The Mac OS is the new Windows, apparently, as cybercriminals begin to hone in on the once secure operating system.
Now, this isn’t to say Macs are completely under attack—I run antivirus software on my Mac and I’ve only found one virus (which only would have affected a Windows machine)—I have, however, come across several viruses meant to infect Macs, but was able to avoid them because I knew what they were.
The point here is it can’t hurt to start paying attention to security, and Macs are now on the list of targets for cybercriminals. Below are the top 10 antivirus applications for the Mac, including some that are free to download and use.
Digital security company Sophos has a great antivirus application for the Mac that’s completely free. The application is light, taking up very little in terms of system resources; but also has the virus library of SophosLabs to pull from; enabling it to detect and remove a broad, and regularly updated list of viruses, trojans, and worms. It is a small, simple application that will scan quietly in the background, and users can also run custom, in-depth scans whenever they’d like. You can download it here.
VirusBarrier X6 from Intego is a powerful, feature-rich antivirus program for the Mac. In addition to detecting viruses, worms, and trojans, it is also has a built-in two-way firewall, intrusion monitoring tools, and other features. For anyone not already running a firewall on their Mac (which is highly recommended—I use Little Snitch), the addition of firewall in VirusBarrier X6 is really valuable. The application is based on an accurate concept that “Focusing on malware or network attacks alone is no longer sufficient to protect Macs from the dangers of the Internet.” VirusBarrier X6 is a paid application, however, with a two Mac package running for $45.95. You can buy it here.
PC Tools iAntiVirus is a great application, designed with an antivirus database designed specifically to detect and remove Mac-specific threats. PC Tools offers a free and paid version, with the free version having everything except 24 hour support. The paid version is for commercial use, and even then runs with a low price tag at just $29.95. It will automatically quarantine discovered infections once found, and the application is also light—able to run in the background with little impact on performance. PC Tools also has a robust virus library, with their PC antivirus software being some of the best on the market when it comes to detecting evolving threats. Download it free here.
ClamXav is another free anti-virus program for the Mac. It uses the ClamAV open source anti-virus engine. ClamXav will scan new files as they come in, and will watch for viruses on a user’s hard drive. The application has all the basic functions of a good antivirus application, with the ability to scan set locations, schedule scans, and quarantine or trash viruses. All around, it is a light application with a simple and easy-to-use interface. Download it free here.
Avast! has a robust virus library and is one of the best antivirus applications on the PC (I used to run their free version on my PC). Avast! antivirus Mac Edition pulls from this library, with some helpful features including e-mail protection that scans mail for viruses. Avast! claims the software designed for desktops is on-par with server antivirus software. This is a solid application, featuring the ICSA Certified scan engine of other avast! antivirus software, specializing in taking out viruses, trojans, spyware, and other threats. It is, however, on a paid subscription model, with one year of protection going for $39.95. Get it here.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac includes some strong features and has good ratings online. With the power of Kaspersky Lab behind it, the application is able to guard against the more than 30,000 new Web threats that appear each day. It uses a cloud-based system to keep an eye on infected applications and warns users of suspicious or malicious websites. It is also able to scan files, downloads, and email attachments for viruses. It has a paid subscription model, with 12 months of protection going for $39.95. You can get it here.
With McAfee behind it, McAfee VirusScan for Mac is a reliable and application able to scan for a broad range of viruses and malware. Most notably, it will scan for viruses each time a user opens a file, and users can check files for viruses by dragging and dropping them. It also has a library capable of detecting viruses meant to hit Mac, PC, and Unix machines. It sells with a minimum of three licenses going for $109.65. You can get it here.
F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac 2011 has all the regular antivirus features, with protection against viruses, spyware, and infected email attachments, but with the addition of one thing: a panic button that can instantly block all traffic to a user’s Mac. It also activates the built-in Mac firewall, which comes turned off by default. F-Secure also claims to be one of the leading antivirus companies when it comes to detecting new virus outbreaks. F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac 2011 uses a paid subscription-based model with 12 months of protection going for $39.99. You can get it here.
Norton AntiVirus 11 for Mac comes with the power of Norton’s antivirus library behind it. It will automatically detect and remove viruses for users, so they won’t need to pay much attention to it. it also guards against software vulnerabilities. Norton is one of the more trusted brands on the market, and its antivirus software is the best selling antivirus application on the Mac, the company claims. Norton uses a paid subscription model, with 12 months going for $49.95. You can get it here.
10) BitDefender Antivirus 2011 for Mac
BitDefender Antivirus 2011 for Mac comes with a good collection of features, including the ability to help fight identity theft by closing websites trying to steal a user’s personal data. It checks for and eliminates viruses targeting machines running Mac OS or Windows, offers free technical support, and comes with the basic features found in other applications. BitDefender Antivirus 2011 for Mac is available on a paid subscription of 12 months for $39.95. You can get it here.
In addition to the above, I figured I’d include a few others that could prove useful.
Panda Antivirus for Mac
If you need an antivirus program for your iPhone or iPad, Panda Antivirus for Mac is a good place to start. Panda offers some cool features to help entice users, including protection for chat and email, and extended protection for a user’s iPhone, iPod, and iPad. It has a long list of malware it can detect, including viruses, worms, phishing attacks, and keyloggers. It sells with a subscription model, with 12 months of protection going for $49.99. You can get it here.
MacScan is not so much an antivirus application as at is an anti spyware and tracking application. It has a few interesting features, including the ability to remove blacklisted tracking cookies without having to clear data from a Web browser. It includes tools to remove more than 10,000 known adware and malware cookies. It also has the basic spyware detection and removal features found in other applications. MacScan sells for $29.99. You can get it here.