Computer viruses are on the Mac a much less of a threat than for Windows users. For some application areas antivirus software but still useful. We present current solutions.
After the purchase of their first Mac longtime Windows users often ask if they want to install an antivirus program. Finally, on the PC it is considered extremely negligent not to use protection against malware. Under convinced Mac fans antivirus programs, however, are almost frowned upon.
Malware is rare, thanks to built-in security features such as gatekeepers and sandbox OS X is also protected without antivirus well against malware. To keep the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology antivirus for Macs to be unnecessary.
And yet, programs such as the recently unveiled Intego VirusBarrier X8, Kaspersky Antivirus and Avira for some Mac users have their place. Home users can usually do without an antivirus program, but in case of companies and public facilities, a higher degree of danger. Some companies and universities antivirus software for Macs duty – often for legal reasons and to be prepared for new threats.
The detection performance of Avast is good, but is also high system load.
An Anti-virus software programs for the Mac, there is no shortage. With Avira, Avast and Sophos there are good free packages for an annual fee programs such as Kaspersky Antivirus, F-Secure, VirusBarrier and Norton AntiVirus are to be had. In Apple’s App Store, there are special anti-virus software, these tools are limited, however, quite functional.
Other antivirus solutions are available from Dr. Web, Eset, Panda, McAfee and eScan As an open source ClamXav is available for corporate users, there is a Trend Micro ClamXav is one of the most popular Mac-virus scanner, virus detection, however moderate. The show’s own tests and exams of other publications. You could even say there is more anti-virus solutions for the Mac as Mac dangerous viruses, for reasons of space, we restrict ourselves in our article on the most common solutions.
Low risk of Mac viruses
There are a few dozen Mac viruses of them, however, is only a small risk. Instead of the colloquial term “virus way, one should speak better of malware (malicious software), since real viruses (which are approximately even spread) account for only a small part of the so-called malware. So malware can consist of a simple script that pretends to be a free version of Photoshop, but in fact deletes data.
62 Mac pests knows about Norton AntiVirus, however, including several just under OS 9 running. Are compatible with OS X from the 62 pests least forty – these just applies the malware Flashback dangerous. This malware discovered in early 2012 took advantage of a known vulnerability of old versions of Java to install malicious software on the Mac.
Scanner from the Mac App Store
There are in Apple’s App Store some virus scanners, good scanning services achieve Kaspersky Virus Scanner, VirusBarrier Plus and the free Bitdefender, the app iAntivirus Norton, however, is to be regarded with caution.
To be offered in Apple Store, the apps have to give up some features. Automatic Updates, important for a virus scanner is prohibited. Symantec provides iAntivirus probably why no update function. As new versions of this new virus signatures.
An anti-virus scanner must for protection against new threats but have current virus definitions. Share this app therefore we can not. But the other apps have flaws. With Kaspersky, VirusBarrier Plus Bitdefender and you have to update the virus signatures before a scan usually only once.
In BitDefender and Kaspersky, this is a time consuming process that can sometimes take ten minutes. You can circumvent this if you can start automatically at every system startup apps.
A single file has since tested significantly faster with a Web service as VirusTotal. Scheduled scans are also only with VirusBarrier Plus possible, you can make about the download folder, check regularly. Another plus point of this app are small update files, updating the definitions only takes a few seconds. A guard program but has none of the apps to offer.
Security risks are not only on the malware alone. Jeopardizes the Mac is mainly due vulnerabilities erroneous programs. The most recent major attacks on Macs were made possible by a bug in third-party software such as Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash or Java – Error looking for malware authors targeted and exploited.
Since with modern websites can hardly do without Flash, a browser with so-called sandbox technology, such as Safari or Google Chrome is recommended. Especially safe is Google Chrome, because the software uses a proprietary Flash plug-in – without the fault of the Adobe plug-ins.
Against snooping of user data, a virus scanner is also of limited help. Theoretically, an anti-virus software detect installed spyware that will spy on sensitive business information or bank account numbers. In practice, however, these so-called phishers proceed differently.
You use websites or e-mails that lure visitors to enter sensitive data. Against interception of user data by authorities is also largely powerless – unless one uses cryptographic techniques for example, to encrypt their messages (how on OS X and iOS, we have summarized in a series> To the article) or specific files in To create a file-safe (eg TrueCrypt)
The search for Windows viruses
Probably the most important reason for using a virus scanner on the Mac is the high risk to the Windows platform. In a mixed network of Macs and PCs malware could be transferred from a Mac to a PC or a Mac user unknowingly sends a malware file to a PC user.
To protect the PC counterparts, a Mac user but takes many disadvantages. One problem is the performance in order to ensure real-time protection against malware checks full-fledged antivirus scanner or a background antivirus monitor every file access. Must guard this program are only looking for Mac viruses, it takes into account only a few virus definitions, so-called signatures. This requires only a low system load.
However, all known Windows viruses are reliably detected, the tool needs to query a catalog of several thousand pests. A Mac is therefore strongly slowed down by some scanners, it can slow file copying or opening a program by the background scanner. This handle various virus scanners on the Mac so that they are only looking to date malicious Windows viruses.
We will check this with a non-representative sample of Mac and Windows viruses. Consistent results in the detection of Windows viruses achieved in this respect Norton Anti Virus and Sophos, especially F-Secure falls through very bad virus detection on. Mac viruses are, however, quite reliably detected by all scanners. Only F-Secure fails in our test on older Mac viruses were recognized, no macro viruses. The best recognition of Mac and PC viruses prove in our sample, Avira, Kaspersky and Avast.
Anti-virus scanner with good computer virus detection brakes on a Mac often much stronger than weak, what stands out particularly in Avast. As a test, we duplicate with active background scanner a folder with thousands of files. The examination of these individual files can a virus scanner rack, this is particularly evident in Avast. Without antivirus our test copying takes six minutes at Avast, the duration of the copy operation to nearly 11 minutes, the longest delay in the test field extended.
Avira difference is hardly measurable. Kaspersky is with the other scanners in midfield, but the manufacturer promises better results in daily practice: To reduce the system load, the current verion only new files. If the scanner has been re-examined all the data, they will not be re-examined. Even with new Macs with fast SSD storage, the loss of performance is significantly lower.
A weak recognition performance of Windows viruses makes the virus scanner superfluous if the main task is trouble-free data exchange with Windows users. The manufacturers of anti-virus software are, moreover, often disagree on whether some system tools are classified as malware or not. So we have already seen that a tested on the Mac with the weak Sophos virus scanner data CD containing programs which the panelist Kaspersky virus scanner at the receiver as malware.
A major disadvantage of the programs with background scanner is also the deep engagement in the system, which has repeatedly problems in recent years. An earlier version of Sophos caused kernel panics during the scan Boot Camp volumes, an old edition of Kaspersky prevented the elimination of a Mac and problems using a Time Capsule seems all virus scanners perform with guards. Cause of the problem is often the virus monitor. In each of the virus scanner, you can easily disable the guard, however, such as when you want to scan only files prior to shipment or publication.
Additional functions in the package
The search for viruses in many software packages only one of several functions. To ensure optimum safety, the more expensive packages include more security programs such as firewall, parental control or other functions. So you can buy the antivirus software Virus Barrier in the form of four different packages.
The version of Avast, we find quite annoying in the long run, as with any new website a little traffic light symbol will appear on the page – at unsuspecting pages a green, yellow or red in case of suspicious signal.
Officially, Apple holds anti-virus software is unnecessary, for the protection of Mac malware is Apple on several safety functions of the Mac OS.
In comparison to OS X 10.6 and earlier version current system versions are much safer. An important function of the system is Xprotect that works like a mini-antivirus scanner. Each download is checked by the system, whether it is known as malware programs.
The regularly updated list of several dozen pests, status and the list of malware currently contained lists about the freeware myXprotectStatus on. However, the test is limited to downloads by mail or browser, you download the malware from a USB flash drive or a CD is not performed an audit.
Gatekeeper should also protect against malware. This safety function checked before each first launch of a tool, whether it comes from the App Store and comes from a registered Apple developers.
You can choose whether you can only install programs from the Mac App Store or programs by Verified developers to the default security. However, there are still many interesting programs that do not originate from the App Store.
Not able to prevent Apple’s security system further distribution of the pest flashback of exploiting a vulnerability of the Java environment. Therefore is released by Apple Security Update (2013-001) contained a special tool that Mac searched for the malware and removes the discovery process.
This protection is but not really a selling point. With WOT there is a free alternative that also checks web pages. In addition, Safari and Google Chrome use already own malware threat databases to protect surfers against suspicious sites. More security guarantees Avast, which checks the Internet directly, and so may prevent the download of a malware same. Mail compounds monitored Avast just what Norton and Kaspersky also dominate. Automatically check this data is already downloading a file, or on receipt of an e-mail if it is malware.
Norton Internet Security offers an antivirus additional features such as a firewall.
Interestingly when entering sensitive data is a virtual keyboard that Kaspersky integrated in Safari, Firefox and Chrome. One can thus prevent a keylogger (a malicious program, read the keystrokes and passwords can thus record) to enter a credit card number mitschneidet. However, Keylogger on Mac very rare.
The solutions Norton AntiVirus and Intego Internet Security can be had as a package with a firewall. While a virus scanner can check a file after it has been transferred to the Mac, a firewall protects your Mac against access from the network. Unusual: A firewall is actually already installed on OS X, so it makes F-Secure easy here. If you activate at F-Secure firewall function, the program simply turns on the OS X firewall!
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is equipped with the new version improved child protection function. Surfing, chatting and file downloads can regulate parents, prohibit access to certain sites and limit the time of use. Intego also provides protection software for children, Symantec Norton Family with access control in the program.