I realize that before even posing this question a significant portion of the Mac community, in general, and the MPU community in particular are going to have the opinion the security software is unnecessary on a Mac…and may even degrade performance.
I have read all of that before and don’t really want to rehash that particular aspect of this issue. After giving due consideration to the trade off between performance and security, I am of the personal opinion that, at least for my situation, I am more concerned about privacy and security.
Having been the victim of identity theft, I want to take every possible precaution to reduce the chance of that ever happening again. I realize that there is a very small chance of encountering a virus using macOS. To my knowledge (perhaps a bit outdated if you have more current information) there are no current virus threats to this OS. However of much greater concern is the rampant growth in malware attacks.
While the more traditional virus attacks were a threat to wreak havoc with computer hardware, malware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated in trying to steal sensitive user data and personal information.
A good portion of remaining safe online is determined by a user’s behavior and decisions they make when choosing what services or websites they will use.
Oh, there are viruses on Macs, albeit not much. Most malwares are relatively benign though (adwares and such). But I agree with your stance. I run antivirus software on all my Macs, using Bitdefender which is very unobstrusive, works silently and, as far as I can see, well (have not been infected by anything).
Make sure you update regularly, turn on FileVault, and the firewall, use a password manager. Never reuse passwords. Turn on 2FA for everything. Only store documents in apps that have end to end encryption.
In 20 years of using a mac I have never had a problem. My perception is that most antivirus software is either malware itself or is trying to up sell you a subscription. I have never used it.
For extra protection I use little snitch (a more granular firewall), and micro snitch from the same developer to monitor unauthorised camera or microphone activity. (Or you could put some tape over the camera). Little snitch is great because it shows you all the connections from your computer to a map of the world…(e.g.you can track down why is there a connection to an unusual area of the world)
Just my opinion. If you are coming from windows people there are indoctrinated (educated) to use antivirus. IMO It is not needed on a mac.
I can understand your concern given your history. Macs have become a bigger target but I still see no need for full time antivirus. Most breaches these days are phishing attacks, even on Windows. Or are targeted attacks by nation states or organized crime, and I doubt even MPU listeners rate that kind of attention.
IMO, a good compromise for you would be to run something like the free version of Malwarebytes. The free version doesn’t protect full time and scans cannot be scheduled. But you can run a scan manually at any time. And from what I’ve read it does a decent job of cleaning up should you find a problem.
Also, If you are a gmail user you can take advantage of Google’s anti-phishing technology by using Gmail in a browser or the Gmail app on IOS.
I don’t like using any security software that has hooks into the OS. All software has bugs and something integrated into the OS introduces new vulnerabilities. If You’re downloading something over https how will it scan it without breaking security.
I run Malwarebytes periodically but I don’t turn on real time scanning. Never had an issue. Almost all the software I use is from the App Store, an additional level of protection.