McAfee Internet Security for Mac review

McAfee Internet Security addresses the usual virus, malware, and Trojan Horse issue, but also includes a configurable firewall along with a Firefox plug-in that vets and reports on search result links. It’s a multipronged and easy-to-manage extra layer that didn’t seem to slow our Mac down one bit, while providing useful information and the right degree of control to block remote access.

McAfee Internet Security warns you about malware. Given that only a handful of Trojans and viruses have appeared in recent years for the Mac, and that they are easy to avoid, this part of the security suite might seem useless. We’ll argue it isn’t for three reasons: one, it stops you passing on Windows viruses to Windows-using friends and colleagues, and your Boot Camp volume; two, not everyone has the instinct to stay away from unknown software or attachments; three, you’ll be protected if someone else uses your computer without the same care as you.

We tested McAfee’s virus protection against the few known Mac Trojan horses and exploits. McAfee refused to let us launch or uncompress the archives containing the malicious files, and put them into a Quarantine area to make it simple to review them and then delete them. We tried sending a virus via email, and McAfee prevented that from downloading as well.

With Application Protection enabled, whenever a previously unused software program launches, you’re prompted to choose whether to let the program access the network or not, or prevent its launch entirely.

The firewall is simpler than many full-featured programs, but you can create custom rules, or block all but a handful of services from receiving signals from the outside world. You can also define trusted networks.

McAfee’s Firefox Site Advisor add-on is a big help in examining search results on Google and other engines. When you perform a search, the advisor tags results with a green, yellow, red, or question mark icon. McAfee constantly spiders websites looking for malware and other problems, and rates sites accordingly.

OUR VERDICT

It’s a hard sell to tell someone who has had no problems, and expects none, to buy a security product. But we find the antivirus effects of McAfee Internet Security aren’t as interesting as the amount of information and control the software provides over the routine function of your system and network connections.

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