Top 10 Best Mac Antivirus for 2019 (Updated)
REVIEWS

Top 10 Best Mac Antivirus for 2019

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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PRICE
REAL-TIME
SCAN RESULTS
SCAN TIME
SIZE
CPU
RAM
1 $59.99
50/5000:33:5634.3 MB6.4%102.6 MB See Review
2
Trend Micro
Visit Site
$39.95
39/5002:50:0034.3 MB28%119.5 MB See Review
3
Combo Cleaner
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$39.95
43/5000:48:0310.6 MB14%372.2 MB See Review
4
Intego X9
Visit Site
$34.99
36/5001:02:00143.6 MB34%494 MB See Review
5 $34.95
27/5000:57:38167.5 MB52%167.5 MB See Review
6
SysTweak
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$49.95
33/5000:07:5637.6 MB26%6.8 MB See Review
7 $30
12/5000:59:4015.1 MB24%302.3 MB See Review
8 $39.99
10/5000:55:034.7 MB23.3%179 MB See Review
9 Free
11/5000:25:0340 MB53%127.6 MB See Review
10 $39.99
5/502 Hours +142.3 MB37%160.6 MB See Review

About the Project

Mac security has become essential for antivirus companies as the number of unwanted programs and malware samples for macOS has been rising steadily. In 2018 alone we saw hundreds of samples and we noticed a sharp rise of malware for macOS. This rise has pushed the anti-malware sector to complete by striving to make better products that fight against viruses for Macs. Security companies have created extremely competitive anti-malware programs that can protect your Mac from all sorts of malware, adware and other unwanted programs.

This competitive trend gave us the idea to conduct an analysis and present to you the 10 best mac antivirus for Mac that are currently out there in terms of overall detection and value they bring to users.

The Project

Similar to other projects, like The Best Free Antvirus Report and Best Data Recovery Apps for Mac, we have kept the methodology of analysis and delimitations.

For this project, the main obstacle was discovering the types of malware which are eventful, along with their exploits. This is why we decided to base our calculations on 50 malware samples, which are taken from the different types of existing threats for Mac that we mentioned above. The idea behind our analyis is to find out the actual potential of an anti-malware program to protect your system from a variety of threats. In the meantime, we also focused our research not only on how the program can protect and remove threats from your Mac, but also how it handles your security in general, and what features it can contribute to the overall health of your Mac. In addition, we also decided to create a value-driven analysis to identify how exactly a program competes in the sector, based on its marketing power.

The Malware

During our analysis, we tested exactly 50 samples of malware which contain:

  • Ransomware;
  • Backdoors;
  • Trojans.

We also tested a number of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), such as:

  • Fake system optimizers;
  • Hoax antivirus software;
  • Fake system error fixing apps;
  • Browser hijackers and adware programs.

The malware which was used was summed up in a folder, with 50 files, all of which were tested by the 10 anti-malware programs via the following ways:

  • One test ran by dropping the folder on the Mac, without executing the malware to check the Real-Time protection.
  • One test which involved scanning the same folder extracted anew by the anti-malware program with Real-Time check disabled, to see how many of the programs were actually detected.
  • One test, involving the deliberate installation of a PUP to see if the program will block it in real time.

The total number of samples were divided and numerated, and they appear in the following way:

The samples were taken from two main places, to the publishers of which we say big “Thanks!” for making them available on the public domain:

  • TheZoo – A repository of LIVE malwares for your own joy and pleasure. theZoo is a project created to make the possibility of malware analysis open and available to the public.
  • Manwe Mac Malware – 100 recent OSX/iOS/Mac malware samples.

The full list of the malware samples we gathered can be found on the GitHub.

Disclaimer
Be advised that this is work with LIVE malware and you should not test this at home, as it can do serious damage to your Mac. Also, be aware, that these viruses can also be made to be completely undetectable by cyber-criminals, given that they find a new zero-day exploit. Furthermore, you should be aware, that despite the undetected programs, some of them can be later detected by their behavior. Thus, this test is done to check if the programs are good enough at detecting recent virus samples, using exploits that at the time have normal to low detection ratio. If the virus is completely new or combined with a new exploit kit, it cannot be said for sure if the program at hand will be able to stop it. It all depends on how the software handles malicious behaviour and how fast it is to detect a new sample and update the other apps to be able to detect the sample before being spread to them as well.

The Reviews

Since not only the results of those mac antivirus tests matter for us, but also the value the programs can bring to your Mac, we reviewed each program separately based on its:

  • Background.
  • User Interface.
  • Security & Privacy.
  • Performance and Features.
  • Technical Specifications (Size, CPU percentage taken up while scanning or idle, RAM required while scanning vs while Idle, Full Scan Time).
  • Pros and Cons (according to our informed opinion from testing the software).
  • Final Verdict.

The Table

In the table above, we summed up our rating for the real-time protection of each individual program and we also included links to each of the individual reviews that are involved in the project. Keep in mind that the Mac antivirus programs are listed from 1 to 10 according to their:

  • Real-time protection rating.
  • Malware detection rate.
  • Total value-added rating for the end user.
  • Full scan time passed.
  • Ease of use rating of the User Interface and Settings.
To see a full review of the app you are interested in, click or tap on its name underneath.

Avast Security for Mac

Avast is a company that has always created quality software. The company recently acquired AVG, which allowed them to expand their knowledge database and technical background and resources. The company has also created an Mac antivirus tool, which we believe is quite unique. The tool is focused on one thing only – to destroy any malware that is on its path.

User Interface

The installation process of Avast Mac antivirus was pretty simple with no complications and hic-ups. The software installed swiftly by displaying its main window:

The interface of Avast is easy to use, containing easy access to all of the software’s protection mechanisms and extras, plus settings and preferences. What impressed us is the lightness of the user interface and how easy it is to navigate through.

Security and Privacy
In terms of the security of the software, Avast offers an array of extras. Many of these extras also available in the free version of the software. The security and privacy features of Avast for Mac are the following:

  • Web Shield.
  • Ransomware Shield.
  • Mail shield.
  • File Shield.
  • Wi-Fi inspector.

The program has the security features aligned very clearly and with easy access in “Preferences”, so that you can modify them.

When we started extracting the malicious payload, Avast immediately begun blocking and detecting threats. As soon as the software detected the first threat, it blocked the whole .ZIP file from working and removed it immediately. While this behavior may be considered a tad paranoid, it is indeed an excellent real-time protection:

On the custom scan, Avast detected 55 files out of 50 and we were surprised why there are more files than the actual extracted ones in the test. Then, we checked the custom scan report only to find that the program was deep scanning into the .pkg files of the potentially unwanted programs, which means that it even detects support files, like the post-install, updater, uninstall and helper files of a PUP we added. This is why it showed more detected objects than actual files. Well-done, Avast.

Performance and Features
The performance of the Mac antivirus was very impressive when we compare it to other competitors in this sector. Avast actually managed to achieve a 33 minutes of deep(full) scan time. And this is at the expense of roughly only 7% of your CPU and 102.6 MB of your RAM. Not bad for an app with 34 MB size.

When it comes to main features, Avast has you covered, with custom scan features that allow you to scan a folder by simply right-clicking it. The program also offers very detailed reports, allowing you to choose if you want to quarantine the viruses without deleting them in its “Virus Chest”. Furthermore, it shows you the actual location of the files to be removed and it has several auto-scanning, scheduling and other types of tools.

Technical Specs

Size: 34.3 MB
CPU While Scanning: 6.4%
RAM While Scanning: 102.6 MB
Full Scan Time: 00:33:56
Scan Test Results: 50 of 50
Real Time Protection Stars: 5
License Price: $59,99

Verdict
In total, Avast did well on all the tests, giving it the deserved first place. We were pleased with the lightness and performance of this program security-wise and found it very hard to find something lacking in it. The only thing is that it may be a little overprotective at times by blocking legit apps, such as TeamViewer sessions.

Why Use
Extremely fast scan time.
Perfect detection ratio.
Perfect real-time.
Free version also available.
Why Avoid
Could be too paranoid at times and block legitimate apps, like TeamViewer, but exclusions can be added to prevent that.

Trend Micro for Mac

The Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is a Mac antivirus program that is extremely light in size, but in the same time quite powerful. Truth is, there is hardly anything to complain about this program.

User Interface

Trend Micro is a program that is extremely serious in terms of security and that’s visible in its user interface, which can only be modiifed if you type in your password:

The software’s design is extremely light and very well focused on the different areas of protection. It has a clear and easy separation in a side menu, just like Avast. The program’s interface is divided in 5 simple categories. The the only drawback is that the program lacks a menu with more advanced settings and preferences that advanced users may look for when they want to modify an anti-malware program to fit their overall Mac experience.

While the User Interface of Trend Micro offers easy access to all the shields, ransomware protection and other easy access features, the program could have a bit more options and could provide advanced users with logs that can be exported after cleanup and removal is complete.

Security and Privacy
Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac is not just a simple antivirus tool. Trend Micro as a company functions a bit differently than most antivirus companies in terms of how they detect threats. All of their antivirus tools have been created to communicate in an almost AI-like cloud-based database that not only detects threats but also pushes updates very cleverly. The system of protection is so smart, that if a new virus is detected on a Mac somewhere across the world, this virus is immediately traced. All of its infection vectors are blocked and your antivirus can now protect your computer from it, even though the virus itself has not yet infected it. Very clever, right?

So, in terms of real-time protection, when we got to extracting the “Mac Malware.zip” file, containing all the samples, the real-time shields of Trend Micro Antivirus immediately got busy and detected the viruses in the archive trying to “come out”. In terms of how it can protect you in real time, we give it 5 out of 5.

When stopped, the real-time shield situated all 50 samples of malware and PUPs, and Trend Micro managed to detect 39 out of 50, which is pretty decent in terms of security:

Performance and Features
The Trend Micro Mac antivirus software is only 13.8 MB in size on your disk. This, it’s not surprising that it is pretty light while scanning. The program manages to take no more than 30% of the CPU of the scan machine and no more than 120 MB of RAM. Of course, we suspected that there would be a catch. The full scan took a drooling 3 hours time. However, even though performance slowdowns were noticed during the full scan, we could still use the MacBook as if Trend Micro was not there. Note that this is subjective as there are different Macs with different viruses and software installed on them.

If we had to say which Trend Micro feature caught our eye the most, it is definitely the ransomware protection:

Even though ransomware for Mac is not a trend that is very common, it is still a threat. This is why, we added the OSX.Keranger – the first Mac ransomware, which was effectively blocked by Trend Micro.

When it comes to other features of Trend Micro Mac antivirus, the first thing we noticed is the web protection features:

  • Privacy Scanner, that aims to safeguard you from cookies and other tracking tech.
  • Web Threat protection.
  • Website filter, where you can add non-trusted sites.

Folder Shield is also an interesting feature used by Trend Micro that can enable the safeguard of a particular folder, where you hold important data. The software has other features as well, such as easy access to shields, detailed notification, etc.

Technical Specs

Size: 13.8 MB
CPU While Scanning: 28%
RAM While Scanning: 119.5 MB
Full Scan Time: 02:50:00
Scan Test Results: 39 of 50
Real Time Protection Stars: 5
License Price: $39.95

Verdict
When we take all the factors in consideration, we have to put Trend Micro in second place. The reasons for the second position are the number of detected samples (39 out of 50), the lack of more advanced settings and features, and the prolonged scan time (about 3 hours).

Why Use
Extremely low in size.
Light.
Perfect real-time protection.
Good anti-malware for what it’s worth.
Free trial available.
Why Avoid
Very slow full scan time.
We expected more viruses to be detected from 50 in total.

Combo Cleaner

Combo Cleaner has been created by RCS Software – an international team that is made of developers and security researchers. They are working together in creating a software that can protect victims from the latest malware threats and Combo Cleaner is their biggest pride. And it should be, because Combo Cleaner is the underdog of this review.

User Interface
When you first turn on Combo Cleaner, you’ll notice that it is an all-round program for your Mac’s health, not just an antivirus. Combo Cleaner’s main UI is well-designed and offers good structure:

The program’s design offers both beauty and structure. Combo Cleaner offers a lot of features and it is smaller in size than even the lightest program in this list – Trend Micro.

When you first open it, you can immediately notice in what state is your Mac performance-wise. The main Dashboard of Combo Cleaner Mac antivirus offers Support (top-right) that is accessible with 1 button, and on the left, you see all of the services it offers. These services are the core competence of Combo Cleaner, because each оne of them can be categorised as a separate program that you could find in some competitor’s website.

Security and Privacy
In reality, Combo Cleaner is the program that did second in the custom scan test of our 50 malware samples and PUPs. The software managed to detect 43 out of 50 samples in total, doing better than Trend Micro. However, what sets it back is that while it is perfect for removing all types of threats, its real time protection is not available yet. Nonetheless, the program still offers a large number of features, making it 6 programs synthesised in 1.

Regarding privacy, Combo Cleaner offers a Privacy Scanner feature, that ensures that you will be able to remove all tracking objects from various different sites on your computer.

In addition, Combo Cleaner is also a very powerful tool against PUPs – the most common and indirect threat for Macs this year. Combo Cleaner not only can detect PUPs, but also remove them entirely and it also has its Uninstaller feature for programs that users find difficult in removing.

Performance and Features
Performance-wise, Combo Cleaner is one of the lowest in size programs here, despite the large amount of features it has. The software is actually only 10.6 MB in size on disk. While scanning, it takes around 14% of your CPU and around 372.2 MB of RAM. We do have to admit that the full (deep) scan of Combo Cleaner is one of the fastest scanners here, taking no more than 50 minutes to complete. The only drawback in terms of performance was that the program took around 400 MB of RAM, which is a bit too much, compared to the other software in this list.

The features of Combo Cleaner are unmatched in variety and value added, and they are the main reason why we put this program in third place. It is not just an anti-malware tool, but rather an all-in-one software designed to fix all your Mac issues, that otherwise may require a tech-savvy expert.

Technical Specs

Size: 10.6 MB
CPU: 14%
RAM: 372.2 MB
Scan Time: 00:48:03
Scan Test Results: 43 of 50
Real Time Protection Stars: 1
License Price: $39.95

Verdict
Combo Cleaner is the second best program on our list in terms of malware detection and removal but we shouldn’t overlook the lack of real-time protection.

Why Use
Easy to use design.
Several programs with different functions, not only limited to antivirus.
Very light in terms of performance.
Second in terms of detection ratio in this list.
Why Avoid
It can protect your from PUPs, but the real-time protection against malware is not yet available.

Intego Mac Security X9

For a newcomer, we can definitely put Intego’s Mac Security solution on a very high position on our list. Similar to Combo Cleaner, the company also offers an array of extras that you would otherwise find in separate software products. With this strategy, Intego Mac Security X9 aims to unify several software products in one, acting as a protection system for Mac that aims to boost overall security. Let’s see what the test revealed about the program’s capabilities.

User Interface
When we installed Intego Mac Security X9, the first thing we noticed is that the program immediately began a real-time scan to automatically detect threats – something that is shown in the background of the user-friendly interface:

The program is divided in several different types of software, each of which has the same easy to use design. What caught our attention is the level of customization that is available on each of Intego Mac Security X9. If we take VirusBarrier, which is the antivirus tool of the protection kit, we will immediately notice that there is easy access to Scheduled Scans as well as Safe Browsing settings. In addition to this, you also have a direct access to the Settings of how the Real-Time scanning is performed:

Furthermore, the antivirus is also very informative, showing the status of the Shields. And of course, you also get a very good General settings that are separated in 3 main categories – General, Scanner and Advanced settings. In those, you can set a variety of preferences, based on what your requirements are – a UI design which is every advanced user’s dream.

Security and Privacy
When it comes to the Security and the Privacy of the end user, Intego has made up a whole system of protection programs to keep your Mac Safe. So with their product, you not only get an anti-malware program for your license, but you also get the following separate programs as well:

  • VirusBarrier – this is Intego’s intelligent antivirus.
  • NetBarrier – this is Intego’s intelligent firewall for home and hotspot Wi-Fi networks, so you can rest assured that your whole home network is protected from unwanted visitors and war-driving type of hackers.

When we set aside the large bundle of useful software for protection, their VirusBarrier Mac antivirus is also quite decent. The software was able to block malware in real time immediately after we begаn extracting the viruses from the “Mac Malware.zip” file:

VirusBarrier X9 did impressively in the passive scan too. When we cut off its real-time shields to be able to extract the 50 samples to perform the custom scan, the program managed to catch 36 out of 50 files from the samples, which is enough to place it among the top 5 best anti-malware programs for Mac.

Performance and Features
In terms of performance, we wouldn’t exactly say that Intego is a light program. VirusBarrier Mac antivirus alone managed to take up to 143.6 MB of space. The RAM and CPU while scanning will not make your Mac to stutter or lag; however, they do take respectively 494 MB and 34% from it. The deep (full) scan time was a bit long, but relatively normal compared to the other software we tested – about an hour time. However, if you run several programs at the same time, such as the Net Barrier and VirusBarrier, then you could experience some slow-downs.

In terms of features, Intego has them in plenty. One very interesting extra of Intego’s VirusBarrier Mac antivirus is its ability to detect not only Mac malware but also:

  • Windows malware.
  • Linux malware.
  • Malicious scripts.
  • Hacking tools.
  • Keyloggers.

The extras continue with the ability of the software to also scan mobile devices, e-mails, external disks, volumes and other objects on demand:

In addition, this software can also scan into archives and perform a low-priority type of scan. The extras do continue with the other programs coming in the Intego X9 bundle. The Personal Backup can quickly connect you to a server, or backup directly all of your files. It is also able to generate a carbon copy of the files that are to be saved. Furthermore, the software can also keep several versions of the backed up files and supports automatic backup, when you schedule it (weekly, daily, etc.). Other extras include the Washing Machine feature, which is not only beautifully designed, but also able to detect and separate the items in a pie-like chart to show how much memory is used, available and junk. Furthermore, the Washing Machine offers great overview of the files to be deleted.

Technical Specs

Size: 143.6 MB
CPU: 34%
RAM: 494 MB
Full Scan Time: 01:02:00
Scan Results: 36 of 50
Real Time Protection Stars: 4.5
License Price: $34.99

Verdict
Intego did extremely well on all the tests, but what sets it back is that it could have more frequent updates on its definitions and just a tad better real-time protection. Nonetheless, the program definitely does much better than programs made by companies that are big names in the industry.

Why Use
The premium bundle contains 4 extra programs to help safeguard and sustain your Mac’s health.
The software has a lot of preferences to modify.
Why Avoid
Could detect just a bit more malware samples during the passive scan.

Avira

Avira is a company with long history in the anti-malware field. Their product is something that we found to be very pleasant to use, easy to be installed and equally easy to work with. Avira for Mac is light and can cope with most advanced threats out there and it is packed with a lot of extras for better protection, based on your security requirements.

User Interface
As soon as Avira starts on your Mac, you immediately notice an interface that has a lot of options. The UI of Avira Mac antivirus is very light with simply made toggle-like icons and buttons. The program in overall contains a lot of different features and the user has the ability to modify the aspects of protection used. What did catch our eye is that the user interface of Avira is extremely focused on protection and security packed in a light design.

The only drawback is that the program has a bit buggy scan starting process.

Security and Privacy
When we extracted the malware .ZIP, Avira Mac antivirus started blocking malware samples from it, preventing the .ZIP to be extracted. The antivirus did not block a big portion of those threats, but it did extremely well in stopping the .ZIP file from extracting them. When we passively scanned the 50 malware samples, Avira managed to detect 27 out of 50 malware samples. When we tried to install a PUP of the “Mac Auto Fixer” kind, Avira also got very active and blocked it.

Regarding privacy, the software offers the element of web protection, but it can also detect programs that are privacy invasive on your computer. However, unlike some of the competitors here, Avira is not very focused on web and PUP protection as much as it can detect and remove serious trojans, backdoors, ransomware and other type of sophisticated malware threats. This is not a serious drawback, and the software is still very capable of protecting your Mac from malware, both actively and passively.

Performance and Features
The Scanner module of Avira took about 57 minutes time to complete and when we ran it, Avira was taking a bit higher CPU usage – about 52%, but the RAM taken was surprisingly as little as 84.7 MB. The program is about 170 MB in size, which is hardly impressive, but is decent.

Avira gives users the ability to enable and disable heuristic detection, scan for Macro viruses, track the activity, manage quarantined threats and also set which actions to be performed when a threat is detected. Not only this, but the software also offers advanced settings and very well-made Scanner that allows you to customise how a scan is to be performed.

Another interesting feature is that the program gives you access to your own personal account, where you can set up a lot of extra features. Other features include a modern cloud-based protection, USB scanner and a good firewall. Avira also takes customer feedback very seriously and they always work towards improving their product, which explains why their Feedback form is so easily accessible.

Technical Specs

Size: 37.6 MB
CPU: 26%
RAM: 84,7 MB
Full Scan Time: 00:57:38
Real Time Protection Stars: 4.5
Scan Results: 27 of 50
License Price: $34,95

Verdict
For a company, founded in 1986, we didn’t expect anything less from Avira. The program is good at blocking and eliminating malware and deserves to be situated in our top 5 for 2019. We did expect more features for this price, like some of the competitors above offer, but if you want a simple and powerful antivirus program, Avira is a good fit for you.

Why Use
Has a dedicated anti-ransomware protection.
Program, made by a company with more than 30 years of experience in the anti-malware and anti-virus sector.
Good real-time protection.

Ideal for coping with sophisticated malware.
Why Avoid
Could have more features for the price it is offered at.
Buggy scan start.
Takes a bit more from your CPU during scan.
Could have a bit better PUP detection.

SysTweak Anti-Malware

SysTweak is a company that is relatively a newcomer in the anti-malware sector. They do have a lot to learn in some aspects, but contrary to our initial expectations, the software blew us away with an extremely well detection rate, enough to make it one of the best programs to rely on when it comes to malware. The company has made a very good tool, with one of the fastest full-scan times on Mac.

User Interface
SysTweak was very easy to install, containing instructions embedded in the installation, guiding you through the whole process. When you first start it, you are welcomed by a very modern user interface with clear categories and good feedback of data:

While the interface of SysTweak looks light, runs fast and is very simple, the program shows the advanced malware protection mechanisms it hides in store for you. And when minimised, it runs conveniently in a system tray icon, which makes you forget you have an antivirus program installed on your computer.

Security and Privacy
SysTweak anti-malware is the type of program that is well-focused both on security and privacy. Its primary security features are:

  • Startup scan of launch,login, logout items and scripts.
  • Scheduled scans.
  • Scans of kernel extensions.
  • Scans of Library Inserts.

Regarding privacy protection, SysTweak anti-malware can ensure that the following unwanted objects stay away from your Mac:

  • Unwanted(Adware) Browser extensions.
  • Widgets.
  • Authorization plugins.
  • Spotlight importers.

Unfortunately, SysTweak did not impress us very much when we extracted the “Mac Malware 50.zip” file on our Downloads folder – the program blocked some threats but let others pass. The program did way better when we scanned the 50 samples, detecting and removing 33 out of the total samples, making it better in removing threats than programs such as Avira, ESET, Kaspersky, Norton and Sophos (continue reading for details). Its weak spot is the real-time protection.

Performance and Features
In terms of performance, SysTweak is one of the lightest programs here, with size on disk of only 37.6 MB. During scan, the program was not even noticeable, with only 26% of the CPU taken and only 6.8 of RAM used. What is particularly interesting here is the time it took SysTweak to do a full sweep of our Mac – only 7 minutes and 22 seconds – impressive for the results achieved.

The features of SysTweak Mac antivirus are deeply focused on security and privacy. The software has a very well-built scanner with on-demand scanning and well-built shortcuts. It also contains detailed scan logs, showing us where an installed malware created its files and objects – quite suitable if you are an advanced user and work with log files.

Other interesting features are the Browser and Desktop protection features SysTweak offers, that make it a good program to protect your Mac from browser hijackers and other forms of unwanted programs which this year alone are spreading at an alarming rate.

In terms of what is lacking, the only thing which we noticed was that the program did not really have advanced settings that could be tinkered with and modified, like most of the competitors here, which is a drawback for the advanced user.

Technical Specs

Size: 37.6 MB
CPU: 26%
RAM: 6.8 MB
Scan Time: 00:07:22
Real Time Detection Stars: 3.5
Scan Results: 33 of 50

Verdict
SysTweak is a very light and well-built program. It can detect a lot of new threats and can remove them quickly. This is a program with the fastest scan time on this list, but it could offer a better real-time protection. It could also fix the bug where its tray remains on your Mac for couple of restarts after you uninstall SysTweak and think you have removed it. However, this bug is not that important, since it did not bother or prevent other anti-malware programs from being installed.

Why Use
Extremely light.
Very good in blocking PUPs.
Good passive scan results.
Why Avoid
Could improve real-time protection.
After we uninstalled it, the system tray in the top-left remained active for quite some time.

Sophos

Focused on cybersecurity through simplicity, Sophos Mac antivirus are a company that has been expanding steadily towards the top. They have created their first product over 30 years ago. Currently, their antivirus and encryption products services about 100 million people across the globe and they work with big businesses, like Xerox, Ford, Avis, Toshiba, among others. When we tested their antivirus we were expecting a powerful anti-malware program, that has a very adequate real-time protection, and that’s what we witnessed.

User Interface
Sophos have a radically different and unusual approach when it comes to user interface. Their software is completely online. The only user interface they actually have on your Mac is the tray icon with couple of quick icons:

The main antivirus of Sophos can be found in an account that you have on their web page, where users get access to all of the features that would otherwise belong to a program installed on their Mac. This allows them to run software, that is only 15 MB, but has the power of an advance anti-malware program.

Security and Privacy
Sophos is also cloud-based, which is also a unique approach, and allows for quicker pushing of updates. This makes the software very adequate against new threats. And it does help in the real-time protection of Sophos, which impressed us, missing only a couple of files of the total 50 files in the Mac Malware folder.

When we extracted the malware from the .Zip, Sophos for Mac managed to stop only several files. However, they started to vanish one by one until only a couple of files were left. The only drawback here was when we disabled Sophos’s real-time protection and scanned manually for the files. The program managed to detect only 12 of a total of 50 files on the compromised Mac. While this is not something that made us very happy, Sophos Mac antivirus managed to compensate with the extremely good real-time protection, whose only drawback was that it deleted items from our Mac without even notifying us.

Performance and Features
The performance of Sophos is mainly revolving around the software being cloud-based. This approach however, does not seem to optimise the scan time, which took almost an hour on our test machine. We should note that during this scan the CPU was at about 25% load and the RAM taken was 302.3 MB. Not bad, but we expected those to be a bit less, considering that Sophos is aiming at simplicity.

If we have to outline the features of Sophos, there is everything that you would require for your anti-malware needs. Sophos offers the following protection features:

  • Antivirus.
  • Web protection.
  • Ransomware protection.
  • Webcam and Microphone protection.
  • Privacy protection.
  • Detection of malicious traffic (programs trying to connect to malicious servers.
  • Web filtering – helps with blacklisting sites from opening.
  • History of detected threats.
  • Many devices linked to one account.

If we have to criticise the features, our main remark would be that there are no advanced settings which you could tamper with, with the software lacking extra features like some other programs on this list.

Technical Specs

Size: 15,1 MB
CPU: 24%
RAM: 302 MB
Passive Scan Time: 00:59:40
Real Time Protection Stars: 5
Scan Results: 12 of 50
Price: $25

Verdict
Sophos Mac antivirus is not a program which will disappoint you. They have one of the best real-time shields due to their constant and active scanning of your Mac to find threats. This is the first time when we see a program to remove so many threats in real-time without even notifying us. However, more extras, buggy uninstall and low passive scan results leave us with no choice, but to put the program on the seventh place among the 10 best.

Why Use
Many devices linked to an online account where they can be controlled.
Detection of malicious traffic.
Extremely light User Interface.
Cloud-based.
Excellent real-time protection.
Why Avoid
Could offer other extras for the price it‘s offered at.
Deletes virus files in real-time without any notification.

We found uninstalling it to be very difficult and annoying.

Norton Security

Being one of the leaders in cybersecurity, Symantec has created a tool that is light and does its job. The company has put in a lot of effort in making their software with one of the best real-time protections out there but it’s not as good in other areas. We see that Norton has addressed the RAM and CPU issues for which the company was criticised so much over the years, and we have to say that for the price their solution is offered at, the product is worth it.

User Interface
As soon as you complete the easy installation process, you are welcomed by one of the most intuitive user interfaces that an antivirus could have:

The interface has exactly what is needed to easily manage the settings, and also runs cleanup at a click of a button. The settings of the program loaded very fast and they can be applied equally fast. Also, with Norton Security it is very easy to contact their support by sending a message directly from the software. Another interesting design feature is the one on their Safe Web, where you can perform advanced changes on your protection with few simple clicks.

Security and Privacy
When we extracted the “Mac Malware.zip”, Norton immediately started working. Their software neutralized several threats but it did not stop the .ZIP file from being extracted:

Norton did not really impress us in the passive test, however. Of a total of 50 malicious files, the software managed to catch only 10, which is rather disappointing. Nonetheless, the software does compensate with great security features that contribute to increasing the real-time protection rating.

One of the rather impressive features of Norton Security are those added in the settings:

The software not only has scheduled scans, idle scans and active virus definitions, but also offers custom firewall, access to advanced settings and something, called Norton Safe Web. This is a live web protection which significantly improves the protection of viruses ending up on your Mac as a result of a web browser infection:

As soon as we opened it, we immediately noticed that Safe Web has detected the installed web browsers on our Mac and all of them had custom preferences for protection – something which contributes to the value of this antivirus.

Performance and Features
Norton has had some serious problems in the past with being heavy on the CPU. Its developers have managed to fix those problems, and created a software that is merely 4.7 MB in size. During a deep scan, the program took about 179 MB of ram and about 23% of CPU and the scan was complete after 55 minutes.

Norton Security Mac antivirus does have interesting features to talk about. For starters, the program offers Safe Web, that can be customised according to your needs and protect you while browsing online. This safe web can also show you the security ratings of different sites, helping you choose if you want to refrain from buying a product from a scam site or typing your password and ID on a phishing site.

Another interesting feature of the program is its Cleanup utility, embedded directly in the main panel. It allows for you to clean up cookies, cache, junk files and other unnecessary objects from your Mac. This is something that is very modern and more anti-malware companies seem to add such extras to their security solution packages.

Technical Specs

Size: 4.7 MB
CPU: 14%
RAM: 172 MB
Scan Tme: 00:55:03
Real Time Protection stars: 4
Scan Results: 10 of 50
Price: $39.99

Verdict
Norton has created a competitive program that has a very strong web protection, but their software could improve in the passive scan and could have a bit more extras, similar to their cleanup utility. A result of 10 out of 50 detection rate and real-time rating of 4 stars is enough to place them on the eighth position in our top 10 list.

Why Use
Innovative and light design.
The smallest size from all the Mac antivirus programs here.
Added cleanup utility.
1 month free trial.
Why Avoid
Could do better in the passive scan.
Could have more features for the price offered at.

AVG for Mac

Owned by Avast, AVG is a good and simple antivirus that has a free version. Let’s see how it coped with our tests, and whether the results were satisfying.

User Interface
AVG is a free program, but for such, it is cleverly focused on providing simple and easy to use interface:

Their program offers the three basic shields that are needed to protect a Mac and it has added them conveniently as easy access items. This allows for the user to quickly find theeir way around while using the program. However, the programs lacks settings and customization, which could repel advanced users.

Security and Privacy
During the tests, AVG showed us that its real-time protection is decent, catching threats almost immediately. But this was not enough to prevent the .ZIP file from extracting a lot of other undetected viruses directly on the Mac:

The passive scan of AVG managed to catch 11 out of 50 samples during the tests, which is not bad, but you cannot exactly call it satisfying.

Performance and Features
In terms of performance, AVG did relatively well for a program that is only 40 MB in size. It took 53% of the Mac’s CPU while deep scanning it and 127.6 MB of RAM. The scan time was impressive – just 25 minutes to do a full check up and clean up. For a Mac antivirus program that is $0 this is not bad at all.

The main drawback of AVG, however, is the lack of features it can offer to Mac users, which is not that surprising considering the software is free.
Technical Specs

Size: 40 MB
CPU: 53%
RAM: 127.6 MB
SCAN TIME: 00:25:03
Scan Results: 11 of 50
Real Time Protection Stars: 3.5
License Price: Free

Verdict
AVG is a decent free program that may be better than some paid antivirus products we tested. We would definitely recommend it if you just need a basic and simple antivirus protection.

Why Use
Easy to use User Interface.
Free version.
Fast full scan.
Why Avoid
Closing it is very difficult.
The uninstall was very annoying and time consuming.
No preferences or settings menu.

ESET Cyber Security Pro

ESET is a company that has long been a leader in the cybersecurity field and they have proven themselves over time. For Windows, they are probably in our top 3 best programs that you could have, featuring an extremely paranoid protection and very advanced threat database. However, when we tested it on Mac, ESET could have done better and its web protection could have refrained from blocking legitimate websites as scams.

User Interface
ESET Cyber Security Pro is very easy to be installed and once you add it as an app, its user interface greets you with an active dashboard, giving you feedback on all the shields. The simplicity of ESET’s interface continues with the easy access to the Tools and the settings. One very interesting design element which is beneficial is how easy you can learn cybersecurity from their software by using the “Cybersecurity Training” option of their side menu. When it comes to User Interface, ESET is truly a remarkable program.

Security and Privacy
The real-time protection of ESET Mac antivirus was on a decent level. Their software managed to block multiple threats during extraction from the Mac Malware.zip file. We only wish we could write the same for their passive scan when the threats were already extracted under ESET’s nose. The program managed to catch only 5 of the total 50 viruses and PUPs – surprising for software belonging to a company of such magnitude.

Furthermore, ESET Mac antivirus is also the type of program, created to cope with advanced threats, but when PUPs were involved, it did absolutely nothing.

Regarding privacy, ESET has several layers of protection and several different shields. These are able to identify web and e-mail privacy risk very well, but sometimes they do block legitimate websites. One of the sites blocked by the web protection of ESET was ours, likely because we are a site, focused on malware and cybersecurity. So, ESET Mac antivirus really needs to refine its blacklist of sites, since not all of them are scam or malware.

Performance and Features
In terms of performance, ESET takes about 37% of the CPU power of the infected machine. In the same time, it also took about 160 MB of RAM. The scan time of the program took more than 2 hours up until the point where we stopped counting.

The features of ESET Cyber Security pro are many. The access to the Settings and Tools opens up a lot of protection and customizing elements, which is very good if you are an advanced user. And it is good to see that ESET have enabled the “CyberSecurity Training” feature, which provides access to materials that can help educate people – something that we highly value.

Technical Specs

Size: 142,3 MB
CPU 37%
RAM: 160 MB
Scan Time: 2+ hours.
Real Time Protection Stars: 4.5
Scan Results: 5 of 50
Price: $39.99

Verdict
ESET Mac antivirus is a good program with almost excellent real-time protection and they have made in our top 10. However, low passive detection rate and the blocking of some legitimate sites did cost them couple of places down on our list.

Why Use
Excellent in coping with ran infections.
Why Avoid
Weak PUP protection.
Low passive scan detection.
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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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