Malware can’t hide from us

Malware that is discovered can be automatically quarantined for easy removal at a later date. Sophos has been a leader in business-grade antivirus and security protection apps for PCs and Macs for years. Sophos brings the same business-grade security system to the personal Mac there is also a PC version user for free. Sophos Home for Mac can protect every Mac in your home from malware, viruses, and ransomware.

It also can protect your web browsing from stumbling across inappropriate websites that may contain phishing schemes or malware. Sophos uses signature-based as well as heuristic-based behavioral detection to monitor the unusual behavior of apps to identify suspicious activity. Like most antivirus apps for the Mac, Sophos can detect Windows-based threats as well, helping to prevent cross-platform contamination.

Sophos runs primarily in the background scanning your Mac and detecting if malware or related threats are present whenever you download, copy, or open a file or folder. The scanner can also examine compressed files to make sure files contained within are safe. Share Pin Email.


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Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About. He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. What We Like Detects several types of malware. Blocks your computer from sending and receiving viruses in emails. Able to minimize its impact on system resources. Includes other security tools. What We Don't Like Some features only work in the pro edition.

Might take a while to install. Here's some more about Avast Free Mac Security:. Scheduled scans allow you to set the time for Avast for Mac to run its routine scans for the presence of malware. Moving the scheduled time to when it will least impact your workload is a big plus. File shield can check all of the files on your Mac for nefarious content. Files can also be checked by file type or location on your Mac.

10 Best (REALLY FREE) Antivirus Programs for Mac

Web shield blocks unsafe websites from loading or downloads from those sites from occurring. Mail shield prevents dangerous email attachments from downloading or from being executed. Local network scan makes sure your home network and all connected devices are free from vulnerabilities that hackers could make use of to steal personal data.

What We Like Easy to set up and forget about. To gauge how effective each package was at stopping malware, we used the results of evaluations conducted in May by AV-TEST, a well-regarded independent product-testing lab in Germany, and results from other tests conducted in July by AV-Comparatives, a similarly well-respected firm in Austria. Kaspersky Internet Security is the best antivirus for Macs because it offers both the lowest system impact and some of the best malware-detection rates recorded.

It even provides extra security features, including parental controls and options to lock down your webcam and stop websites from tracking your browsing activity. If you're willing to pay to protect your Mac from malware, Kaspersky Internet Security is the best option available. Avast Free Mac Security caught If only it caught percent of malware, as Kaspersky did. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is one of only a few solutions we tested that offers perfect malware detection.

Further, its modern, streamlined interface places on-demand scans front and center. Bitdefender has dropped from first place, though, because its system-impact scores don't match the flawless marks posted by Kaspersky. Norton Deluxe may offer excellent protection, but it charges more after the first year than its competitors do, without offering as many perks. Norton AntiVirus Plus offers similar protection for a single Mac, but with fewer perks. Still, both have always-on-call customer support. Unfortunately, other free competitors provide extras Sophos with parental controls, Avast's password manager that AVG does not.

With Sophos Home for Mac's simple interface and low system-performance impact, you'll barely realize the program is shielding you until you need it. Anyone with young children at home will find Sophos' parental controls useful, as they allow for remote scans and checks, and let you block sites by category. Sophos even keeps a log of when users try to reach banned pages. This program's major drawback, though, is its lackluster malware-detection rate.

The researchers at AV-Test Institute evaluate Mac antivirus products on three criteria: protection, performance, and usability. A product can earn up to six points for each. Protection against malware protection is essential, of course, as is a low impact on performance. A high usability score reflects a small number of false positives, legitimate programs and websites identified as dangerous.

Several products achieved a perfect 18 points, all six points for all three criteria. This lab, too, included a test using malware aimed at Windows.


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  • Yes, these samples can't affect a computer running macOS, but they could conceivably escape to Windows machines on the network. Scores in the Windows malware test ranged from zero to percent, which is quite a span. Results in macOS-specific tests have a much smaller point spread than in tests of Windows antivirus utilities. It's good that many products in the chart received at least one certification for Mac protection, and even better that some received two certifications.

    When we test malware protection on Windows, we use live malware inside an isolated virtual machine. We've coded a number of analysis tools over the years to help with this testing. Little of that testing regimen carries over to the Mac. Phishing, however, isn't platform-specific, and neither is our antiphishing test. Phishing websites imitate secure sites, everything from banks and finance sites to gaming and dating sites.

    If you enter your credentials at the fake login page, you've given the phisher access to your account. And it doesn't matter if you are browsing on a PC, a Mac, or an internet-aware sewing machine. Almost all of the products in chart above include protection against malicious and fraudulent sites. Malwarebytes and ProtectWorks also lack an antiphishing component.

    The wily malefactors who create phishing sites are in the business of deception, and they constantly change and update their techniques, hoping to evade detection. If one fraudulent site gets blacklisted or shut down by the authorities, they simply pop up with a new one. That being the case, we try to use the very newest phishing URLs for testing, scraping them from phishing-focused websites. We launch each URL simultaneously in four browsers.

    One is Safari on the Mac, protected by the Mac antivirus that's under test. The other three use the protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Discarding any that don't fit the phishing profile, and any that don't load correctly in all four browsers, we report the product's success as the average of the difference between its detection rate and that of the other four test systems. Most of the products in this roundup beat the combined average of the three browsers.

    Bitdefender and Webroot in particular scored hugely higher against some browsers; perhaps the browsers were having a bad day. It's worth noting that, while phishing is platform-independent, phishing defense may not be. For example, in last year's testing Norton on Windows scored significantly better than Norton for the Mac. The scourge of ransomware is on the rise. While ransomware attacks are more common on Windows devices, Macs have suffered as well. Of course, any antivirus utility should handle ransomware just as it handles spyware, Trojans, viruses, and other malware types.

    But since the consequences of missing a ransomware attack are so great, some security products add components with the sole purpose of preventing ransomware attacks. We've observed a wide variety of ransomware protection techniques on Windows. These include blocking unauthorized access to user documents, detecting ransomware based on its activity, and recovering encrypted files from backup. Of the products listed here, Bitdefender and Trend Micro offer a ransomware component that blocks unauthorized modification of protected documents.

    As with Bitdefender's Windows edition, the Safe Files feature prevents all unauthorized access to your documents. On a Mac, it also protects your Time Machine backups. Trend Micro offers multiple layers of Windows ransomware protection. Folder Shield, which, like Safe Files, prevents unauthorized document access, is the only layer that made its way to the macOS edition.

    Sophos Home Premium includes the same CryptoGuard behavior-based ransomware protection found in its Windows equivalent.

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    Our Windows test sytsems are virtual machines, so we feel free to release real-world ransomware for testing. We just roll back the virtual machine to a clean snapshot after testing. We don't have the option to do that on the physical Mac testbed, so we just have to figure that since it worked on Windows, it probably works on macOS.

    How to protect your Mac from Malware

    Any kind of malware problem is unpleasant, but spyware may be the most unnerving. Imagine some creeper secretly peeking at you through your Mac's webcam! Other types of spying include logging keystrokes to capture your passwords, sending Trojans to steal your personal data, and watching your online activities to build a profile. As with ransomware protection, we've observed more features specifically devoted to spyware protection on Windows-based security products than on the Mac, but a few products in this collection do pay special attention to spyware.

    Under Windows, Kaspersky's Safe Money feature opens sensitive sites in a secure browser that's hardened against outside interference. The Safe Money feature on the Mac doesn't do that, but it does check URLs to make sure you're on a legitimate secure site. Kaspersky offers an onscreen keyboard, so you can enter passwords with no chance of capture by a keylogger. Its webcam protection isn't as configurable as it is on Windows, but you can use it to disable your Mac's webcam whenever you're not using it. It even includes the ability to block advertisers and others from tracking your online activities.

    Best Mac Antivirus Software 12222

    If spyware is your bugaboo, you'll like Kaspersky. Sophos Home Premium offers protection for the webcam and microphone that's more substantial than Kaspersky's. You get a notification any time an untrusted program attempts to access either; you can allow access or stop the program. There's also an option to whitelist a program, so you don't get a popup every time you use your off-brand video chat tool.

    Many antivirus tools on Windows pack in a ton of bonus features, packing in everything from tune-up utilities to VPNs. Even so, some vendors don't have a standalone Mac antivirus, opting instead to offer a full security suite as the baseline level of protection, and a few others include suite-like bonus features in the basic antivirus. A typical personal firewall component blocks attacks coming in from the internet and also manages network permissions for programs installed on your Mac.

    Parental control is another common suite component. With Sophos free or premium and Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, a content filter can block access to websites matching unwanted categories. Kaspersky goes beyond that, with content filtering, internet time scheduling, private data protection, and even social media contact control.

    Most of the products covered in this roundup earned certification from at least one independent testing lab; some managed two certifications. There really are no bad choices here, as far as basic antivirus protection goes. Even so, a few products stood out. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac not only achieved certification from both labs, it earned the maximum score in every test, and took the top antiphishing score.

    Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac also earned high scores.

    Mac malware removal is a breeze with these antivirus apps

    It offers a full suite of Mac security tools, at the same price competitors charge for basic antivirus protection. These three are our Editors' Choice winners for Mac antivirus protection. Look over the reviews, pick the product that suits you best, and get your Mac protected. Once you've done that, you should also consider installing a Mac VPN. While an antivirus protects you, your devices, and your data locally, a VPN extends that protection to your online activities, protecting both your security and your privacy.

    Editors' Note: We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Labs' inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven , and continue to recommend Kaspersky's security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.


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    Pros: Protects files and backups from ransomware. Top ratings from two independent testing labs. Excellent score in our antiphishing test. No-hassle Autopilot mode. Blocks ad trackers in browsers. Includes VPN. Cons: Full access to VPN features requires separate subscription. With its handy Autopilot mode, you can set it, forget it, and have confidence that your Mac is protected against malware.

    Pros: Excellent scores from two independent testing labs. Full parental control system. Network protection.