We had some trouble getting ESET Cyber Security to work correctly during our testing of the best Mac antivirus software. As a result, ESET only detected 71 percent of the malware we subjected it to during our in-house tests. This is substantially lower than most Mac antivirus programs we reviewed. It’s also lower than other testing labs’ results. But no matter how many times we followed directions and suggestions, and even reached out to ESET tech support, we couldn’t get a better outcome.
After installing ESET on our computer, we noticed that the malware definitions, which are used to detect malware, are outdated. This means the program didn’t have the most recent threat information to properly identify and protect against new malware. So, we followed the instructions to update this module. However, each time we tried, the download was interrupted before the updates completed. After several attempts, we checked the online knowledgebase on ESET’s website and Googled for a solution. Following the steps for some of the suggestions we found didn’t help, so we ultimately reached out to the ESET tech support team. We received a reply within 10 minutes instructing us to uninstall and reinstall the program. We did so, but still the data module we needed wouldn’t update. We ultimately had to continue our testing without them.
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ESET Cyber Security recognized and protected against 117 of the 165 malware samples we used in our tests. This is the lowest rate of detection of all programs we reviewed. It did a slightly better job detecting Windows malware on our Mac test computer, blocking 85 percent of those threats.
When it blocked a threat, the program displayed a detailed message of exactly what kind of threat was blocked and where it was found. Depending on the threat, ESET either sent it to the quarantine folder or permanently deleted it. If we tried to access a website that had either a malicious download, a dangerous link or a phishing scheme, ESET Cyber Security displayed an in-browser message warning us of the dangers.
Other than having difficulties updating the software, ESET is a simple program to figure out and use. The main tools and files you need are clearly marked on the left side of the dashboard. If a tool is performing a function, like a computer virus scan, or there is a database out of date, you will see a colored dot beside the folder. Clicking on it gives you more details about what ESET is doing, or any tasks you need to perform manually for the program to keep running.
ESET Cyber Security works as a basic Mac antivirus program that doesn’t have a lot of additional security features. However, ESET Cyber Security Pro includes parental controls and a personal firewall. But you can also get these and several more tools, like safe banking and a password manager, with Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac for the same cost as ESET, and with a better protection rate.
ESET Cyber Security didn’t do well in our tests for Mac malware protection, and we couldn’t get the important malware data module, which houses the latest threat descriptions, to update, even with help from ESET’s support team. This was surprising since in the past ESET has performed well in our tests, and it does so in tests by other third-party labs including AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Though it blocks you from accessing dangerous websites and does a decent job blocking Windows malware from downloading to Mac machines, we can’t strongly recommend this product for Mac protection.