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Best Mac Antivirus: Top 5

These top five options offer formidable anti-virus software at a range of prices.

By Tom Ball

CBR has compiled a list of the five best antivirus products for Mac. Within this list prices range from packages costing $80 per year, to products that are free. Interestingly, the free products that made it into the top five are only incrementally behind, or drawing equal to expensive competitors.

At a time when the cyber landscape has a malicious adversary lurking behind every corner, these options aim to bring an autonomous aspect to anti-virus security. The products include features such as scanning of unopened files, and the ability to remotely access the anti-virus capabilities – meaning that the user can defend their Mac from afar if alerted to a risk.


Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has received solid reviews for its interface on ease of use and attractive presentation. The software has also been rated well for not having a substantial impact on the overall performance of the device.

The product is available on a basis of yearly subscriptions for one to three Macs. For one the cost is $39.95, and $59.95 for three. In regard to the specs of the device the software is meant for, it supports Intel-based OS X 10.8.5 or later. The software requires at least 1GB of RAM and 400MB of available disk space.

Mac anti-virus

The technology behind the product is based on traditional signature-based malware detection, in addition to more advanced capabilities such as cloud-based data collection. The product also uses techniques such as behavioural –pattern recognition.

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The product uses the Bitdefender Autopilot system, which is designed to provide real-time scanning and modified files without having a noticeable impact on resources or the system overall. On-demand scans are available, but scheduled scans are not – this is congruous with the majority of other antivirus software for Macs.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac makes the suggestion that the user installs TrafficLight, a browser extension that is compatible with Chrome, Safari and Firefox. This browser extension is available without purchasing the Bitdefender Antivirus product.


Sophos Home

Sophos offers an anti-virus product for Mac which is capable of performing background scans whenever a file is accessed, and simultaneously it prevents browsers from navigating to websites that could pose a threat by being host to malicious content.Mac anti-virus

Sophos Home uses traditional signature-based malware identification, in addition to behavioural-based heuristic monitoring which makes the user aware of files that are acting in an unusual way. This software is also able to detect Windows malware, which can tackle the movement of malicious files.

The on-demand malware-scanning engine is useful for dealing with the constant flow of malware and malicious attempts made against devices in the modern world, stopping 99.17% of Max OS X malware according to a test by German independent lab AV-TEST in June 2016.

Sophos Home is free and a single account can be used to protect 10 Macs.


Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac

Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac offers low impact on performance while providing a well-regarded malware detection capability. The product also includes some other features on top of the basic product. Most interestingly users of the software can access Kaspersky Internet Security remotely in the event of the presence of behaviour-tracking malware in the browser.

This anti-virus product also uses traditional signature-based scanning for the identification code and software containing malicious components. Behavioural analysis is also incorporated to monitor signs of malware; this is again important for the contemporary threat landscape and the constant risks that are posed.

Mac anti-virusThe product costs $39.99 per year for one Mac, and $59.99 per year for three.

Kaspersky’s Hybrid Protection analyses a flow of data uploaded by the 400 million computers that are running their products, so as to gain a holistic perspective of the cyber environment, and get a sense of the scale and type of a problem before it gains too much momentum.

The use of this data sharing program is an optional feature, and it is important to note that resulting updates are extended to clients several times a day.

In addition to performing background scans, users can also initiate on-demand scans. The software also scans unopened archive files, which widens the ability for problems to be located autonomously, and raises awareness to them before the pitfall has taken effect.

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Norton Security Deluxe costs $80 per year and will cover five devices. An alternative to this product is Norton Security Standard, which costs $60 and covers one device.

The Norton Security Deluxe supports OS X 10.11 El Capitan, 10.10 Yosemite and 10.9 Mavericks. Norton is set to release support for mac 10.12 Sierra in 2017.

Like in other picks for this list, Norton Security Deluxe functions using traditional signature-based malware detection, while it also provides intrusion prevention by analysing network traffic for attacks. The product also includes browser protection which is designed to tackle and block known phishing sites.

Mac anti-virus



Norton Security Deluxe comes with a ‘LiveUpdate’ ability, which is aimed to keep the system protected against developments of potential threats.

This product also recommends a browser extsension that is compatible with Firefoc, Safari and Chrome. The extension is Norton’s Safe Web browser, which is intended to prevent the user from connecting to websites that pose a threat.

Norton also makes the suggestion that the user switches their home page and search engine to its own Ask-powered SafeSearch service. The software also offers a File Guard tool so as to lock specific files behind the users account password.



Avast Free Mac security costs exactly as much as the name suggests, and it is able to support Macs running any version of OS X. The spec requirement for the protection is 128MB of RAM and 750MB of available disk space.

Like the others on our list, the software is based on traditional signature-based detection; the software also opens Mac-specific formats and scans them. The product can also undertake the detection and quarantining PC malware on Macs, intending to halt the spread.

Mac anti-virusAvast can actually also scan the user’s router to prevent DNS hijacking and executable shellcode scripts. Like with Kaspersky’s product previously listed, Avast is also able to scan unopened files such as ZIPS to prevent a breach caused by unintentionally accessing a file with malicious contents.

At the German independent lab AV-TEST, Avast Free Mac Security placed just below Bitdefender’s perfect score with a rate of 99.17% of Mac OS X malware stopped. This is an impressive score considering the product is free.

Avast also includes an Online Security browser extension. The browser will install itself via Chrome unless the user specifically opts not to use it. The extension provides a simple code via a button that is green when a site is safe and red when it is found to be potentially harmful to the Mac.

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