What is XProtect on Mac? Is it Enough to Keep your Mac Safe?

XProtect, also known as “File Quarantine”, is the in-built anti-malware system for Mac OS operating systems. It is in effect, Apple’s analog of Microsoft’s Windows Defender suite. XProtect is a Mac’s primary defense against infection from malicious software such as viruses, trojans, and spyware.

How Does XProtect Work?

XProtect is installed on a Mac by default, and will also automatically update as part of a set routine. Unlike many other anti-malware programs, XProtect is very light on system resources and runs silently in the background. A fundamental difference with other programs is that it is not constantly monitoring the system (hence why it is CPU-light). Instead, it mostly comes into play just to scan downloads. When an application initiates a download, XProtect will check the file and compare its contents to known virus definitions. If a potential threat is discovered, the user will be alerted.

Example Alert

Is XProtect Secure Enough

While Apple has made improvements to XProtect due to a changing threat environment, it is nevertheless intended to offer basic protection — and not much more. In addition, because it focuses solely on major malware-types, it arguably neglects lesser-known grayware such as Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs), crypto mining software, and annoying adware.

That said, it is not invincible against traditional malware either. Last year for example, it was reported that the AdLoad trojan was slipping through XProtect’s defenses and infecting Macs. Once a Mac is infected, AdLoad installs a Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) web proxy to hijack search engine results, and also installs its own malicious LaunchAgents. At the same time, there are other threats capable of bypassing XProtect, such as Shlayer, which has reportedly infected over 10% of all Apple computers.

With the above in mind, it is quite clear that while XProtect is better than no protection, it is not sufficient to fully protect your Mac in the context of an ever-changing threat environment.

Introducing Trend Micro’s Antivirus One

What is XProtect on Mac__Is it Enough to Keep your Mac Safe___2

Trend Micro’s Antivirus One is the best FREE anti-malware program for your Mac. Developed exclusively by the world’s largest antivirus lab here at Trend Micro, Antivirus One offers live monitoring to protect your Mac 24/7 from viruses, adware, ransomware, spyware and all kinds of malware attacks. In addition, it offers:

  • Privacy Cleaner: Hides your information to prevent others from identifying you, especially after visiting websites.
  • SafeSearch: Flags safety ratings of every Google search result.
  • Web Threat Protection: Prevents users from visiting phishing websites.

Download it for FREE today from the App Store! As ever, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE with friends and family to help keep the online community informed and secure.

Leave a Comment