In an era when malware is a looming threat to personal computers —not to mention smartphones , routers , and even TVs —it's hard to overlook the benefits of antivirus software. But given the wide range of options, it's just as tough to choose the one that provides the best protection. That's why we just put 30 antivirus programs—including 10 free offerings—to the test, exposing computers running Windows 10 and macOS to a host of malware samples and malicious websites.
To evaluate the programs' scam-fighting capabilities, we tossed in phishing web pages, too. But here are some recommendations and tips based on what we learned. You don't have to pay for solid AV protection. Bitdefender Free Edition got high marks from our testers for its ability to stop threats, for example. The Windows 10 Defender software that comes installed on new Windows computers is not quite as strong as those first three, but it still offers considerable protection. The paid programs have extra benefits. Case in point: Another benefit?
With a paid program, you don't get peppered with pop-up ads asking you to upgrade from the free version, Fisco says. Opening your wallet does not guarantee you a better product. Web Security Space suites both scored lower than Windows Defender without offering any meaningful extras. Yes, Macs need AV, too. They do exist in greater numbers, according to AV software maker Malwarebytes. For those reasons, Consumer Reports now rates antivirus products for Mac computers. Download the software from trusted sites.
If you click on a pop-up ad promising free AV protection, you can easily end up with malware on your computer instead. It's a common scam employed by cyber criminals. To be safe, go straight to the source and manually type in the web address for the company that offers the product you want to use. I write about all things "cyber" and your right to privacy.
The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for | raconcosi.tk
And ideally, files identified as malicious should be quarantined into a special storage area managed by the AV software, with the option to automatically delete files known to be malware or repair normal documents that also carry devious payloads. Great AV suites also will monitor the filesystem for certain kinds of changes. Ransomware—which is malware that will rapidly encrypt user files like documents and mailboxes and then delete the originals—has become a huge moneymaker on other platforms.
Detecting this pattern and halting it before any files are unavailable should be possible without an anti-malware system knowing the specific innards of a ransomware virus. Sophos, our top pick, includes this feature in the Home Premium version of its update. Other vendors, like Avast and Trend Micro Antivirus, offer an alternative feature that allows you to whitelist programs allowed to manipulate files in specific directories.
Good antivirus software should also use minimal computational resources. Beyond these primary features, an easy-to-navigate interface and extra features are worth factoring into your decision. Some AV software are full-fledged suites that offer additional options like backup service for essential files, a password manager, parental controls, anti-tracking and privacy modes or options, a more advanced firewall, and the blocking of Potentially Unwanted Applications PUAs. Each software package is evaluated creating a clean installation of macOS Mojave, cloning it for each AV product, and then booting separately into each one to install a different package.
In addition to visiting malicious websites, downloading known malicious software, and even running said malware, we also reference the most recent reports from two labs that regularly cover macOS malware: These laboratories test AV software against sets of known malware as well as products that are grouped as potentially unwanted applications like adware.
Because the testing effectively looks at a combination of virus databases and behavior, they remain good gauges even after many months. When an antivirus software package lacks a rating from a known security research lab, we do more extensive testing with real malware. Finally, while we gave props for a lot of different features and behaviors, we marked products down if they lacked any or all of the following:. First, an antivirus product may upload the complete text of files flagged to the cloud, where it can be analyzed by separate tools hosted there.
This practice is normal and sensible: Some malware can detect when a running process may examine it, and will then engage in subterfuge. Antivirus software makers also can access their massive databases to examine files with characteristics that trigger their algorithms—certain elements that match known malware. As a result, security researchers discover new viruses, worms, Trojans horses, and the like.
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In some cases, you can opt out of this information gathering. Sophos Home Premium has the most extensive and up-to-date approach to fighting malware at an unbeatable price. Norton Security Deluxe is the most comprehensive security package we tested, but it lacks advanced monitoring of ransomware and complete Windows malware identification—the latter of which should be a given.
Simple device control. Includes online cybersecurity training.
Poor results in our hands-on antiphishing test. Slow scans in testing. No longer certified by independent labs. Though it doesn't have current certification from independent testing labs, ESET Cyber Security offers comprehensive protection for your macOS devices plus cybersecurity training. You've surely learned by now that you can't go without antivirus protection on your PCs.
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Even if you try, you can't, because Windows activates its own built-in antivirus. But don't forget that your Macs also need protection. Yes, macOS isn't nearly the target that Windows is for malware writers, but it's far from immune. ESET Cyber Security for Mac combines Mac antivirus protection with a collection of useful bonus features, though admittedly, the bonus features don't pack the punch they do under Windows.
It seems effective, though since it no longer has certification from independent labs, it's hard to be sure. You also must actively choose whether the antivirus should detect low-risk PUAs, or potentially unwanted applications; there's no predefined setting. After an initial antivirus signature update, your protection is fully active.
View All 8 Photos in Gallery. Instead of a cyborg's steely gaze, the spacious main window emphasizes two large monitor-shaped icons, representing computer security and security of your web and email connections. A green background with a checkmark means everything's fine.
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If there's a problem, the corresponding monitor turns red and the program displays an explanation, with a link to set things right. A simple menu down the left side gives you access to all the program's features.
Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious software
ESET's default Smart Scan checks locations where malware is typically found, as well as looking for active malware. The last time I tested ESET, this scan finished in 21 minutes, which is quite a bit longer than the typical product's quick scan. This time around, on the same test Mac, it needed a surprising 51 minutes to finish.
Kaspersky managed a quick scan in one minute, Symantec Norton Security Deluxe for Mac in slightly less time, and Webroot in just 15 seconds. Clearly Smart Scan isn't directly comparable to the typical quick scan. I also timed an in-depth scan, which I assume corresponds to the full scan in other products. Last time around that took 38 minutes. This time…I'm not sure. It was still running when I quit for the day, and because the Mac went to sleep overnight, the scan log reported a duration in excess of 14 hours, clearly incorrect.
If I assume the same ratio be0tween the two smart and full scans, this time around would have been about 1.
Free Mac Antivirus Protection
The current average is 27 minutes. The custom scan lets you choose specific drives or folders, with options to choose all removable drives, network drives, and so on. For reasons I don't entirely grasp, there's an option to scan without cleaning. Many Mac antivirus products skip the concept of scheduled scans, figuring that real-time protection should take care of any malware that turns up after the initial full scan. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac , Kaspersky, and Sophos are among those that don't bother with scheduling.