Avast Security (for Mac)
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Avast Free Antivirus Avast Free Antivirus is the protection software for your non-commercial purposes which do not need any registration or license to purchase. It is free and will always be. It gives you the basic level of security that is needed for a home user or non-commercial user. The main features of it, are mentioned below.
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View All 10 Photos in Gallery The product’s spacious main window features a large status indicator centered in an otherwise-empty white region, with a menu down the left side. It’s a very different appearance from Avast Free Antivirus on Windows, which uses pops of purple and green on a dark gray background. Like Sophos and Avira, Avast offers full antivirus protection for free. The Pro edition adds ransomware protection and real-time notification when new devices connect to your network. The free edition is strictly for non-commercial use; in a business setting, you must pay up.
Good Malware Protection Scores When reviewing a Windows antivirus utility , I report how it scored with four independent antivirus testing labs. The very best products earn top scores from all four labs. But even if no test results exist, I can run my own hands-on tests using real-world malware and malware-hosting URLs. It took years to develop my hands-on tools and tests for Windows. Most of them don’t carry over to the macOS platform.
Hence lab results become extremely important for my Mac antivirus reviews. They also evaluate each product’s ability to detect Windows malware. While a Trojan written for Windows wouldn’t run on a Mac, the Mac could serve as a carrier. Avast managed That’s very good—better than most. However, Bitdefender and Kaspersky exhibited percent protection. In the Windows malware test, Avast detected percent of the samples.
Most competing products also took percent. Like most tested products, Avast received certification from AV-Comparatives for Mac antivirus protection.
Having one certification is good; having two is better. Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Sophos are among the products that received certifications from both labs for Mac malware protection.
Scan Choices Avast offers several scans to improve your Mac’s security. The average for recent products is 24 minutes, so Avast proved quite speedy. Norton is the current speed champ, completing a full scan in 10 minutes. There’s a separate scan for removable volumes, though you can configure the full scan to include them.
I scanned a thumb drive containing my Windows malware collection and found that it quarantined 85 percent of them. For comparison, Avira detected 82 percent of these, while Sophos Home for Mac wiped out every single one. There’s no predefined quick scan, which makes sense given the speed of the full scan. The custom scan settings confused me, though. As with the full scan, you can add file locations to exclude from scanning, and configure it to scan Time Machine backups.
But the full scan’s settings include those options, and also let you include removable volumes and network volumes, while the custom scan’s settings do not. You can schedule a daily, weekly, or monthly scan if desired. Settings for a scheduled scan include two additional choices.
You can set it to skip scanning if your device is running on batteries, and you can have it wake from sleep if necessary, to perform its scheduled scan. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac not only offers scheduled scanning, it defaults to a weekly scan with no effort on your part.
Sophos skips scheduled scanning, relying instead on real-time protection. Network Security Scan The final scan choice doesn’t look for malware. Rather, it collects information about all the devices on your network and flags any security problems. On my own network, the scan finished in just under three minutes.
The scanner correctly reported that my main router has an open port that could theoretically become a point of attack. It’s true that the port is open, as my ISP uses it to run remote diagnostics when necessary.
But that function requires a key that only the ISP has. More interestingly, it found serious problems with a network storage device fortunately, one that I’m not currently using.
Not only does this device have numerous open ports, it’s vulnerable to a buffer overrun attack. Avast advised updating the firmware; I just unplugged it.
The report also serves as a list of everything that’s connected to your network, identifying each by name and type. It’s similar to the output of Bitdefender Home Scanner. With both products, I found devices with names like unknownb—not much help!
Bitdefender includes an option to edit the name and type, and it remembers your edits in subsequent scans. I’d like to see that ability in Avast. Excellent Phishing Protection in Chrome and Firefox In the Windows realm, one thing that differentiates Avast’s premium product is better protection against phishing sites, those fraudulent sites that imitate secure sites and try to steal your login credentials.
The free Windows edition scored very poorly, while the premium edition did an extremely good job. Based on initial round of testing, the Mac product’s phishing protection, both free and Pro, seemed to match that of the free Windows product, meaning it’s not very good.
I learned later that Avast’s phishing protection is not fully functional in Safari. The developers are working on making it completely browser-independent. In the meantime, they advise using Chrome or Firefox.
Norton was also having problems during my original test, so I tossed those results and started fresh. My phishing protection test uses URLs reported as fraudulent, but not yet verified. Typically, these are only a few hours old. That’s important, because phishing sites are ephemeral. Once they’ve been identified and blacklisted, the fraudsters just create new ones. I also launch each in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, relying on the browser’s built-in protection.
If any of the five browsers throw an error message, I discard the URL. A true phishing fraud masquerades as a secure site and tries to capture your login credentials.
Any URL that doesn’t match that profile also gets junked. I’ve written a Windows-based tool that handles launching URLs and capturing results. When I have enough data, I dump the five reports into Excel for comparison. The malefactors that perpetrate these phishing frauds are clever.
They’re always devising new techniques to get past security software. That being the case, I report results not as hard figures but as the difference between the product under test and the others. Tested using Safari’s incomplete phishing protection, Avast’s detection rate lagged Norton’s by 32 percent, and Norton itself was having a bad day. All three browsers soundly drubbed Avast.
When I retested using Chrome, Avast tied with Norton and beat the detection rates of the three browsers. That’s impressive. Of the Mac security products I’ve tested, only Bitdefender did better, beating Norton by 5 percentage points.
While phishing is browser-agnostic, phishing protection is not. Bitdefender beat Norton by 5 percentage points, but its Windows cousin more than doubled that gap. You can click to vote a page up or down. Clicking the Online Safety toolbar button displays the status for the current page. It also lists all the elements on the site that can track your online activity, including analytics, social media, ad trackers, and more.
By default, it doesn’t do anything, but you’re free to block any tracker or category. Digging into the settings for Online Safety reveals a hidden gem: If you mistype a site name, this feature offers to change to the correct name.
You can even set it to automatically make the fix, with no prompt. However, in testing, I couldn’t tease it into action. I tried pyapal. Where the Windows product invites you to install on Android, the Mac one suggests adding password management to your iPhone.
On Windows, the password manager is integrated with the antivirus; under macOS, it’s a separate app. There’s no limit on the number of devices, and you can sync your passwords between them all, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Avast doesn’t keep your passwords in the cloud. Rather, it uses your Avast account to authorize syncing data that’s stored locally on your devices. Once you’ve enabled syncing on a device, that device becomes an authenticator for adding more devices.
The new device displays a numeric code, and the existing device gets a notification with the same code. If the numbers match, just click to approve. What if you lose all your devices? On installation, Avast sends an email with a recovery link; don’t lose that email! On each of your devices, you create a master password to protect the local password stash. The master passwords need not be the same, but who’d want the confusion of making them different?
Avast offers advice on creating a strong password, with a color-coded line representing the strength of what you’ve typed.
View All 10 Photos in Gallery The product’s spacious main window features a large status indicator centered in an otherwise-empty white region, with a menu down the left side. It’s a very different appearance from Avast Free Antivirus on Windows, which uses pops of purple and green on a dark gray background. Like Sophos and Avira, Avast offers full antivirus protection for free. The Pro edition adds ransomware protection and real-time notification when new devices connect to your network. The free edition is strictly for non-commercial use; in a business setting, you must pay up. Good Malware Protection Scores When reviewing a Windows antivirus utility , I report how it scored with four independent antivirus testing labs. The very best products earn top scores from all four labs.
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