Macs might be considered safer than PCs, but it still might not be risking it for the sake of saving some money. Avast Free Mac Security goes the extra mile to protect your Mac with an unusually lengthy feature list. The core antivirus engine offers real-time protection to catch threats when they appear, for instance. You can run on-demand full system scans if you suspect a problem, or launch a more targeted check on specific files, folders or drives. It's even possible to schedule scans to run automatically when you're not around.
A Web Shield warns you about malicious websites, blocks dangerous downloads and email attachments, and protects your privacy by eliminating intrusive ad tracking. There's an unusual extra in Avast's wireless network scanner, which quickly checks your network, router and connected devices, alerting you to any vulnerabilities.
Mac antivirus software isn't often checked by the independent testing labs, but Avast's most recent results were good, with AV Comparative's test finding the package detected Only Bitdefender and Kaspersky did better, and they were both paid editions. If you'd like even more, upgrading to Avast Security Pro gets you ransomware protection and instant alerts of Wi-Fi intruders or changes in your network security.
While many antivirus companies try to win you over by piling on the features, Avira Antivirus for Mac takes a simpler, more lightweight approach. There's no web filtering, no network scanning or other security extras: That doesn't mean the package is short on power.
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Its real-time scanner checks any file the system accesses, picking up threats before they can do any harm. The scheduler enables setting up the app to scan your system automatically, or you're able to check your entire system whenever you like. As a bonus, the app doesn't just protect against Mac threats. It also uses Avira's Windows experience to pick up any PC-related malware, ensuring you won't share any files that might endanger your friends. The main testing labs haven't evaluated Avira Free Antivirus for a while, but AV Comparatives last report found the Avira engine blocked Although this list is all about free Mac antivirus, Avira deserves a mention for its commercial Avira Antivirus Pro Bitdefender Virus Scanner is a lightweight free malware hunter which can track down and remove both Mac and Windows-related threats.
A simple and straightforward interface makes the app extremely easy to use. A status display keeps you up-to-date on how your system is doing, and four buttons enable running a quick scan of critical locations, an in-depth check of your entire system, or speedy scans of running applications or a folder of your choice. Although this looks all very basic, use Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac for a while and you begin to notice some very neat touches. The app doesn't force you to wait a day for your next virus signature updates, for instance.
Bitdefender issues updates every hour and Virus Scanner always fetches the latest version before it starts a scan. An option to exclude files and folders from the scan - network shares, system backups - is another plus, reducing the work the engine has to do and significantly speeding up your scan times. What you don't get here is any form of real-time protection or web filtering, essential tools for a complete security solution. This simplicity also reduces the chance of conflicts with other apps, though, suggesting Bitdefender Virus Scanner could be a useful second opinion tool which you run alongside another security app.
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.
The best free antivirus platforms for Mac in 12222
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, Norton on Windows scored significantly better than Norton for the Mac. 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.
The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for 12222
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. 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.
Many antivirus tools on Windows pack in a ton of bonus features, packing in everything from tune-up utilities to VPNs. That behavior seems less common on the macOS side. 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. 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 couple of 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 two 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. Editors' Note: We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Labs' inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven , and continue to recommend Kaspersky's security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.
Protects files and backups from ransomware. Top ratings from two independent testing labs. Excellent score in our antiphishing test.
These tips from CR's testers will help you find great malware protection—even some that's free
No-hassle Autopilot mode. TrafficLight browser extension marks dangerous links in search results. With its handy Autopilot mode, you can set it, forget it, and have confidence that your Apple computer is protected against malware. Excellent scores from two independent testing labs.
Full parental control system. Network protection. Decent score in our antiphishing test. Privacy protection. Useful bonus tools. Parental content filter foiled by secure anonymizing proxy. Content filter missed raunchy sites blocked by Windows edition.
Best antivirus for Mac Reviewed and rated | Macworld
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac excels in independent lab tests, and it goes far beyond mere antivirus, offering protection against network attacks, parental control, privacy protection, and many other useful features. Certified by one independent testing lab. Fast scan. Firewall blocks exploit attacks. Cleans up unneeded files. Now includes password manager. Poor score against phishing sites. Limited detection of Windows malware.
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Get Started. These tips from CR's testers will help you find great malware protection—even some that's free. By Bree Fowler.
July 30, Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email. Send We respect your privacy. Oops, we messed up. Try again later. More on Data Security. Tips for Better Passwords. How to Use the Parental Controls on a Smartphone. Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers. We make it easy to buy the right product from a variety of retailers. Learn more. Our service is unbiased: All prices are subject to change. Bree Fowler I write about all things "cyber" and your right to privacy.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. Avast Free Mac Security for Mac. G Data Antivirus for Mac.