Mac security software gets put to the test

Not so long ago most Mac users would have told you that their systems didn't need any form of protection as they were inherently safe. But the world has become a more dangerous place and last year the iWorm malware is thought to have recruited some 18,000 Macs into a botnet.

Whilst experienced users who are careful about what they install and where they go online may still be justified in feeling safe using a Mac without additional protection, there's no doubt that non-experts need extra security. Particularly as cyber criminals have started to target Macs because they know more of them are unprotected.

Independent testing company AV-Comparatives has been testing 10 Mac security products to assess their usability and malware protection abilities.

The products tested are a mixture of free and paid programs: Avast Free Mac Security, AVG AntiVirus for Mac, AVIRA Free Antivirus for Mac, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, ESET Cyber Security Pro, F-Secure SAFE for Mac, Intego Mac Premium Bundle X8, Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac, Kromtech MacKeeper, and Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac.

All were tested on OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite, against 105 samples of recent Mac malware. Compared to its Windows equivalent a Mac security product only has to identify a relatively small number of samples, but it needs to to protect the system against all threats that have not yet been blocked by OS X itself. Of those tested seven achieved 100 per cent detection, two (Avira and BitDefender) 99 per cent and one (Kromtech) 98 per cent.

All were assessed as having good interface usability though Kromtech comes in for criticism that its initial analysis can prove misleading and delivers different results depending on whether it's run from an administrator or standard account.

For a more detailed analysis of each product you can download the full report from the AV-Comparatives website.

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