If you own a Mac and you want to keep your computer safe, you need Mac antivirus software. In this Best Antivirus for Mac 2018 article, I will give you 5 names for your Macbooks, to show you exactly why you need it and also how Macs are vulnerable to viruses and ransomware. Plenty of Mac aficionados will tell you that Apple computers are inherently secure and don’t require protection. We’d argue that they are wrong – or a bit overconfident, at least.
Do Macs need an antivirus software?
Macs are generally more secure than their Windows brethren for two reasons. On the technical side, macOS is a Unix-based operating system. As a Unix-based operating system macOS is sandboxed. It’s like having a series of fire doors: even if malware gains access to your Mac, it is unable to spread to the heart of the machine. Macs are not unhackable, but they are more difficult to exploit than Windows PCs. The second reason is that, right now, there are far fewer Macs than there are Windows PCs. Fewer targets, and these are harder to hack. Is it any wonder that cybercriminals focus on the Windows world? However, Macs are not entirely safe, and as they grow in popularity and cybercriminals become smarter and greedier, the risk is increasing. Threats such as ransomware are on the rise, and have recently hit huge organizations including the NHS.
- Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Bitdefender is one of the most popular antivirus software for Mac. In AV-Test’s lab, Bitdefender detected and protected against literally every piece of malware thrown at it.
Bitdefender costs from £39 for a one-year licence for a single Mac.
- Multi-Layer Ransomware Protection
- Blocks and removes annoying adware
- Zero negative impact on speed
- Provides non-stop protection with Bitdefender AutopilotTM
- Secures your online shopping experience
- Protects against Mac and PC malware
- Delivers 24/7 Cloud-based guard duty
Excellent Malware Protection Scores
Like all the products in the latest test by AV-Comparatives, Bitdefender achieved 100 percent success protecting against Mac-specific malware. Because it’s possible for a Mac to act as a carrier for malware that attacks Windows, the researchers also check how well each antivirus detects Windows threats. Bitdefender also managed 100 percent in this test, and almost all products detected better than 90 percent. The one exception was Intego, whose 28 percent detection rate makes sense given that, unlike the rest, Intego has always focused on Mac protection, not Windows.
Both AV-Comparatives and AV-Test Institute certify Bitdefender for Mac antivirus protection. Bitdefender also achieved 100 percent protection in this lab’s test, with no false positives.
AV-Test’s team also checked each antivirus against a collection of Mac-centered PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) and against Windows malware. In both these tests, Bitdefender took the top score, greater than 99 percent. As with the Windows product, in other words, its lab scores are superb.
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Superb Phishing Protection
On a Windows system, Bitdefender blocks access to fraudulent and malicious websites at the network level. No internet-aware program, browser or otherwise, can access a site that Bitdefender has flagged as dangerous. The macOS version functions as a browser extension in Chrome and Firefox, and my testing shows that it does a very good job.
Sites that host malware tend to be locked to a specific operating system—most often Windows. Phishing sites, though, are totally inclusive. No matter how you’re browsing the web, whether from a laptop, a game console, or a smart refrigerator, if a phishing site tricks you into giving away your security credentials, you’re hosed.
To test how well an antivirus utility protects against phishing, I start by collecting the newest phishing URLs I can find on the web, looking in particular for ones that haven’t made it onto blacklists. I use a hand-coded test utility to simultaneously launch each URL in four browsers, one protected by Norton and one apiece by the antiphishing protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. As for the Mac products, well, my utility works only in Windows, so on the Mac my testing involves a lot of fancy cut-and-paste into the browser’s Address bar.
TrafficLight for Search Result Protection
If you try to navigate to a fake or dangerous site, Bitdefender’s TrafficLight browser extension steers you back to safety. TrafficLight also marks up search results, using green and red icons to identify safe and dangerous links. If you stay away from red-light links, you should be safe.
Clicking the red icon opens a page with detailed information about why the link is dangerous. You get a laundry list of reasons, with relevant icons highlighted. In most cases it’s phishing or malware. But other reasons include Facebook scams, sending unsolicited email, and piracy.
One warning; at the moment, TrafficLight doesn’t work correctly with the specific combination of Google on Safari. It works with Google in other browsers, however, and with other search engines in Safari, however.
Ransomware Protection Keeps Files Safe
Ransomware is a growing threat, and ransomware protection is showing up in more and more security products. Some add a monitoring layer that looks for behavior that suggests encrypting ransomware. Others, Bitdefender included, balk ransomware activity by limiting access to the folders typically affected by ransomware.
A ransomware attack doesn’t aim to disable your computer. The perpetrators know you’ll need a working computer in order to pay up. Ransomware usually attacks documents, images, and other personal files, working in the background until its dirty deeds are done. Bitdefender’s Safe Files feature defaults to protecting your Desktop, Documents, Downloads, and Pictures folder; you can add any other folders in which you routinely keep important documents.
Known and trusted applications can access your files just as they always would, but when an unknown program attempts to create or modify files in a protected folder, Safe Files prevents the change and pops up a warning. If you recognize the program, if it’s something you’re actively using, you can add it to the trusted list. If not, let Bitdefender keep blocking the attack.
Under Windows I had no trouble seeing this feature in action. I used a couple of programs guaranteed to be unknown, a simple fake encryptor and a tiny editor that I wrote myself. I don’t have anything similar for the Mac in my bag of tricks, but I have no doubt the feature works in just the same way.
- Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac
Another antivirus software for Mac is Kaspersky, when it hit a perfect protection score in AV-Test’s lab, picking up a 100 percent of the net nasties chucked its way. And it had less of an impact on system performance than Bitdefender too. An excellent package.
You can pick up a one-year, single-user licence of Kaspersky for Mac for £39.
- Simple to setup and easy to use
- Privacy protection
- Extra security when you shop or bank online
- Security for Kids
Both AV-Test and AV-Comparatives certify Kaspersky for Mac malware protection. Like Intego and Bitdefender, it fended off 100 percent of the samples in tests by both labs. It also detected 100 percent of Windows-focused malware in a test by AV-Comparatives. Why does that even matter? It’s important because your Mac could conceivably serve to transmit such threats to one of your Windows machines, where it could do damage.
Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security both include a feature called Safe Money. When you’re about to visit a financial website or other sensitive site, it offers to open the site in a special browser that’s hardened against outside interference. A glowing green border serves as a visual reminder that you’re using the safe browser. The Mac antivirus also has a feature called Safe Money, but it’s a completely different thing. When you visit what appears to be a sensitive website, Kaspersky double-checks it with the Kaspersky Security Network online, and slides out a notification that the site is legit. In testing, I found that it frequently displayed multiple notifications, because some site components come from different URLs than the main page. That might seem annoying, but surely it’s better to suffer a few extra popups than to be gulled by a fake financial site.
Kaspersky doesn’t offer a stand-alone Mac antivirus, so Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is this company’s entry-level security product for macOS. In addition to high-scoring malware protection, you get a full parental control system, effective protection against fraudulent and malicious URLs, privacy protection features, a firewall-like Network Attack Blocker, and more. It’s an impressive array of features.
Price: RRP: £39.99/year
3. Symantec Norton Security for Mac
Another solution of antivirus software for Mac is Symantec Norton Security as Norton also picked up 100% percent of the filth AV-Test threw at it, which is an amazing achievement. Its system impact was minimal too, about the same as Kaspersky’s.
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A one-year, one-device licence of Symantec Norton Security for Mac costs £39.99.
- Defends against viruses, spyware, malware and other online threats
- Safeguards your identity and online transactions
- Utilizes one of the largest global civilian intelligence networks to spot threats faster
- Helps protect your home network with a smart firewall
- Comes with always-there customer support provided by Norton experts
Norton offers firewall protection on the Mac. It warns when you’re connected to an insecure network, and automatically configures protection when you return to a trusted network. By default, it allows all outgoing network connections and blocks unsolicited incoming connections.
Going beyond the other firewalls, this antivirus software for Mac includes active protection against exploit attacks on vulnerabilities in the operating system and popular applications. You can view the impressive list of attacks blocked, and even dig in for an online page describing each. A feature called DeepSight blocks contact coming from a constantly updated list of known attackers.
Application blocking, disabled by default, prevents unauthorized programs from using your network and internet connections. If you turn it on, you get a pop-up query each time Norton sees a new program attempting a connection. When I turned it on for testing, I made sure to check the box that automatically allows access for Apple-signed programs. Even so, it generated a huge number of pop-ups, significantly more than McAfee or Intego Mac Internet Security X9. I had to turn the feature off because it was interfering with my other testing.
Norton’s Windows firewall is vastly more sophisticated. To start, it automatically configures permissions for a huge collection of known and trusted programs. The Mac edition clearly doesn’t; it asked me whether to allow Chrome and Safari to go online. When the Windows version doesn’t recognize a program, it monitors that program closely for suspect behavior and cuts the network connection if it detects abuse.
Even though it doesn’t come up to the level of the Windows firewall, the firewall in Norton’s Mac edition does more than most. If you enable application control, be prepared for an initial flurry of pop-ups. Once those are past, it should be smooth sailing.
Price: $29.99/ year.
4. Mac Premium Bundle X9 – Save 20%
This antivirus software for Mac is not cheap, and according to some independent tests doesn’t offer the very best security against known or zero-day threats, but the £69.99 Intego offers an unsurpassed feature set. It is worth trying.
Antivirus, anti-phishing and anti-spyware are a given, as is firewall network protection even outside your home. You may appreciate the parental controls with website and application blocking, and there are also backup and Mac speed up functions.
- Antivirus, anti-phishing and anti-spyware
- Firewall network protection for home and on the go
- Parental controls with website and application blocking
- Protects sensitive personal information
- Mac Cleaner speeds up and organizes your Mac
- Personal Backup software for quick and easy recovery in case of a crash
Price: $69.99/ year
5. ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac – 25% off for 2 year-plan
ESET is another best antivirus software for Mac, offering protection that rivals the Big Three (Norton by Symantec, Kaspersky and BitDefender). It also causes very little grief to Mac performance, only 5%.
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ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac costs from £39 a year for a single Mac.
- Antivirus & Antispyware
- Cloud-powered Scanning
- Removable Media Control
- Social Media Scanner
- Small System Footprint
Price: $39.99/ year
These above are top 5 most favorable and popular antivirus software for Mac. You paid a huge money to buy your Mac and now just leak some dollars to protect it thoroughly and keep you safe and secured.