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.
Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious software
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.
As with Bitdefender's Windows edition, the Safe Files feature prevents all unauthorized access to your documents.
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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.
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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.
Mac Security Reviews
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. 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. Opting to scan specific locations such as your Mac's system library is also an option, streamlining your experience. No one wants to wait around for a full virus scan, so it's refreshing to see Bitdefender just get on with things, or provide you with convenient alternatives. There's also the ability to search for malware quickly within various archives and common filetypes, such as PDF or ZIP, further extending your options.
An always-on scanner known as Autopilot keeps an eye on things when you don't want to do anything manually, although that does mean no choice of scheduling.
Security suite features are also included, such as an adware blocker, anti-phishing detection for webpages, and backup protection for your Time Machine backups. It'll work across platforms so it's ideal if you have additional Macs, smartphones Android or iOS or PCs that require protection. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus for Mac Webroot Antivirus for Mac stores all its anti-malware protection information on the cloud, meaning it's speedy and has a small footprint on your Mac.
Webroot Antivirus for Mac isn't like other anti-virus software, in that it's keen to make absolutely no impact on your Mac's performance, no matter how old your system is. Instead of using a large database to detect issues, it primarily relies on behavioral based detection, snooping out when something doesn't seem normal for your system.
Tackling things with a different approach means it's perfect for old systems that haven't got the space or the RAM bandwidth for too much probing. Webroot Antivirus for Mac stores all its anti-malware protection information on the cloud, meaning it's speedy and has a small footprint on your Mac.
By saving you the effort of downloading virus definition updates, it's also impressively accurate while speedy. Most full scans will only take a matter of minutes rather than hours, no matter how dated your technology is. Alongside such fast scanning, Webroot Antivirus for Mac works to cut things off at the source. It has anti-phishing tools that block harmful sites before you even load them, along with a firewall and network connection monitor.
Working as pseudo security software means it's a little more effective than simply scanning your system as and when needed. However, the real advantage here is how undemanding Webroot Antivirus for Mac is. It simply just works, without making you worry about any noticeable performance impact while your Mac is in use.
Intego Mac Internet Security Intego does a fantastic job of detecting anything thrown at it, albeit a little slower than with some antivirus protection. Intego Mac Internet Security is software that's exclusively for Mac products. Unlike other entries here, it's been built from the ground up just for Mac, with no hint of a one-time clunky Windows interface in sight. For a more stylish and intuitive way of tackling your virus protection, it's unbeatable. High rates of accuracy is very much Intego Mac Internet Security's game. It does a fantastic job of detecting anything thrown at it, albeit a little slower than with some antivirus protection.
As soon as it's installed, scheduled and real time protection is activated by default, making it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to avoid poking around the software. By default, it automatically detects Mac malware, but it'll also keep an eye out for anything Windows or Linux based, so you can be sure to not accidentally send such files elsewhere.
It keeps an eye on files on your iOS devices too.
Besides the key antivirus protection features, Intego Mac Internet Security also includes NetBarrier X9 to provide network protection, securing your Mac from unauthorized access when you're on a public network, like public Wi-Fi. 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.
1. Norton Security for Mac
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. 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.
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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. Mac antivirus software isn't just about detecting the latest most deadly ransomware, or other high-risk threats.
Best overall antivirus software
Most tools can also strip out adware and other potentially unwanted programs which may not be highly dangerous, but are wasting system resources and slowing your Mac down. Malwarebytes has been eliminating the full range of Windows threats since , and the Mac edition is just as simple, straightforward and effective. The app is such a lightweight installation, the size of three digital music files, that you'll barely notice it's there.
And while the lack of real-time protection means Malwarebytes can't stop attacks - only remove existing infections - it also ensures there's no real impact on your system resources and the app is unlikely to conflict with other antivirus tools. Performance is another highlight, with Malwarebytes claiming the average system is scanned in less than 15 seconds.