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Best Ransomware Protection & Removal Tools for Mac in 2022

AvaBy Anthony Enticknap | April 13, 2022
Best Ransomware Protection & Removal Tools for Mac in 2022

Best Ransomware Removal Tools for Mac in 2022

And it’s not a theoretical problem, having been found in the wild several times. Quite simply, the threat of Mac ransomware is not something you should ignore.

Thankfully, some security apps offer ransomware protection for Macs. These prevent unauthorized apps from making changes to your data, including encrypting it. Here are five of the best.

Avast

Avast

Offers a good level of control over ransomware protection.
Lots of other security features.
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Bitdefender

Bitdefender

Ransomware protection that’s easy to set up.
Includes adware blocking.
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Sophos Home

Sophos Home

One-click ransomware protection.
Has a simple web-based interface.
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What to look for in ransomware protection and removal tools?

These are some of these things that make for a good ransomware protection app for Mac:

  • App control: Being able to set trusted apps means you have control over what can make changes to files and folders. 
  • File change alerts: If an unauthorized app tries to make changes, you want to be alerted, so you can choose to allow or block it. 
  • USB device protection: Ransomware can spread to external devices. Some security apps will automatically protect them too. 
  • Other features: Ransomware protection usually comes as part of a suite of tools. Look out for other features that you’ll find useful. 
3.0Avast
3.0
(81 reviews)

Avast

Free

Prevents unauthorized file changes
Email attachment protection
Real-time antivirus
Wi-Fi protection
Screenshot 1 of Avast

Avast’s Ransomware Shield feature is quick and easy to set up. Simply select it from the main menu, then add new folders by clicking Protect new folder. It will then prevent any unauthorized apps, which could include ransomware, from making changes to those folders and their contents.

If an unauthorized app tries to make changes to protected files or folders, Avast will kick in to prevent it. It does, however, give you the option to allow an app to make changes, either as a one-off or permanently. This is exactly what you want from your Mac ransomware protection. 

On top of this, you get malware protection for your entire Mac - including protection against dangerous email attachments and fake shopping sites. The more expensive Avast Ultimate subscription also includes a VPN client and a cleanup tool, which can be installed separately.

Avast comes with a 60-free trial, but you will have to hand over your payment details to access it. Then it’s up to you to cancel if you don’t want to be charged.

Pros
Easy, effective ransomware protection
Includes email and browser protection
A good range of subscription choices
Cons
VPN service and cleanup tools cost more
Payment details required for free trial
2.8Bitdefender
2.8
(17 reviews)

Bitdefender

Price $39.98

Easy ransomware protection
Web browser extensions
Real-time antivirus
Adware blocking
Screenshot 1 of Bitdefender

Bitdefender’s ransomware protection feature is called Safe Files. It works in a similar fashion to other apps — you select files and folders you want to protect, and it prevents any unauthorized apps from changing them. That includes being able to delete them or encrypt them, as ransomware does. 

When authorized apps try to make changes to your protected files, you’ll get an alert that lets you block or allow access. You can also go into the Application Access part of Bitdefender and manage access. 

Bitdefender’s other features include web browser extensions, real-time security and Time Machine Protection, which protects your backups from being altered. You can also get more features with the Total Security and Premium Security subscriptions, including a VPN client.

Pros
Easy to set up ransomware protection
Basic license covers three devices
Time Machine protection
Cons
Limited features without paying more
3.7Sophos Home
3.7
(4 reviews)

Sophos Home

Price $44.99

One-click ransomware protection
Parental controls
Web-based interface
Webcam and mic protection
Screenshot 1 of Sophos Home

Sophos works in a different way to many other security apps. Instead of managing everything from a central client on your Mac, Sophos uses a web browser-based interface. So when you go to make changes to your Sophos settings, it will open up a web browser window. This has the benefit of keeping the app’s file size and system demands down.

In terms of its ransomware protection, Sophos is relatively simple. When you go to configure it, all you can do is turn it on or off. There are no options to allow or disallow changes by certain apps. That means you can just turn it on and let it run. It’s a little limited, but it’s also straightforward.

Sophos includes a good mix of other features, including network protection, web filtering, webcam prevention, real-time antivirus, and more. It doesn’t have the best ransomware protection, but it does include parental controls and cover for up to 10 devices as standard.

Pros
Simple web-based interface
Protect up to 10 devices
Includes parental web filters
Cons
Ransomware protection offers limited control
3.7Trend Micro
3.7
(0 reviews)

Trend Micro

Price $39.96

Pros
Cons
0.0Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
0.0
(0 reviews)

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office

Price 0.00 $

One-click ransomware protection
Disk cloning and backup
File archiving
Real-time antivirus
Screenshot 1 of Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office

Like Sophos Home, the ransomware protection in Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office works quietly in the background. There’s no way to manually go in and allow certain apps to make changes. But if Acronis detects ransomware, it will step in to prevent it from encrypting your files.

On top of Acronis’s antivirus and ransomware protection, you get disk cloning and backup features. Upgrade to the Advanced or Premium subscriptions to access additional features, including cloud storage and backup, Microsoft 365 backup, and more. It also has an Archive feature, which will help you transfer old files to an external location so you can save disk space.

Acronis’s backup and disk cloning abilities aren’t typical for Mac antivirus apps. If you need either of these, as well as ransomware protection, then it might be the right choice for you. For more control over your protection, Avast or Bitdefender would be better.

Pros
Simple ransomware protection
Disk cloning and backup features
Cons
Can’t control ransomware protection

Summary

All of the apps we’ve looked at can prevent ransomware from encrypting your data. Whichever one you choose, it will be better than no protection at all. Avast, however, stands out for its ease of use, wide range of features and the control it gives you over protection. And Bitdefender is a close second, offering similar levels of protection and control. 

Sophos Home is a good choice if you want a lightweight solution, while Trend Micro offers the bonus of USB device protection. 

Finally, if you’re also looking for a way to back up data or clone disks, then Acronis is worth checking out

Overview of the best Mac cleaners

App
Customize ransomware protection
Real-time antivirus
Backups
USB protection
Website filtering
Wi-fi security
Avast

Avast

Bitdefender

Bitdefender

Sophos Home

Sophos Home

Trend Micro

Trend Micro

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office

Ava
Written ByAnthony Enticknap
I've been using Macs for both work and leisure for more than 15 years, starting off with a second-hand G3 iMac running OS 9.