Although macOS is often praised for its stability and resilience against malware, we should realise that no software is completely immune against external attacks. Along with Microsoft Windows and Linux, macOS is one of the most popular operating systems. This means, macOS is increasingly becoming a target of digital attacks. Apple’s latest operating system is based on the solid foundation of Unix and it comes with various integrated security features. This means, macOS shares the same genetics with the Linux and BSD. Due to its permission-based file management, it is harder to read, modify or delete certain files. Although you don’t install any antivirus on your MacBook or iMac, the macOS already has a built-in anti-malware solution called Xprotect. When you execute or open a file, Xprotect automatically scans it to check for any abnormality, based on its updated definitions.
If Xprotect discovers something unusual, it will show a warning, telling you that the file may potentially cause problems with your Mac device. Each time you macOS gets updates, the malware definitions of Xprotect will be updated as well. Gatekeeper is another piece of software that can keep your MacBook safe. It blocks any application that may potentially harm your system. A software must be signed through a developer certificate, that’s issues by Apple. Alternatively, you need to download software only from Mac Store. However, not all unsigned 3rd party software is dangerous. If you are sure that the software is safe, you can tell Gatekeeper to run it. If you are not sure whether an unsigned software is safe or not, you can run the software in sandboxing mode. This limits things that the software can do in your system.
Finally, there’s another mechanism called SIP or System Integrity Protection. It provides direct protection for the most critical components of the macOS, especially directories of core files. Rogue software may attempt to modify these files or add malware files into these directories. In addition, Safari, Finder and other pre-installed apps are protected by SIP as well. Code injections and other methods are commonly used to create security holes. It is possible to disable SIP by restarting the MacBook and running a command in the Terminal. However, it is highly advisable to keep SIP enabled. Without doubt, these systems will make your MacBook incredibly safe, because it is much harder for malware to cause issues in the system. It is important to be aware that new malware of macOS is discovered regularly. Despite the robust protection, it is possible for some malware to slip through and cause different kinds of issues. Security flaws can be reported as well and Apple didn’t always able to patch them in a timely manner.
It means, you need to keep your MacBook properly updated to protect it against any security vulnerabilities. Without an antivirus program, your MacBook is generally quite safe. However, you should avoid visiting questionable websites that may inject your macOS with dangerous code. You should download and install programs only from trustworthy sources.