The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for 2019
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It had a nearly invisible impact on system performance, and it caught all malware. You do need an antivirus program on your Mac. Run Mac antivirus software, since the malware won’t run at all if it detects it on a machine.
Review Neil J. We test the top contenders to identify those offering the best Mac antivirus protection. Even Macs Need Antivirus Protection If you move from a condo with a street-level door to a posh apartment building with a doorman and a keyed elevator, you’ve certainly upgraded your personal security.
Even so, you still lock the door to your personal domicile. By the same token, even though macOS is inherently more secure than Windows and Android, you shouldn’t leave your Macs wide open to malware attack.
Better to install an antivirus and not need it than to skip the opportunity and lose your data to ransomware. If you’re not sure which antivirus to use, don’t worry.
Our reviews will help you choose. You may have heard that macOS Mojave , the latest macOS, advances the platform’s privacy and security. Safari on Mojave automatically blocks ads and social media trackers. The built-in password manager does more than ever. And when AppleScript apps try to access internal macOS features, Mojave makes them wait until you give permission. But nothing we’ve seen suggests that upgrading to Mojave will obviate the need for an antivirus utility.
How about paying nothing at all? AVG also offers free antivirus for Mac, but until its phishing protection improves we can’t recommend it. The best commercial products offer more protection but if you can’t afford the best, at least install a free antivirus. Another half-dozen managed a decent three-star rating, but there isn’t room for another six products. Everything else being equal, there’s surely some virtue in loyalty to macOS. However, ESET and Malwarebytes don’t have any lab results at present, and with Avast, you might as well use the free edition, because you don’t get a lot more by paying.
These three didn’t quite make it into the chart. If you’re using a Windows security product from one of these companies, it makes sense to do the same on your Macs. Malware Protection Lab Certifications When you go to select a new washer, refrigerator, or other appliance, chances are good you research it first. User reviews can be helpful, as long as you discard the very best and very worst of them.
But actual test results performed by an independent lab give you more reliable information. Two large labs include macOS antivirus products in their testing, but the slate of products for testing is variable.
When we first rounded up Mac antivirus products, all those in the chart above had at least one certification, but at present, many of them don’t appear in either lab’s test results. A product can earn up to six points for each. Protection against malware protection is essential, of course, as is a low impact on performance.
A high usability score reflects a small number of false positives, legitimate programs and websites identified as dangerous. Several products achieved a perfect 18 points, all six points for all three criteria. This lab, too, included a test using malware aimed at Windows.
Yes, these samples can’t affect a computer running macOS, but they could conceivably escape to Windows machines on the network. Scores in the Windows malware test ranged from zero to percent, which is quite a span. Results in macOS-specific tests have a much smaller point spread than in tests of Windows antivirus utilities. It’s good that many products in the chart received at least one certification for Mac protection, and even better that some received two certifications.
Hands-On Phishing Protection Testing When we test malware protection on Windows, we use live malware inside an isolated virtual machine. We’ve coded a number of analysis tools over the years to help with this testing. Little of that testing regimen carries over to the Mac. Phishing, however, isn’t platform-specific, and neither is our antiphishing test. Phishing websites imitate secure sites, everything from banks and finance sites to gaming and dating sites.
If you enter your credentials at the fake login page, you’ve given the phisher access to your account. And it doesn’t matter if you are browsing on a PC, a Mac, or an internet-aware sewing machine.
Almost all of the products in chart above include protection against malicious and fraudulent sites. Malwarebytes and ProtectWorks also lack an antiphishing component. The wily malefactors who create phishing sites are in the business of deception, and they constantly change and update their techniques, hoping to evade detection.
If one fraudulent site gets blacklisted or shut down by the authorities, they simply pop up with a new one. That being the case, we try to use the very newest phishing URLs for testing, scraping them from phishing-focused websites. We launch each URL simultaneously in four browsers. One is Safari on the Mac, protected by the Mac antivirus that’s under test. The other three use the protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Discarding any that don’t fit the phishing profile, and any that don’t load correctly in all four browsers, we report the product’s success as the average of the difference between its detection rate and that of the other four test systems.
Most of the products in this roundup beat the combined average of the three browsers. Bitdefender and Webroot in particular scored hugely higher against some browsers; perhaps the browsers were having a bad day. It’s worth noting that, while phishing is platform-independent, phishing defense may not be.
For example, in last year’s testing Norton on Windows scored significantly better than Norton for the Mac.
Ransomware Protection The scourge of ransomware is on the rise. While ransomware attacks are more common on Windows devices, Macs have suffered as well. Of course, any antivirus utility should handle ransomware just as it handles spyware, Trojans, viruses, and other malware types. But since the consequences of missing a ransomware attack are so great, some security products add components with the sole purpose of preventing ransomware attacks.
We’ve observed a wide variety of ransomware protection techniques on Windows. These include blocking unauthorized access to user documents, detecting ransomware based on its activity, and recovering encrypted files from backup. Of the products listed here, Bitdefender and Trend Micro offer a ransomware component that blocks unauthorized modification of protected documents. As with Bitdefender’s Windows edition, the Safe Files feature prevents all unauthorized access to your documents.
On a Mac, it also protects your Time Machine backups. Trend Micro offers multiple layers of Windows ransomware protection.
Folder Shield, which, like Safe Files, prevents unauthorized document access, is the only layer that made its way to the macOS edition. Sophos Home Premium includes the same CryptoGuard behavior-based ransomware protection found in its Windows equivalent. Our Windows test sytsems are virtual machines, so we feel free to release real-world ransomware for testing. We just roll back the virtual machine to a clean snapshot after testing. We don’t have the option to do that on the physical Mac testbed, so we just have to figure that since it worked on Windows, it probably works on macOS.
Spyware Protection Any kind of malware problem is unpleasant, but spyware may be the most unnerving. Imagine some creeper secretly peeking at you through your Mac’s webcam!
Other types of spying include logging keystrokes to capture your passwords, sending Trojans to steal your personal data, and watching your online activities to build a profile.
As with ransomware protection, we’ve observed more features specifically devoted to spyware protection on Windows-based security products than on the Mac, but a few products in this collection do pay special attention to spyware.
Under Windows, Kaspersky’s Safe Money feature opens sensitive sites in a secure browser that’s hardened against outside interference.
The Safe Money feature on the Mac doesn’t do that, but it does check URLs to make sure you’re on a legitimate secure site. Kaspersky offers an onscreen keyboard, so you can enter passwords with no chance of capture by a keylogger.
Its webcam protection isn’t as configurable as it is on Windows, but you can use it to disable your Mac’s webcam whenever you’re not using it. It even includes the ability to block advertisers and others from tracking your online activities. If spyware is your bugaboo, you’ll like Kaspersky. Sophos Home Premium offers protection for the webcam and microphone that’s more substantial than Kaspersky’s. You get a notification any time an untrusted program attempts to access either; you can allow access or stop the program.
There’s also an option to whitelist a program, so you don’t get a popup every time you use your off-brand video chat tool. Bonus Features Many antivirus tools on Windows pack in a ton of bonus features, packing in everything from tune-up utilities to VPNs. Even so, some vendors don’t have a standalone Mac antivirus, opting instead to offer a full security suite as the baseline level of protection, and a few others include suite-like bonus features in the basic antivirus.
A typical personal firewall component blocks attacks coming in from the internet and also manages network permissions for programs installed on your Mac. Parental control is another common suite component. With Sophos free or premium and Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, a content filter can block access to websites matching unwanted categories.
Kaspersky goes beyond that, with content filtering, internet time scheduling, private data protection, and even social media contact control. Protect Your Mac Most of the products covered in this roundup earned certification from at least one independent testing lab; some managed two certifications.
There really are no bad choices here, as far as basic antivirus protection goes. Even so, a few products stood out. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac not only achieved certification from both labs, it earned the maximum score in every test, and took the top antiphishing score. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac also earned high scores.
It offers a full suite of Mac security tools, at the same price competitors charge for basic antivirus protection. These three are our Editors’ Choice winners for Mac antivirus protection. Look over the reviews, pick the product that suits you best, and get your Mac protected. Once you’ve done that, you should also consider installing a Mac VPN. While an antivirus protects you, your devices, and your data locally, a VPN extends that protection to your online activities, protecting both your security and your privacy.
F-Secure TOTAL — Security and privacy
The Internet is the same regardless of your device. Therefore, you are as vulnerable to Internet-based threats like phishing, altered advertising, and various browser and operating system vulnerabilities on a Mac as on any other device. Protect your iPhone and iPad too Our smartphones and tablets are with us where ever we go. Shopping, mobile banking, and paying bills on the go is very convenient. Without even realizing it, we handle a huge amount of valuable personal information, like passwords, banking credentials, and credit card numbers, with our mobile devices. Since smartphones and tablets are connected to the Internet, they need virus protection, just like computers.
VIDEO: The best Mac antivirus software | Paid and free options tested | TechRadar
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