effective as anything.
What you didn’t ask is are there products more effective than one that just tries to catch up with known malware. There’s a class of products that scan for suspicious behavior so you can decide if a program is worth the risk or be alerted to an uncatalogued risk. Start with Objective See products in that case.
LuLu and KnockKnock are worth looking at as well as the linked BlockBlock app from above.
Many security researchers recommend this malware scanner. Myself even if I don't think much of 3rd AV software https://de.malwarebytes.com
Everyone always recommends Malwarebytes… however the free version will not actively scan, so you're left with remembering to run a scan.
There's nothing wrong with it, but if you look at AV-TEST (which is about the closest thing to an actual official authority on which antivirus is 'best') you'll see it's not even listed.
Now, that is for two reasons - 1. Companies have to pay to be listed & 2. When Malwarebytes was listed on there a few years ago it scored so badly that one can only imagine they didn't want to keep paying for such damning evidence. [Opinion mine.]
So, based on that, I'd look at what is listed on AV-TEST & pick something that does well, not only on the latest report, but also going back in history. They all have a tendency to rise & fall over time, so you really want one that tends to always stay near the top.
Personally, I recently settled on Avira & it hasn't yet irritated me sufficiently to remove it again. That's usually my tipping point - when ads to buy a freeware version get in the way or even a paid antivirus starts to feel like it's weighing the machine down.
I still do have Malwarebytes on here & do occasionally run it. The free, non-interactive version doesn't clash with any other installed anti-virus.
Never have two active scan/live antivirus solutions on one machine - they can fight.
The trouble with Googling for "best mac antivirus" is that due to some rather dodgy SEO techniques, many of the top results, if you look closely enough, are recommending their own antivirus, & the only other places that particular one is ever mentioned is on other sites using the same SEO techniques… so it all gets a bit cyclical.
I wouldn't trust one of these as far as I could spit it.