PROS / Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac earned a perfect malware detection score at a respected independent test lab.
CONS / You initiate scans manually, rather than according to a schedule.
VERDICT / Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is one of the most effective at detecting viruses and phishing attempts without slowing down your computer.
Macs used to be much safer than PCs, but no longer. That's why there is a growing market for Mac security software. Bitdefender, one of the best brands against Windows malware, also has one of the best internet security products for Mac. The Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner for Mac internet security is Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. It detects malware remarkably well and does not slow the host computer enough that you would notice.
Certainly Mac OS X has excellent security systems and Macs encounter fewer threats than Windows PCs. But all it takes is one successful attack and you become a statistic. In 2012, for example, 700,000 Macs were infected by the Flashback attack, a Java exploit. Since then, the Mac OS now updates Java and erases Flashback malware. Furthermore, Apple partners with ISPs to hurt the Flashback command and control network. Even with all Apple is doing, Apple says “antivirus software may offer additional protection.”
In September 2014, AV-Test – one of the most respected independent test labs – published results from evaluating 18 Mac security packages. The tests measured how well the products found and stopped threats. The tests also examined whether they falsely identified safe files as malicious. Another test looked at how much they slowed down their host computers. There were two Mac malware detection tests. The first one used 117 malware samples to check the normal on-demand scanning. The second one was the on-access test, which checked to see if the background virus checker could wake up to the fact that 84 infected files were being copied from one folder to another.
Out of 18 products that underwent both malware detection tests, Bitdefender was one of three that passed both tests with 100 percent success. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac also turned in exemplary results at AV-Comparative’s July 2014 testing of Mac malware protection by finding 98 percent of 65 malware samples.
There is such a thing as internet security for Mac that does well with malware detection but at the expense of system performance. Bitdefender is efficient against threats but without slowing system performance, at least not to a noticeable degree. AV-Test measured performance by first copying 7.3GB of data on a Mac running Apple OS X 10.9.4 without any protection software installed (to establish a baseline of 17.2 seconds). After they installed Bitdefender and ran the same copying test, Bitdefender tied for first place. It took 17.5 seconds, which is only three-tenths of a second slower than if it were absent. For comparison's sake, one competitor took 40 seconds and another more than seven minutes.
Bitdefender works on Windows malware in addition to Mac malware, so you are less likely to infect your PC-using friends. In the same way that Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac stopped all of the Mac malware sample at AV-Test, its Windows version stopped the 19,000 malware samples that AV-Test subjected it to. So Bitdefender is proven against malware such as viruses, worms, keyloggers and rootkits. For Mac security there is something more important than antimalware: antiphishing. Phishers try to seduce you into sharing personal information, which is the first step to separating you from your own identity. In order to protect you, Bitdefender supplies a browser extension for Safari, Chrome and Firefox. It is an advanced malware filter that discovers any trackers on your machine. For example it found the Genieo adware on one of our test lab Macs, so we removed it using the Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool for Mac. Adware such as Genieo is merely annoying because it tracks your behavior so it can customize ads for you. Even though the intention is not criminal, you don’t want it – and Bitdefender can oust it for you.
Bitdefender scans email and external drives that you attach to your Mac, as do most of the products in our review. Some of Bitdefender’s competitors have additional features such as spam control, a proprietary software firewall, parental controls and the capability of scheduling automated scans. Unfortunately the products with these extra features do not match Bitdefender’s malware detection rates, the foundation of malware protection for Mac.
Help & Support
Just two other products in our review match Bitdefender’s help and support. Bitdefender hosts exceptional online resources and utilities. Help is available 24/7 via email, contact form, telephone or live chat.
Macs are no longer safe enough to run naked without Mac security software. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has proven itself a winner at independent software test labs AV-Comparatives and AV-Test. It is the best product in our comparison because it is so good at malware detection without slowing the computer system enough that you would notice. In addition to antimalware, it includes antiphishing. Help and support are so good that only two competitors in our review can match Bitdefender’s commitment to customer support.