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Best Mac Internet Security Software
Why Use Mac Antivirus Software?
We devoted three months to testing the antivirus portion of Mac internet security suites and an additional three days to researching the specific features and tools that put these programs a step ahead of basic antivirus software. Based on tests by third-party laboratories, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, as well as user feedback and our own test results and experiences, we believe that Norton Security Premium is the best Mac internet security software available. It protects against both Mac and Windows malware without causing system lag, plus it includes more protection features than other suites.
Norton identified and blocked Mac malware with perfect accuracy, and it did so without slowing ours test computer or those used by third-party test labs; when the program scanned for viruses, we didn’t notice much lag as we played online games, watched videos, sent email or downloaded programs. Norton Security Premium also does an exceptional job of locating Windows malware that may be lurking on your Mac computer, and it isolates the files so you can’t accidentally send them to family and friends who use PCs.
Another good option to consider is the Intego Mac Premium Bundle. This program is exclusively designed for Mac computers and seamlessly integrates into its network of programs. Intego is very good at protecting against Mac malware, but isn’t as effective against Windows viruses. It is also known to create a bit of lag on your system, depending on the security tools you have running while you work.
Best Value Mac Antivirus
Bitdefender Total Security is one of the best values for Mac internet protection because it has so many extra security tools, including a password manager, parental controls and specialized social network protections, but it doesn’t cost as much as most of the other programs we tested. Bitdefender is effective at finding and blocking both Mac and Windows malware, plus it’s compatible with cell phones, so you can extend protection beyond your Mac computer. The biggest drawback is that Bitdefender slows down your computer during virus scans, but we didn’t notice the same lag when we installed it on Windows machines.
Another budget-friendly Mac internet security solution is Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac. This program is very good at protecting against online threats and doesn’t take up a lot of resources, so you can still play games and watch videos online without any noticeable slowdown. It only comes with one license and doesn’t have as many tools as Bitdefender, but it’s still a good value for Mac protection.
Best Free Mac Antivirus
Avast is one of the few antivirus companies to offer free internet security for Mac computers. In addition to its above-average protection against Mac malware and frugal use of computer resources, Avast Security for Mac has a long list of extra security tools that aren’t included with most free programs. For example, it has a safe browser and vulnerable software detection.
Avast is also one of a handful of internet security companies that offer 24/7 telephone support, even for its free products.
How We Tested Mac Internet Security Programs
We looked at test results published by third-party laboratories that specialize in testing internet security programs to get an idea of how well each Mac program detects and blocks malware as well as how heavily it taxes computer resources and how much lag it creates during virus scans. We used these results as benchmarks for our own, in-house evaluations. During our own testing, we measured how well the antivirus portion of each program recognizes and blocks minor threats such as installed keyloggers, spam mail and adware. We also looked closely at how much lag the software created when we browsed the internet, sent emails, shared files and watched videos online.
By combining our results with those of other independent labs, we were able to see how the programs compare to each other and accurately score how well each one protects and performs. We also considered the programs’ extra security features – those that include parental controls, safe browsing tools and password managers ranked high on our list because they provide good protection overall.
Some software can also protect your mobile devices. For example, when you buy Trend Micro Maximum Security, you get 5 licenses, and you can download the program directly on your computers, cell phones and tablets. Other programs work a little differently. For example, with Panda Antivirus for Mac, you need to connect your mobile device to your Mac computer via a USB connection. Once connected, Panda scans your device for any potential threats and walks you through the steps to remove them.
While no program can detect and eliminate every internet threat, the best Mac internet security suites come pretty close, plus they include additional security through parental controls, safe browsers, password managers and social media protections.