Avast Free Antivirus For Mac 2018


Feb 01, 2016  avast! Free Antivirus 10.0.2208.712 can be downloaded from our software library for free. This free program is an intellectual property of AVAST Software a.s. The most frequent installation filenames for the software include: AvastUI.exe, ashQuick.exe, avastinternetsecuritysetuponline.exe, fpplpfsinstaller-1.exe and sched.exe etc. Dec 12, 2019  Avast Premium Security (for Mac) adds ransomware protection and Wi-Fi intruder detection to the features found in Avast's free antivirus, but.

Avast Free Antivirus has the best assortment of extra goodies of any free antivirus program, including an unlimited password manager, a hardened browser, a gaming mode, a Wi-Fi network scanner.



Editor Rating: Fair (2.5)
  • Pros

    • Certified by one antivirus testing lab.
    • Good detection of Windows malware.
    • Clear, simple user interface.
    • Free.
  • Cons

    • Very poor score in hands-on phishing protection test.
    • Lacks scheduled scanning, website rating, and other features found in competing free apps.
  • Bottom Line

    The free AVG AntiVirus protects against Mac, Windows, and mobile malware, but that's about all, and its antiphishing component tanked in our hands-on testing.

'Ok, ok,' you say, 'you've convinced me. I'll install an antivirus app on my Mac. But I'll be goldarned if I'm gonna pay for it!' That's actually quite a reasonable attitude. Sure, you get more and better protection from the best commercial products, but while Mac-centered malware totally exists, it doesn't come close to the wild and woolly jungle of Windows malware. AVG AntiVirus for Mac is one of several totally free antivirus solutions to protect your Macs. It takes care of basic antivirus protection, but its protection against malicious and fraudulent URLs currently leaves much to be desired.

Since Avast's acquisition of AVG a couple years ago, this product and Avast Security (for Mac) are now, if not siblings, at least cousins. On the PC side, the two free antivirus products are extremely similar under the hood, and my company contacts assure me that the same is true of the Mac products. Note, though, that Avast offers Mac users a lot more than AVG does. In addition to basic antivirus protection, it includes site rating, active Do Not Track functionality, a network security scanner, and even a basic password manager.

SEE ALSO: The Best Free Antivirus Protection for 2020

AVG's main window is spacious and simple. A large dark grey expanse holds three icons penned in by a darker rectangle: Mac Shield, Web Shield, and Email Shield. Mac Shield refers to real-time protection, scanning new files as they arrive. Web Shield works to divert your browsing away from malicious or fraudulent pages. The third icon, Email Shield, will eventually scan incoming email attachments for malware, but the feature is not yet ready. Don't worry; the moment you attempt to save or launch an attachment, the Mac Shield scans it.

You can use the Scan Mac button at center bottom to launch various types of antivirus scans. Links to view quarantined items and log in to your AVG account round out the window. Choosing File Preferences from the menu lets you tweak a few minor settings. For most users the defaults are fine, with one exception. Like Avast, AVG can scan your Time Machine backups for malware. Out of the box, this feature is disabled; turning it on seems like a good idea.

Pricing and OS Support

Like Sophos and McAfee, AVG requires macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher. Avira and Norton want 10.11 (El Capitan) or higher. If you're a prudent user who always accepts operating system upgrades, this shouldn't be a problem. However, if for some reason you're stuck using an old macOS version, consider ClamXAV, ProtectWorks, or ESET Cyber Security (for Mac). These three can handle versions all the way back to 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

As noted, AVG is completely free. Sophos Home Free (for Mac), Avast, and Avira are among the other vendors offering free antivirus for macOS. However, like Avast, AVG is only free for noncommercial use. If you want to use AVG in a business setting, you must pony up for the business edition.

Commercial Mac antivirus pricing centers on just under $40 per year for a single license. Half of the current products fit that model, and most of those give you three licenses for $59.99 per year. With McAfee, that $59.99 subscription price gets you unlimited licenses, not just three. You can install McAfee AntiVirus Plus (for Mac) on all the macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS devices in your household.

Good Malware Protection Scores

When reviewing Windows antivirus utilities, I look at test results from four independent labs, and I also perform my own hand-on testing with live malware. That's not as dangerous as it sounds. I use virtual machines, so if malware wreaks havoc, I just revert to an earlier snapshot. I don't perform that level of testing on macOS, so results from the two labs that test Mac antivirus become very important.

As I mentioned, Avast now owns AVG, so I wasn't surprised to see that the two earned precisely the same scores from AV-Comparatives. Both protected against 99.90 percent of the lab's Mac malware samples, detected 100 percent of the Windows malware samples, and earned this lab's certification.

AV-Test Institute also included Avast in its latest report, but not AVG. Avast detected all the Mac malware and PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) and most of the Windows malware. We can hope that AVG would have scored the same, but the labs are very clear: results apply only to the precise product tested.

Bitdefender and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac are the big winners, as far as lab results go. They received certification from both labs, earning 100 percent protection against Mac malware in both cases.

Scan Choices

If you just click the big Scan Mac button, AVG scans the most likely places for malware traces. On the Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch I use for testing, this scan finished in less than four minutes. Clicking the gear icon next to Scan Mac lets you choose a Deep Scan of the entire system, or a File Scan looking just at certain files or folders. Even the Deep Scan only took 15 minutes, just a hair longer than Avast, and well below the current average of 24 minutes.

Avast, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac, ClamXAV, and several others include the option to define a scan schedule. AVG, like Sophos, Malwarebytes, and a few others, eschews the scheduled scan, figuring that real-time protection should handle any new threats. I suggest that you run a Deep Scan immediately after installing AVG, to root out any hidden nasties.

Almost all the Mac antivirus utilities I've reviewed include the ability to detect Windows malware as well. True, malware designed for Windows can't run on a Mac, but eliminating it means there's no chance of it somehow leapfrogging to a Windows system on your network. AVG promises to detect and remove Windows and mobile malware, in addition to malware aimed at macOS.

To test AVG's skills against Windows malware, I copied my current malware collection from a thumb drive to the desktop. AVG immediately started wiping out the samples, leaving just a handful. A File Scan on the folder eliminated a few more, for a total of 86 percent. Interestingly, I tested Avast with my previous malware collection and it weighed in at 85 percent, almost the same. Sophos has the best score this test, with 100 percent of Windows malware eliminated.

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Poor Phishing Protection

While viruses, Trojans, and other typical types of malware necessarily target a specific operating system, phishing attacks are totally platform-agnostic. If you log in to a fraudulent site, thereby giving the fraudsters your credentials for the actual site, it doesn't matter if you did it on a PC, a Mac, or a browser-equipped refrigerator. Whatever the platform, you've lost control of that account.

My phishing test starts with hundreds of suspected phishing URLs, scraped from websites that specialize in tracking and reporting on them. To test a Windows-based product, I set up five browsers, one protected by the product under test, one by phishing champ Symantec Norton AntiVirus BasicA$39.99 1 Year 1 Device at NortonLifeLock, and one each by the protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. I wrote a simple program to launch each URL simultaneously in all five, and record with one click whether it blocked or missed a fraud, or whether the URL turned out not to be a phishing fraud after all. Alas, my handy program runs strictly on Windows, so my antiphish testing on macOS is a manual cut and paste affair.

In my testing, I've learned that while phishing frauds themselves are platform-independent, defense against phishing is not. Symantec Norton Security Deluxe (for Mac) scored quite a bit lower in this test than the comparable Windows edition.

Many phishing protection systems replace the fraudulent page with a warning message in the browser, explaining that proceeding to the site would be dangerous, but allowing the user to override the warning. AVG's Web Shield works quite differently. It pops up a window reporting that it secured a threat, leaving the browser to display a simple error message.

When I finished the test and ran the numbers for AVG, I was a bit shocked. AVG's detection rate was 39 percent lower than Norton's, and all three browsers beat it handily using their built-in protection. Among Mac antivirus products, only Avira has done worse, running 47 percent below Norton's detection rate. On the plus side, this is significantly better than the score earned by AVG AntiVirus Free.

Then I remembered that I had a similar experience with Avast. Initially it scored 32 percentage points behind Norton, which is in the same ballpark as AVG's 39 points. At that time, my Avast contact explained that Safari gets protection only from the Web Shield component, while browser extensions offer enhanced protection in Chrome and Firefox. When I repeated the test using Chrome, Avast tied with Norton and beat all three browsers. Only Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has done better, outscoring Norton by 5 percentage points. Bitdefender on Windows did even better, 12 points above Norton.

Alas, browser extensions for AVG's Mac antivirus aren't yet ready, so phishing protection totally relies on the less-effective Web Shield component. I'll revisit this review when the browser extensions come out.

Avast Free Antivirus For Mac 2018 Download

What's Not Here

AVG covers the basics, with protection against Mac, Windows, and mobile malware. It offers a modicum of protection against phishing frauds, though this component isn't very effective. And that's about all. Other free Mac antivirus utilities bring quite a bit more to the party.

With Sophos, you get full remote management of up to three installations, so you can fix Uncle Ernie's antivirus without driving across town. It also includes a simple content filter for parental control.

Avira rates links in search results, so you don't accidentally visit a dangerous page. By default, it runs a scheduled scan every week. It brings along a raft of other security-related components, some free, others free trial.

AVG's cousin Avast also rates the safety of search result links. Its active Do Not Track component prevents advertisers and other trackers from building a profile of your online activity. The network security scan lists all the devices on your network and flags any that have security problems. It even includes a basic password manager.

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You Can Do Better

Free Download Avast Antivirus For Windows 10

As you can see, AVG Antivirus for Mac suffers by comparison with other free Mac antivirus utilities. Lab tests show that it does its essential job, protecting against malware, but it's not effective at blocking malicious or fraudulent URLs. Its biggest virtue lies in its extremely simple, streamlined user interface.

Avast Free Antivirus For Mac 2018 Release

Those willing to pay for Mac antivirus protection can get significantly better protection. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac both cost $59.99 for three licenses, and both earn top ratings from the independent labs. Bitdefender took the top score in our antiphishing test, and its ransomware protection feature prevents unauthorized apps from modifying your important files. Kaspersky goes beyond the basics with an effective parental control system, protection against webcam spyware, a network attack blocker, and more. As in the Windows realm, free antivirus tools for Mac handle the basics, but commercial ones do much more.

Avast Free Antivirus For Mac 2018 Reviews

AVG AntiVirus for Mac

Avast Free Antivirus For Mac 2018 Download

Bottom Line: The free AVG AntiVirus protects against Mac, Windows, and mobile malware, but that's about all, and its antiphishing component tanked in our hands-on testing.

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