Best Mac Antivirus?

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Best Mac Antivirus?

Post by jeanpierremelville » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:28 pm

Hi Bogleheads,

I have two mac devices I would like to protect. We have Mac OS High Sierra on both. Reasonably healthy password habits.

I have read online about several programs:

Norton for Mac, TrendMicro, Bitdfender and Kaspersky. All appear fairly similar in capability and reviews. Also, have read about something new called "Clam XAV".

Does anyone have a particular favorite or suggestion among the ones I listed? Thanks.


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Re: Best Mac Antivirus?

Post by Calygos » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:30 pm

Webroot is good and was even recommended by one of the security experts at my company. You can even get it for free if you have an Ally account.

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Re: Best Mac Antivirus?

Post by jpohio » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:42 pm

Also have two Macs, I use Bitdefender on both, so far no issues

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Re: Best Mac Antivirus?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:51 pm

ClamXAV is not new, it's been around for at least ten years. It used to be freeware but the developer eventually started charging for it.

Kaspersky has been banned for use in the U.S. government. It's not clear to me at this point whether it is a problem for routine use by ordinary people or not.

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Re: Best Mac Antivirus?

Post by stickman731 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:16 pm

I use Avast Security for Mac. It is free.

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Re: Best Mac Antivirus?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:18 pm

I use the no-cost versions of Malwarebytes and Avast. I like Malwarebytes because whatever it does, it does quickly.

Both of them are fairly assertive about nagging me to upgrade to the paid version, but I don't, not because I'm a cheapskate, but because I don't want the added features of the paid versions.

I have felt for many years that manual scan is the way to go. The antivirus programs all want you to install things that e.g. autoscan new downloads, emails, USB stick insertions, etc. automatically. In the past I have found that all of the automatic features are too deep in the OS and too apt to cause problems sooner or later, e.g. when the OS is updated. They are also a frequent cause of computer slowdown. So my feeling is that the automatic scans and download shields and so forth are actually misfeatures. It hasn't happened to me on a Mac, but I once really messed up a Windows machine simply by trying to uninstall Symantec Antivirus; it really didn't want to be uninstalled, it left globs of itself in place, and they conflicted with Microsoft's own no-cost antimalware software.

I try to use "good hygiene" (e.g. not opening any more ports on my router or in the Mac OS firewall than I need to open). I do install software that isn't from the Apple store, meaning I need to disable the security the first time I open the newly-installed app. I usually take the time to do a "scan-this-single-file with Avast" right after downloading, and when anything weird happens I will at least stop long enough to run Malwarebytes.

An important point. Old viruses keep circulating, and statistically you are much more likely to get hit by an old one than a new one. So the important thing is to run some kind of antivirus and not to fuss too much about the competitive qualities of the programs.

I don't know if these are the best, nor do I know how well protected I am. I think the most important thing about virus scans is to use them. So far, in fifteen years, I've yet to have an antivirus program report a live virus, although it frequently finds viruses in spam email attachments, which is kind of scary.

Trivia point. One John Norstad is both the author of some interesting essays, often mentioned in this forum, on some investing topics, notably "the myth of time diversification" and the virtues of cap-weighted index funds, and also the author of a Mac antivirus program called "Disinfectant." It may have been the very first Mac antivirus program and many old-time Mac users feel a warm glow of gratitude for it. He stopped supporting it long ago (before Mac OSX), but it was once quite famous.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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