The need for antivirus protection has been evident since the very beginning of Windows. As for the Mac, one of Apple’s early promises was that Macs are safe: Unlike Windows devices, they don’t catch viruses. Over time, as malware and even ransomware attacks took aim at macOS, it became clear that the myth of Mac invulnerability was just that—a myth. Security companies stepped up, adding protection for Macs to their product lines. A few companies arose with a Mac-only focus, but most of the Mac antivirus products you’ll find come from companies with a big presence in the more-lucrative Windows antivirus market, companies like Kaspersky and Norton.
We’ve identified Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac and Norton 360 Deluxe (for Mac) as Editors’ Choice products in the realm of antivirus protection for macOS. Both go significantly beyond simple antivirus protection. But which offers the best protection for your Mac? To figure that out, we’ve matched them up, head-to-head, comparing just how they rate in the main tasks of malware defense.
Antivirus and firewall protection form the core of most security suites, and it’s not uncommon for high-end antivirus utilities to include a firewall as a bonus. Norton 360 is a suite, one that you can use on macOS, Windows, Android, or iOS, and its macOS edition includes a full-scale firewall.
The Norton firewall fends off port scans and other web-based attacks. It also protects against exploits attacking vulnerabilities in the operating system. And its DeepSight feature prevents any connection with known attack websites.
On Windows, Norton’s firewall defines network permissions for known good programs. Known bad programs have already gotten the boot, but there may be some unknowns in the mix. For those, Norton monitors network activity for signs of misuse and smacks down misbehaving programs. Norton’s macOS firewall isn’t as elaborate, but it does include the ability to manage how programs access the network. Program control is disabled by default, however.
Kaspersky doesn’t offer a macOS firewall, but its Network Attack Blocker handles some common firewall tasks. Specifically, it watches for port scans and…