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Best Mac Antivirus Software
Why Use Mac Antivirus Software?
After spending hundreds of hours throughout the year testing how well Mac antivirus programs recognize threats such as adware and keyloggers, in addition to evaluating the results of third-party laboratory tests, we feel Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is the best antivirus software for most people.
Overall Best Mac Antivirus
Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is a powerful antivirus program that protects your computer against both Mac and Windows malware without creating any lag on your system. It doesn’t have a password manager or protect mobile devices, but it includes some of the best parental controls. You can use these tools to monitor your kids while they’re on social media sites as well as keep them from sharing personal information such as birthdates and phone numbers. You can also block dangerous websites and set time restriction.
While there have been some warnings about government entities and departments using Kaspersky software, we found it to still be a reliable program for home computer use. For more information please read this article by our sister site, Tom’s Guide.
Best Value Mac Antivirus
Avast Security for Mac is a free antivirus program that scans your computer, email and USB-connected devices. It doesn’t slow down your system while it runs, and it can scan for and clear malware from your mobile devices when you connect them to your computer through a USB port. Avast’s gamer mode automatically switches on when you start playing games or watching movies online, and the software includes a password manager to protect your usernames and passwords from keyloggers as you access online accounts.
Best Mac Antivirus for Multiple Operating Systems
Most internet security companies have separate programs for Windows and Mac computers, but Norton Security Standard is compatible with both operating systems. You have to purchase enough licenses for the number of computers you have, but the same program runs on your PCs and Mac machines and provides the same level of protection on both. Norton Security scored perfectly on third-party tests, and we confirmed that it consistently finds and isolates threats such as keyloggers. This program only slowed down test Mac computers by one second during full virus scans.
What We Learned While Testing Antivirus for Mac Computers
Apple products are more frequently becoming targets of malware, including ransomware. While the company’s operating systems come with great, built-in antivirus tools, third-party programs provide a second layer of protection against threats. Another good reason to buy antivirus software is that even though Mac devices are immune to PC viruses, they can still be used as avenues to spread malware to Windows computers through email, USB drives and instant messages. A virus scanning program, especially one designed to work on both Macs and PCs, helps ensure your outgoing messages and files aren’t infected with anything malicious that could potentially harm your friends’, family members’ or clients’ computers.
We tested antivirus programs on our Mac machine to get a feel for how easy they are to install and use as well as to see if they could detect threats such as keyloggers and adware. We couldn’t directly infect our test machines with malware without compromising the safety of our own networks. As such, we also relied on test results from third-party laboratories, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, because they test antivirus software with live known and unknow malware.
We also looked at how much lag the programs created on our computers when they ran scans. As the full virus scan ran, we sent emails with attachments, played online games, watched videos, browsed the web and downloaded files. Afterward, we compared our findings with third-party results.
Protection & Privacy
In addition to evaluating how well antivirus programs protect your computer, we looked closely at other tools some of the apps include. Antivirus software is typically very basic, but some programs come with features normally included in higher priced internet security suites such as password managers, dedicated safe banking tools and parental controls. One example is F-Secure Safe, which has all these advanced features in addition to basic malware and ransomware protections.
Typically, you can just download mobile-compatible internet security programs onto your smartphone or tablet, and they protect it in real time, much like the computer software version. While many internet security suites work on mobile devices, basic Mac antivirus programs don’t have this capability. Still, there are a few antivirus programs that can scan your cell phone or tablet and remove threats when you connect the device to your computer through a USB port. Intego Mac Internet Security and Panda Antivirus for Mac are two of the programs that protect mobile devices this way.
Although they don’t get infected quite as often as Windows PCs, Macs are certainly exposed and vulnerable to malware threats. We looked at detection and performance rate results from independent labs, conducted our own testing, and evaluated additional features to find the best Mac antivirus programs.