Intego Mac Internet Security X8 review

Almost all the anti-virus software for the Mac currently available is from companies that made their fortunes selling subscriptions to Windows users. Intego Mac Internet Security is different. The Intego company, founded in France in 1997, focuses only on Mac security, starting with software designed for Mac OS 8.

The BVP venture-capitalist group bought a controlling share of the company in 2007, and founder and CEO Laurent Marteau departed in 2011. Intego, Inc now has its head office in Seattle and keeps a European office in Paris.

See also: Best Mac antivirus software | Mac software reviews

Intego’s latest security software is only available at its most basic as a suite comprising two main parts – the core VirusBarrier malware scanner and a NetBarrier firewall. Intego is also selling Family Protector, a parental control app; and a package that includes all its consumer software together, Mac Premium Bundle X8, which adds a cleaning utility called Mac Washing Machine.

Intego Mac Internet Security X8: VirusBarrier

After installation of Mac Internet Security X8, the VirusBarrier application launches, provided with a useful arrowed overlay that highlights the important areas of the interface.

It’s a simple-looking app though that doesn’t need much guidance, especially when compared to complex programs like ESET. The main window shows Real-Time Scanning function (on by default) and Scheduled Scanning (which requires a simple setup of preferred date and time).

To see what suspect files have been found, click the Quarantine tab on the app window; or for a fuller log of what has been scanned and the results of those scans, click Window from the top bar, then Logs.

Intego Mac Internet Security X8: NetBarrier

This can serve as a two-way firewall, monitoring and blocking where required data that travels to and from your Mac. By default, the app opts in to ‘Allow anonymous information to be collected’ which reports on your use of the app back to Intego, and this can be switched off from the app’s preference panes.

The main window is dividing down the centre. To the left is an animated chart showing external internet traffic coming into and out of your Mac, as well as the same for local network traffic. To the right are four basic slide switches which allow you to turn filters for ingress and egress on or off. You can dig deeper using the Exceptions button to fine-tune.

If Incoming Internet Connections is set to the red Block position (as it is by default for all three of the Home, Work and Public presets), you can add exceptions which will whitelist this traffic. Outgoing Internet Connections is set to the green Allow position, and additions here will blacklist those you’d prefer to now block.

NetBarrier has nowhere near the level of customisation and control as dedicated network filters like Little Snitch; but then this is not aimed at the same audience, instead anyone that would like a simpler overview of network activity, and the ability to restrict certain connections

An Application Monitor floating palette illustrates with flowing arrows which applications and background processes are sending and receiving data.

Intego Mac Internet Security X8: Performance

In malware protection tests by Security Spread, Intego VirusBarrier X8 detected 415 out of 422 samples, returning a score of 98.8 percent, the highest rate of all security suites on test here. Curiously it failed to detect three samples that were picked up by the preceding version of Intego VirusBarrier 2013.

VirusBarrier X8 also had the best results in routing out installed malware traces, missing only one component from 107 traces to give a detection result of 99 percent. False positives were limited to one erroneous result from the 11 samples fielded.

System slowdown tests indicated that Intego VirusBarrier does not attempt to scan files that are copied within the host Mac; the mbox archive copied as quickly with Intego real-time protection enabled as without. For on-demand scans, Intego was one of the fastest. And it also indicated the highest number of files that were actually scanned, even if the 42,523 figure exceeds the 39,925 reported by Finder for the same directory.

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OUR VERDICT

If you want software that consistently scores highly for spotting malware, Intego is for you. In the last lab test, VirusBarrier X8 and its predecessor took first and second places here. It’s a simple program to install and setup, lacking some of the detailed options of some others but it also proved to have minimal slowdown of Mac resources in normal use.

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