Internet Security Barrier X4

This bundle appears to be aimed at users new to the Mac who want to cover all the same security bases as they would on a PC. It includes six different tools, which vary in their usefulness.

Perhaps the most useful tools in the suite are Content Barrier, Personal Backup and Personal Antispam, as these add the most value to what’s already provided in Mac OS X and fill in gaps in the market.

ContentBarrier is a parental control tool to police what your children can access on the internet, a welcome addition as this type of product is under-represented in the Mac market. It provides a simple way to limit web access and filter what children can view online. If you have several children you can set different access levels.

Personal Backup allows you to back up files, synchronise data between two computers and clone the Mac OS X startup volumes, allowing you to create a bootable copy of your hard disk. You can do this with freeware tools, but Personal Backup makes it simpler.

Personal Antispam could be useful if your existing spam filter isn’t up to the job. It’s a robust solution using several methods to weed out junk email, checking for URLs, content, layout and in messages. We found it worked well, although if you use a reputable email provider extra filters aren’t necessary.

The antivirus tool, VirusBarrier, is a case of better safe than sorry, as Mac viruses are thin on the ground. But if one were to strike at least you would have the tools to deal with it as VirusBarrier not only spots bugs, but can also repair infected files. The interface isn’t that intuitive and compared with PC antivirus tools it’s quite basic.

The final two tools are NetBarrier and ChatBarrier. NetBarrier is a firewall tool with added extras, and it’s these extras, including antispyware and privacy tools that are the real benefit, as Mac OS X provides a perfectly adequate firewall for most users. ChatBarrier encrypts iChat sessions to keep them safe from prying eyes.

OUR VERDICT

This is an expensive package and some of the tools won’t be useful to everyone. Many of the bases it covers can be dealt by Mac OS X itself and various shareware products. However, it does combine all the security apps you’ll need, and most offer genuine ease of use.

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