Category Archives: PCMag.com Software Product Guide

PCMag.com Software Product Guide

The Best Mac Antivirus Protection of 2017



Even Macs Need Antivirus Protection

Did you ever think about the people who write viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other malicious software? Why do they do it? The answer is simple—for money. Trojans steal personal data to sell. Bot herders rent out their victims to spammers. Ransomware goes for the jugular; give us your money or your files are toast. More computers use Windows than macOS, but there’s no reason for these malware entrepreneurs to ignore the macOS market. There are even some attack types—phishing in particular—that are completely OS-independent. Like it or not, in this dangerous world you need antivirus protection on your Macs, not just on your Windows boxes.

As with Windows antivirus tools, the most common price is just under $40 per year for a single license. However, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac and Sophos Home (for Mac) are totally free for personal use. At the high end, you pay $99.99 per year for a three-license subscription to Intego Mac Internet Security X9.

Malware Protection Lab Certifications

When you go to select a new washer, refrigerator, or other appliance, chances are good you research it first. User reviews can be helpful, as long as you discard the very best and very worst of them. But actual test results performed by an independent lab give you more reliable information. Two large labs include macOS antivirus products in their testing, and every one of the products in this roundup received certification from at least one of them.

The researchers at AV-Test Institute report on four different tests whose results feed into product certification. Naturally, the first test involves detecting and eliminating macOS malware. Of the products in this roundup, scores range from 98.4 percent to 100 percent. Another test challenges the antivirus tools with lower-risk PUAs, or potentially unwanted applications. Most achieved the top score, over 99 percent, though a couple only rated over 95 percent. Most also earned the top score in a test using Windows malware (this test didn’t affect certification).

In the macOS malware test by AV-Comparatives, every tested product scored a perfect 100 percent. This lab, too, included a test using malware aimed at Windows. Yes, these samples can’t affect a computer running macOS, but they could conceivably escape to Windows machines on the network. Scores in the Windows malware test ranged from 28 percent to 100 percent, which is quite a range. Here, too, every tested product received certification.

Results in these tests have a much smaller point spread than in tests of Windows antivirus utilities. It’s good that every product received at least one certification for Mac protection, and even better that some received two certifications.

Hands-On Phishing Protection Testing

When I test malware protection on Windows, I use live malware inside an isolated virtual machine. I’ve coded a number of analysis tools over the years to help with this testing. Little of that testing regimen carries over to the Mac.

Phishing, however, isn’t platform-specific, as mentioned earlier, and neither is my antiphishing test. Phishing websites imitate secure sites, everything from banks and finance sites to gaming and dating sites. If you enter your credentials at the fake login page, you’ve given the phisher access to your account. And it doesn’t matter if you are browsing on a PC, a Mac, or an internet-aware refrigerator.

All but two of the products in this story include protection against malicious and fraudulent sites. With Intego, this just isn’t an included feature. The venerable SiteAdvisor component of McAfee AntiVirus Plus (for Mac) should provide protection against dangerous URLs, but it hasn’t worked since March, when an update to Safari disabled it. McAfee promises that the next edition, coming soon, will have SiteAdvisor working better than ever. I’ll test it when it’s available.

The wily malefactors who create phishing sites are in the business of deception, and they constantly change and update their techniques, hoping to evade detection. If one fraudulent site gets blacklisted or shut down by the authorities, they simply pop up with a new one. That being the case, I try to use the very newest phishing URLs for testing, scraping them from phishing-focused websites.

I launch each URL simultaneously in five browsers. One is Safari on the Mac, protected by the Mac antivirus that’s under test, and another is a browser protected by Norton on Windows. The other three use the protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Discarding any that don’t fit the phishing profile, and any that don’t load correctly in all five browsers, I report the product’s success as the difference between its detection rate and that of the other four test systems.

Very few products, Windows or macOS, can beat Norton in this test. Of the products in this roundup, only Bitdefender did better, though Kaspersky came close. It’s worth noting that, while phishing is platform-independent, phishing defense is not. Bitdefender’s Windows edition, tested at the same time, beat Norton by a greater margin, while Symantec Norton Security Deluxe (for Mac) scored significantly lower than its Windows cousin.

Ransomware Protection

The scourge of ransomware is on the rise. While ransomware attacks are more common on Windows devices, Macs have suffered as well. Of course, any antivirus utility should handle ransomware just as it handles spyware, Trojans, viruses, and other malware types. But since the consequences of missing a ransomware attack are so great, some security products add components with the sole purpose of preventing ransomware attacks.

I’ve observed a wide variety of ransomware protection techniques on Windows. These include blocking unauthorized access to user documents, detecting ransomware based on its activity, and recovering encrypted files from backup. Of the products listed here, only Bitdefender offers a ransomware-specific component. As with its Windows edition, the Safe Files feature prevents all unauthorized access to your documents. On a Mac, it also protects your Time Machine backups.

Spyware Protection

Any kind of malware problem is unpleasant, but spyware may be the most unnerving. Imagine some creeper secretly peeking at you through your Mac’s webcam! Other types of spying include logging keystrokes to capture your passwords, sending Trojans to steal your personal data, and watching your online activities to build a profile. As with ransomware protection, I’ve observed more features specifically devoted to spyware protection on Windows-based security products than on the Mac, but a few products in this collection do pay special attention to spyware.

Under Windows, Kaspersky’s Safe Money feature opens sensitive sites in a secure browser that’s hardened against outside interference. The Safe Money feature on the Mac doesn’t do that, but it does check URLs to make sure you’re on a legitimate secure site. Kaspersky offers an onscreen keyboard, so you can enter passwords with no chance of capture by a keylogger. Its webcam protection isn’t as configurable as it is on Windows, but you can use it to disable your Mac’s webcam whenever you’re not using it. It even includes the ability to block advertisers and others from tracking your online activities. If spyware is your bugaboo, you’ll like Kaspersky.

Bonus Features

Many antivirus tools on Windows pack in a ton of bonus features. That behavior seems less common on the macOS side. Even so, some vendors don’t have a standalone Mac antivirus, opting instead to offer a full security suite as the baseline level of protection, and a few others include suite-like bonus features in the basic antivirus.

A typical personal firewall component blocks attacks coming in from the internet and also manages network permissions for programs installed on your Mac. Intego, McAfee, and Norton each include a firewall component, while Kaspersky’s Network Protection comes close.

Parental control is another common suite component. With Sophos and Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, a content filter can block access to websites matching unwanted categories. Kaspersky goes beyond that, with content filtering, internet time scheduling, private data protection, and even social media contact control.

Protect Your Mac

All of the products covered in this roundup earned certification from at least one independent testing lab; some managed two certifications. There really are no bad choices as far as basic antivirus protection goes. Even so, a couple of products stood out. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac not only achieved certification from both labs, it earned the maximum score in every test. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac also earned high scores. It offers a full suite of Mac security tools, at the same price competitors charge for basic antivirus protection. These two are our Editors’ Choice winners for Mac antivirus protection.

Look over the reviews, pick the product that suits you best, and get your Mac protected. Once you’ve done that, you should also consider installing a Mac VPN. While antivirus protect you, your devices, and your data locally, a VPN extends that protection to your online activities, protecting both your security and your privacy.

Software Reviews | Computer Software Review

Bottom Line: Searchmetrics Essentials is a solid SEO platform that covers all of the basics when it comes to position and rank tracking, keyword research, and backlinks. While most of its premium features are reserved for enterprise tiers, Searchmetrics is a capable and worthwhile option for small business SEO needs.

Read Full Review

Wix Code Lets Newbies, Developers Build Web Apps



Database programming isn’t usually associated with consumer technology, though many of those consumers may not realize how much database functionality lurks beneath the apps and websites they use every day. But with its announcement of Wix Code today, Wix is attempting to break down the coder-consumer divide for its more than 110 million users.

Wix Code offers templates for data-driven websites, ideal for customers who need capabilities such as bookings and event registrations, which have traditionally been handled by professional web developers. According to Wix product manager Uval Blumenfeld, the new offering consists of five tools—Databases, Forms, Dynamic Pages, Managed JavaScript, and External APIs; the first three require no knowledge of coding.

For Wix users who think this sounds too intimidating, the new tools are completely optional, and won’t show up unless enabled. “We’ve added the Wix touch of making things accessible and democratizing the technology,” Blumenfeld tells PCMag.

The prefab database types are no more demanding that filling in a spreadsheet. Custom forms and user input controls are useful for collecting information from site viewers; a food site could have users submit recipes, for example. Data-driven Dynamic Pages sound like they’re for developers, but really it just means that your site pages are built on the fly depending on table entries. Maybe you have a college course page you designed in Wix, but you can get different pages for each course based on database entries.

The final two new features let true site developers use Wix to design sites and then go under the covers to add functionality via a fully managed JavaScript development environment and by calling external APIs to leverage web services and augment site behavior.

Wix is always pushing the envelope in the DIY site-building service arena. Previously, it came out with the impressive ADI—Artificial Design Intelligence—which powers a site-building option that creates a surprisingly good-looking web presence for you by pulling in existing online information based on contact info you enter. This new Code initiative goes in the other direction, giving site builders more detailed control and professional capabilities.

The service is still in beta, but now anyone can sign up and learn more at www.wix.com/code. Check out the video below for a demo.

[embedded content]

Software Reviews | Computer Software Review

Bottom Line: Searchmetrics Essentials is a solid SEO platform that covers all of the basics when it comes to position and rank tracking, keyword research, and backlinks. While most of its premium features are reserved for enterprise tiers, Searchmetrics is a capable and worthwhile option for small business SEO needs.

Read Full Review

Microsoft Office Users Are Getting AI, But May Not Know It



Over the past few years, Microsoft has quietly added a number of artificial intelligence (AI) features to Office 365 , but my guess is that most Office users either don’t know these features exist, or just take them for granted.

At last year’s Ignite conference, I saw a number of new AI features, and among these were notable new features for PowerPoint and Outlook. But this year, many of those features have deepened and a variety of new tools have been added, some announced at the recent Inspire conference and others announced just this week.

Kirk Gregersen, who heads the program management team within Office, explained that the team’s goal is to add “intelligence into the product in a way that users don’t have to understand to benefit from [it].” This involves using a lot of information the company has in the form of its “knowledge graph”—all of the information you store in documents and email, including what some companies have agreed to share with Microsoft—as well as taking advantage of both the cloud and the AI experience. “Without the move to the cloud, we couldn’t be doing what we are doing,” Gregersen said, explaining that many of these concepts have been around since the 1980s or 90s, but that they weren’t possible without all the data that is now in the cloud.

Gregersen said the product team now works deeply with Microsoft Research, led by executive vice president of Artificial Intelligence & Research Harry Shum, in a way that it couldn’t have in the past. Gregersen referred to these new AI features as “gifts from Harry’s org” and said they have enabled scenarios the product teams have envisioned for years.

Some of the new features are fairly obvious, such as the “focused” inbox in Outlook, while others are less noticeable. (Note again that not every user has all these features yet. I’ll recap the update policies at the end of this post.)

Word Tackles Writing Style

In recent months, Word has added a variety of new proofing tools. The spelling and grammar features have been significantly enhanced, and they have a notably different look.

Among the changes are suggestions that are based in part by contextual ranking, and a “read aloud” feature, which is designed to help those with visual impairments.

Most obvious is the new “gold squiggle,” which suggests style changes within your documents. Each new monthly release adds more of these features, which range from general style critiques to helping you make sure you use more inclusive language, such as identifying gender-specific terms or terms that have different geopolitical meanings. Many of these are turned off by default at present, so users may not be aware they exist. (These settings are listed under File, Options, Proofing, Writing Style as shown in the graphic below). They are interesting and potentially quite useful tools.

Gregersen said this represents a use of AI wherein it takes something that was solely rules-based and adds context awareness. In the future, he said, it will be easier to see how this could be used in LinkedIn resumes, as well as become more personalized, so you could have it ignore certain style issues.

PowerPoint Turns Text into Presentations

Many of the most interesting features involve PowerPoint. Last year, Microsoft demonstrated a new option called Designer, in which PowerPoint can take a variety of slides you have and show you alternatives for different designs based on your content.

In new versions, Designer has improved how it does image analysis in the background, and this helps it to recognize salient regions of a photo, for things like facial recognition (so it doesn’t crop out faces), or extracting color to help determine the color tone for the rest of a presentation. In addition, the company is tracking which designs people choose, and using a ranking algorithm similar to that used by the Bing search engine to propose the most appropriate choices.

My favorite new feature involves taking the text you type and automatically turning it into a visual, or typing a number of steps in a process and turning that into a visual process flow. This was unveiled last year (under the name “SmartArts”), and the company has been updating it over time.

Similarly, another new feature turns a bulleted list with dates into a timeline, and it’s quite cool. It’s long been possible to create such visuals in PowerPoint, but it was time consuming and required a bit of artistic sensibility. This feature makes it much easier.

In addition, last year PowerPoint added a feature called Quick Start, aimed mostly at students, which, if you type in a topic, creates a basic outline of a presentation for you, using information and images from the web that are available under the Creative Commons license. This feature, too, has been enhanced.

Perhaps the flashiest new feature, however, is the ability to translate a presentation into another language in real-time. Presentation Translator was first demonstrated in the

Michael J. Miller is chief information officer at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Miller, who was editor-in-chief of PC Magazine from 1991 to 2005, authors this blog for PCMag.com to share his thoughts on PC-related products. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are disclaimed. Miller works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.

Simvoly

You have a lot of choices when it comes to DIY website builders. Most tech-savvy people have heard of Squarespace and Wix, but the name Simvoly is probably not only unfamiliar, but also a bit hard to pronounce. Don’t let that deter you. Simvoly is a modern, capable, and user-friendly website builder that costs less than much of the competition. It offers a very friendly interface and good customization even within the strictures of responsive design.

Pricing and Starting Up

You can try Simvoly free without a credit card for 14 days, but there’s no permanent free account level like those offered by Duda, Weebly, and Wix. The entry-level pricing is for the Personal account level, which costs $9 per month, with a year prepaid. For that you get up to 20 pages, 5GB storage, 10GB bandwidth, two contributors, a free domain, analytics, support, and up to five store products. That compares with a $14 per month starting price for Squarespace and $10 per month for Wix.

Upgrading to the Business plan gets you unlimited storage, bandwidth, pages, and contributors, and up to 25 store products. The top E-Commerce level plan costs $22 per month and increases the store item limit to 100. Adding $10 more per month removes the item limit entirely. All plans boast zero-percent transaction fees. Squarespace and Wix don’t charge you either, but in all three cases you still have to pay a per-transaction fee to the payment-processing service. You can get started building a site using Simvoly without even creating an account until later in the process.

Building Your Site

You have two choices at the first step in your path to Simvoly site building: You can choose a template, as you would in nearly every other site builder, or you can choose Magic Website Wizard. I’ll discuss the non-magical tool first, then provide a section on Magic Website.

Simvoly’s Themes use responsive design for good presentation on mobile. They’re also modern and clean looking, and they’re categorized into nine groups, including Arts, Fashion, Personal Photography, Restaurant, Services, and Store. I’m sorry not to see a Music category, as that obviously has special needs, such as performance dates and audio streaming and downloads.

You can preview the responsively designed themes as they’d appear on PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. After you choose a theme, you next need to create an online Simvoly account. This only requires an email, username, and password. The builder page opens pre-populated with content you customize for your site’s needs. To help you do this, a wizard takes you through the basics of adding pages and widgets and modifying overall site settings.

Customization and Site Elements

Simvoly works just as I expect a modern site builder to work, letting you easily build and customize your pages with drag-and-drop functionality and mouse-over menus. As with Squarespace, you add content in blocks, which you access either from the left panel’s “+” menu or by clicking the on-hover Add Block “+” buttons. These include things like images, text areas, maps, web widgets, and even blank areas. Whenever your mouse hovers over a block, you see Edit, Move, and Delete buttons. If you click on text, you get all your text-formatting options. You can easily divide your site into up to five columns, each with adjustable width. You can undo your last action, but there isn’t a full multiple-undo capability like that in Duda. A Simvoly contact told me that a History feature is in the works, however.

Managing Pages

The top big button on the left-side toolbar lets you manage and add site pages. When you add a page, you can see and set its URL, choose a template (Home, Contact, About, Blank), password-protect the page, and even specify a custom header. One limitation is that you can’t drag and drop page entries around to change the navigation. You can set any page as the home page, but there’s no nesting pages under others from the Pages menu. You can do this from the Website Settings panel, though adding subpages is less straightforward than in Wix and some other competing services.

Working With Images

Like the better site builders, Simvoly maintains an online repository of photos you’ve uploaded, so that you can reuse them elsewhere on your site. You can upload multiple images at once and create subfolders for organizing them. One missing feature is the ability to use images from online services such as Flickr. You can apply slick animations like slide in, fade in, and zoom to images. You can also resize images (relative to other columns alongside them) on the page by dragging their left or right edges.

One feature that many users will probably want is completely missing, however. There isn’t any kind of photo editing. You can’t even rotate an image. Most services I’ve reviewed include an integrated online image editor such as Aviary. It’s fine to expect people to use installed photo software, but simple stuff like cropping and rotating should be included.

Gallery options include grids with text or carousels. You can add them either via drag-and-drop from the toolbar or from the “+” content button that appears when you hover over a content block. The latter offers more preset layout options. With either, you can change image padding and the number of images per row. There’s also a light-box check box, to let your site viewers see a full-window slideshow. This is just about everything most site builders could want.

Video is only via hosted links: Simvoly only hosts still images. Also, aside from some template’s sample photos, you don’t get a selection of stock photography like that offered by Wix, Duda, and other competitors.

Automatic Sites

Simvoly’s Magic Website Wizard is a beta tool that takes you through a few questions to generate a site automatically. You first choose a type such as Business, Personal, Photography, or Portfolio. More types are in development. After the main category selection, you enter a more specific site purpose. I first chose Business, and then, when entering the more specific type, suggestions dropped down. For example, I typed “cloth” and Sport Clothing and Apparel, Women’s Clothing, and Clothing and Apparel dropped down as suggestions.

Next you choose how you want the main navigation to look—with the menu across the top or along a side. The wizard proposes a design template, and then it’s time to log in. After this, you’re taken to the site builder interface described in the rest of this article. Magic Website can be a nice little timesaver, but it pales in comparison to Wix’s impressive AI-powered ADI system. With Wix, you simply input your business or personal info, and presto, you get a surprisingly well-designed site.

Site Settings and Options

On the Website Settings tab, you can choose whether you want your site to fill the full width of the browser or stay contained in a fixed box, for which you can choose a background color or image. You can also change the header site navigation menu, and upload a custom favicon, that tiny icon that appears in the browser tab.

Awkwardly, getting a custom domain, which is included with a subscription, requires contacting the Simvoly staff, rather than simply applying online. I also prefer builders to have me fill out a short form of the site or business details, such as name, address, phone number, and contact email. Not doing this is not a deal breaker, but it speeds up the building process. You can also hook up your Simvoly site to a domain you’ve previously registered with another website hosting service.

Selling on Your Site

Selling on Simvoly is easy and powerful. I’m impressed that the site builder lets you sell digital downloads without an account upgrade like some other services require. As with the blog, your Simvoly site by default includes a Store page, but you can delete it if you’re not selling anything. I did run into a couple script errors when editing product description text, but this was an isolated incident that I didn’t see again in later testing.

You can add product variations, enter sale prices, and keep track of inventory with Simvoly’s store engine. And, of course, you can upload an image for every product—multiple images if you like. Product pages come with basic sections that make sense, but you can add any kind of content block you want. You get a few choices of layout and styling. In addition to the full-page shopping cart, there’s a mini cart that can appear in the top right corner of the browser window.

The two best payment services—PayPal and Stripe—are integrated into the store. You can enter a bank account routing number so the lucre flows directly into your coffers. It’s also easy to set up shipping costs based on weight or price, but there’s no integration with Fedex, UPS, or USPS. Tax setup could use a little more work, too. As it is, you can add a tax based on the country, but that doesn’t help for the US, where each state has its own sales tax. Fortunately, you only have to collect tax on web sales in states where you have a physical presence, so small proprietors would normally just have to fill in one state’s sales tax rate.

Blogging

My clothing-site template came with a Blog page. You can only have one blog page per site, but you can add a blog block to any of your pages, using a content block. You get some attractive layout choices. Each post can have a large image to the left, and you can stack posts vertically, or use a trendy “masonry” layout that is offset like bricks in a wall, with or without a sidebar.

Posts should have a photo, quote, or video to bring the reader in, but text-only posts are allowed. The interface gently encourages you to spice up your post with media. You can save a post as a draft for later publishing, but you can’t schedule a time and date for automatic publication.

Posts must have tags, must fall into categories, and can have comments, which you can approve. Readers can enter their email address in a box on any of your blog pages to get email notifications about new posts.

Publishing

Before publishing your site, you can preview it by pressing a big button with an eye for an icon in the left rail. But the builder is so WYSIWYG that you may not even need to do this. When you do preview, you can see how the site looks on tablet and mobile screen sizes as well as desktop, however. One thing that Simvoly does that I’m not a fan of is to publish your site live as soon as you start working on it. I prefer the ability to preview and fine-tune before the site goes live. Even the ability to create an Under Construction page would be preferable.

Mobile Site Design

As with most site builders that use responsive page designs, Simvoly automatically spits out websites that look great in mobile browsers. My test site looked great on an iPhone, and it even included a hamburger menu for handheld operation, so it’s not just a simple site-squeezing, as Virb’s mobile sites are. Still, Simvoly doesn’t offer any customization of your mobile presentation, as Duda, , and Wix do. Sometimes you want to remove content that doesn’t work well on mobile screens.

Stats and SEO

Unlike many site builders that leave setting up traffic monitoring to you, Simvoly includes a decent set of site-visit stats on your Dashboard. You can see overall traffic by date range, top pages, and even what devices and browsers are being used to view your site. One thing you don’t get is a breakdown of user stats such as geographic location or repeat visits. You can hook up a Google Analytics account if you want that level of detail. There isn’t much at all in the way of SEO help, though. You can, however, set the meta title and meta description for each page in its Settings dialog.

Easy, Attractive DIY Websites

Simvoly is far from being a household name in the website-building arena, but it deserves your attention if you’re a non-technical person looking to establish an easy, attractive web presence. It offers responsive-design themes that look good on both desktop and mobile browsers, offers decent selling tools, and has built in site stats. As a fairly new offering, it still lacks a few niceties like photo editing, onsite domain registration, shipping integrations, and a gallery of third-party widgets, but there’s still a lot to like here. Simvoly is highly recommended, but for more mature, fully fledged options in the site-building space, check out Editors’ Choice web builders Duda and Wix.

Powered by WPeMatico

The Best Mac Antivirus Protection of 2017



Even Macs Need Antivirus Protection

Did you ever think about the people who write viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other malicious software? Why do they do it? The answer is simple—for money. Trojans steal personal data to sell. Bot herders rent out their victims to spammers. Ransomware goes for the jugular; give us your money or your files are toast. More computers use Windows than macOS, but there’s no reason for these malware entrepreneurs to ignore the macOS market. There are even some attack types—phishing in particular—that are completely OS-independent. Like it or not, in this dangerous world you need antivirus protection on your Macs, not just on your Windows boxes.

As with Windows antivirus tools, the most common price is just under $40 per year for a single license. However, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac and Sophos Home (for Mac) are totally free for personal use. At the high end, you pay $99.99 per year for a three-license subscription to Intego Mac Internet Security X9.

Malware Protection Lab Certifications

When you go to select a new washer, refrigerator, or other appliance, chances are good you research it first. User reviews can be helpful, as long as you discard the very best and very worst of them. But actual test results performed by an independent lab give you more reliable information. Two large labs include macOS antivirus products in their testing, and every one of the products in this roundup received certification from at least one of them.

The researchers at AV-Test Institute report on four different tests whose results feed into product certification. Naturally, the first test involves detecting and eliminating macOS malware. Of the products in this roundup, scores range from 98.4 percent to 100 percent. Another test challenges the antivirus tools with lower-risk PUAs, or potentially unwanted applications. Most achieved the top score, over 99 percent, though a couple only rated over 95 percent. Most also earned the top score in a test using Windows malware (this test didn’t affect certification).

In the macOS malware test by AV-Comparatives, every tested product scored a perfect 100 percent. This lab, too, included a test using malware aimed at Windows. Yes, these samples can’t affect a computer running macOS, but they could conceivably escape to Windows machines on the network. Scores in the Windows malware test ranged from 28 percent to 100 percent, which is quite a range. Here, too, every tested product received certification.

Results in these tests have a much smaller point spread than in tests of Windows antivirus utilities. It’s good that every product received at least one certification for Mac protection, and even better that some received two certifications.

Hands-On Phishing Protection Testing

When I test malware protection on Windows, I use live malware inside an isolated virtual machine. I’ve coded a number of analysis tools over the years to help with this testing. Little of that testing regimen carries over to the Mac.

Phishing, however, isn’t platform-specific, as mentioned earlier, and neither is my antiphishing test. Phishing websites imitate secure sites, everything from banks and finance sites to gaming and dating sites. If you enter your credentials at the fake login page, you’ve given the phisher access to your account. And it doesn’t matter if you are browsing on a PC, a Mac, or an internet-aware refrigerator.

All but two of the products in this story include protection against malicious and fraudulent sites. With Intego, this just isn’t an included feature. The venerable SiteAdvisor component of McAfee AntiVirus Plus (for Mac) should provide protection against dangerous URLs, but it hasn’t worked since March, when an update to Safari disabled it. McAfee promises that the next edition, coming soon, will have SiteAdvisor working better than ever. I’ll test it when it’s available.

The wily malefactors who create phishing sites are in the business of deception, and they constantly change and update their techniques, hoping to evade detection. If one fraudulent site gets blacklisted or shut down by the authorities, they simply pop up with a new one. That being the case, I try to use the very newest phishing URLs for testing, scraping them from phishing-focused websites.

I launch each URL simultaneously in five browsers. One is Safari on the Mac, protected by the Mac antivirus that’s under test, and another is a browser protected by Norton on Windows. The other three use the protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Discarding any that don’t fit the phishing profile, and any that don’t load correctly in all five browsers, I report the product’s success as the difference between its detection rate and that of the other four test systems.

Very few products, Windows or macOS, can beat Norton in this test. Of the products in this roundup, only Bitdefender did better, though Kaspersky came close. It’s worth noting that, while phishing is platform-independent, phishing defense is not. Bitdefender’s Windows edition, tested at the same time, beat Norton by a greater margin, while Symantec Norton Security Deluxe (for Mac) scored significantly lower than its Windows cousin.

Ransomware Protection

The scourge of ransomware is on the rise. While ransomware attacks are more common on Windows devices, Macs have suffered as well. Of course, any antivirus utility should handle ransomware just as it handles spyware, Trojans, viruses, and other malware types. But since the consequences of missing a ransomware attack are so great, some security products add components with the sole purpose of preventing ransomware attacks.

I’ve observed a wide variety of ransomware protection techniques on Windows. These include blocking unauthorized access to user documents, detecting ransomware based on its activity, and recovering encrypted files from backup. Of the products listed here, only Bitdefender offers a ransomware-specific component. As with its Windows edition, the Safe Files feature prevents all unauthorized access to your documents. On a Mac, it also protects your Time Machine backups.

Spyware Protection

Any kind of malware problem is unpleasant, but spyware may be the most unnerving. Imagine some creeper secretly peeking at you through your Mac’s webcam! Other types of spying include logging keystrokes to capture your passwords, sending Trojans to steal your personal data, and watching your online activities to build a profile. As with ransomware protection, I’ve observed more features specifically devoted to spyware protection on Windows-based security products than on the Mac, but a few products in this collection do pay special attention to spyware.

Under Windows, Kaspersky’s Safe Money feature opens sensitive sites in a secure browser that’s hardened against outside interference. The Safe Money feature on the Mac doesn’t do that, but it does check URLs to make sure you’re on a legitimate secure site. Kaspersky offers an onscreen keyboard, so you can enter passwords with no chance of capture by a keylogger. Its webcam protection isn’t as configurable as it is on Windows, but you can use it to disable your Mac’s webcam whenever you’re not using it. It even includes the ability to block advertisers and others from tracking your online activities. If spyware is your bugaboo, you’ll like Kaspersky.

Bonus Features

Many antivirus tools on Windows pack in a ton of bonus features. That behavior seems less common on the macOS side. Even so, some vendors don’t have a standalone Mac antivirus, opting instead to offer a full security suite as the baseline level of protection, and a few others include suite-like bonus features in the basic antivirus.

A typical personal firewall component blocks attacks coming in from the internet and also manages network permissions for programs installed on your Mac. Intego, McAfee, and Norton each include a firewall component, while Kaspersky’s Network Protection comes close.

Parental control is another common suite component. With Sophos and Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, a content filter can block access to websites matching unwanted categories. Kaspersky goes beyond that, with content filtering, internet time scheduling, private data protection, and even social media contact control.

Protect Your Mac

All of the products covered in this roundup earned certification from at least one independent testing lab; some managed two certifications. There really are no bad choices as far as basic antivirus protection goes. Even so, a couple of products stood out. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac not only achieved certification from both labs, it earned the maximum score in every test. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac also earned high scores. It offers a full suite of Mac security tools, at the same price competitors charge for basic antivirus protection. These two are our Editors’ Choice winners for Mac antivirus protection.

Look over the reviews, pick the product that suits you best, and get your Mac protected. Once you’ve done that, you should also consider installing a Mac VPN. While antivirus protect you, your devices, and your data locally, a VPN extends that protection to your online activities, protecting both your security and your privacy.