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Best Mac Antivirus Software
Why Use Mac Antivirus Software?
We spent three months testing how well these antivirus programs recognize threats such as Trojans, ransomware and malicious websites. We also evaluated third-party laboratory test results and checked out any lag these programs create on your computer. Based on our tests and experience, we feel that Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac is the best Mac-compatible antivirus software for most people. There have been warnings about government agencies and departments using Kaspersky software. You can learn more in this article. However, we found Kaspersky to be a reliable program for home computer use.
Best Overall 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, and it doesn't 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 and keep them from sharing personal information like full names, birthdates and phone numbers. You can also block dangerous websites by clicking on the category filters, and the time control features let you set time restrictions.
Alternatives to Kaspersky Mac Antivirus
If the recent rumblings about Kaspersky have you worried, there are several other reliable Mac programs available that are just as effective at stopping threats from attacking your computer. Here are some of our favorites.
Norton Security Standard is compatible with both Mac and Windows, which means you can install the same program on each of your computers and laptops regardless of the operating system. Although it is the most basic protection program offered by Norton, it includes a password manager that shields your user name and passwords to online accounts so they can’t be swiped by keyloggers, hackers, identity thieves and other lurking threats. Norton Security Standard only comes with one license, so you will have to purchase more to protect multiple devices.
Bitdefender Mac Antivirus stops Mac threats, but it also recognizes and blocks Windows malware. This is important because Windows viruses can be accidentally sent to PC users via your Mac, through email or file sharing. Stopping them before they can be shared is a big plus that helps protect a lot of computer systems. This program checks for outdated software and other weak points in your computer and suggests safe ways to correct them, like providing a link for the latest software versions. Bitdefender consistently scores well in most protection tests, though it does create some noticeable lag while running scans.
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.
What We Learned While Testing Mac Antivirus
Apple products are more frequently becoming targets of malware, including ransomware. While Mac operating systems come with great built-in antivirus tools, third-party programs provide a second layer of protection against threats. And even though Mac devices can’t be attacked by PC viruses, your Mac computer can still be used as an avenue 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 that could potentially harm the computers of your friends, family members or clients.
We tested antivirus programs on our Mac test machines to get a feel for how easy they are to install and use, and to see if they could detect threats such as keyloggers, adware and malicious sites. We tested malware detection on Windows computers using over 200 live threats including rootkits, Trojans, phishing schemes and ransomware. We also considered test results from third-party laboratories, including AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
Part of our testing included looking at how much lag each of the programs created on our computers while running virus scans. During the full virus scans, we sent emails with attachments, played online games, watched videos, downloaded programs and browsed the web, all while watching and timing how long it took to accomplish each of these tasks. We compared our results to those we got doing the same tasks before installing antivirus programs, giving us a good idea of how much drag these programs caused. Our findings are very similar to other security lab performance test results.
Privacy & Protection
On top of protecting you from malware, the best Mac antivirus programs include important tools designed to give added protection and privacy while you are online. Many of these features, like dedicated safe banking tools and parental controls, are typically included in higher priced internet security suites.
Mitch Stephens, who works as a security consultant with Emagined Security, shared with Top Ten Reviews that the best way to keep yourself safe online (beyond virus protection, of course) is to use a password manager to help keep longer and complicated passwords secure and easy to use. One example is F-Secure Safe, which has several of these advanced protection features plus 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. Most basic antivirus programs don’t include a mobile component, but computer protection programs include mobile security along with virus protections for computers and laptops. 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.
Cost of Mac Antivirus
Basic Mac antivirus programs typically come with a single license that protects either a Mac computer or laptop for around $50, though you can purchase more licenses if you have more than one device to secure. There are a few free programs available that don’t include as many protection tools and come with a lot of popup ads. Mac internet security solutions cost around $90, include additional user licenses and often are compatible with iPhone and other mobile devices.
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 out own testing, and evaluated features to find the best Mac antivirus solutions.