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Intego Mac Internet Security X8 Review

Intego Mac Internet Security X8 Review
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So you want to protect your Mac from malware? Seattle-based security company Intego, which specializes in Apple products, offers Mac Internet Security X8 ($40), a bundle of three OS X apps that detect Mac malware and defend computers from other threats.

Intego Mac Internet Security X8 integrates very well with OS X, and has some great extra features, such as different user profiles for different kinds of Internet connections. However, it lacks a Web-link scanner for sussing out malicious links as you browse the Web.

We found that of five Mac antivirus products we tested, Intego's suite had the lightest performance impact. Overall, Intego Mac Internet Security X8 is a strong and robust program, but it's a little pricey compared to the competition.

MORE: Best Antivirus Software for Mac

Setup and interface

Downloading Intego Mac Internet Security X8 was simple. We went to the company's download page and, from the dropdown menu, selected "Mac Internet Security X8." (There were several options, so users should make sure they're getting what they want.) Once installed, I entered the product code and email address and was good to go.

Intego Mac Internet Security X8 runs only on Mac OS X 10.7 or later. The package is essentially a bundle consisting of three OS X applications: NetBarrier, NetUpdate and VirusBarrier. They work mostly in the background, detecting and blocking malware and malicious Web links.

Each app has a slightly different interface. VirusBarrier has a stylized black edging to its white background and large colorful buttons; NetUpdate is a simple list; and NetBarrier includes a nifty moving graphic that depicts your Firewall’s actions. I found the UI clean and simple, with white backgrounds that blend well with the overall Mac OS X interface.

Features and tools



The applications in Intego Mac Internet Security X8 focus on malware protection and managing your Internet traffic. These features aren't as extensive as those for PC antivirus, but they're among the best in the Mac antivirus products we tested.

VirusBarrier, the anti-malware protection component, has Minimum, Standard and Maximum protection settings. You’ll have to choose one when you first launch VirusBarrier, as well as decide whether VirusBarrier will scan your archives. VirusBarrier lets you schedule scans, as do Sophos and ClamXav. Avast and Bitdefender don't do this.


In addition to the scheduled and on-demand scans, the program also scans files in the background when you access them. Avast, Bitdefender, ClamXav and Sophos have similar features.

NetUpdate is a simple list of virus definitions, which identify malware and are regularly updated as new malware is found and documented.

Intego Mac Internet Security X8 also detects Windows malware. Windows malware can't infect Macs, but it can spread through them; stopping it on a Mac helps curb malware infections.

NetBarrier is essentially a firewall, regulating which applications installed on your Mac -- including NetUpdate and VirusBarrier -- can access the Internet. Permission must be manually granted via a pop-up box that appears when you access an application after NetBarrier's installation. The full list of approved applications is available within NetBarrier's interface.

The NetBarrier firewall can be customized to block or allow incoming and outgoing traffic from local and Internet connections. You can save three custom NetBarrier settings as Home, Work or Public Hotspot profiles, which have basic presets: For example, the Public Hotspot profile automatically blocks NetBarrier connections from untrusted devices.

NetBarrier's features are unique among the other Mac anti-malware programs we reviewed. However, Intego Mac Internet Security X8 does lack any kind of Web-scanning component, which would scan for malicious links and Web pages as you browse. Bitdefender, Avast and Sophos all have some version of this feature.

Security performance

Intego Mac Internet Security X8 looks good, but how effective is it at catching malware? We turned to AV-TEST, an independent German lab that tests the efficacy of anti-malware programs. In August 2014, AV-TEST completed a round of testing on 18 Mac anti-malware programs, using 117 samples of native Mac malware.

AV-TEST assessed each anti-malware program based on its ability to catch malware "on-demand" (when a user manually runs a scan to detect existing infections) and "on-access" (when the program automatically scans a file or program as the user accesses it).

Intego Mac Antivirus Security X8 scored highly among the five anti-malware programs we tested in our review suite: it caught 98.3 percent of on-demand malware (above the average of 80.8 percent) and 98.8 percent of on-access malware (far above the average of 57.5 percent).


Avast Free Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

ClamXav 2

Intego Mac Antivirus Security X8

Sophos Antivirus for Mac Home Edition

on-demand

97.4

100

N/A

98.3

96.6

on-access

100

100

N/A

98.8

97.6

System impact

It's important that an anti-malware program not slow down a computer. We tested five programs for their performance impact on Macs while running scans. Intego had the lightest impact, both in its quick-scan and its full-scan features.

According to benchmarking tool Geekbench 3, our MacBook Air scored 5,398 before any anti-malware programs were installed. With Intego installed and running a quick scan, that number dropped slightly to 5,210. During a full scan it dropped a bit further, to 5,166.

By comparison, Bitdefender’s Geekbench 3 score during a quick scan was 5,133. The other three programs in our review suite don't offer quick-scan options.

During a full scan, second place for lightest performance impact wentto Avast at 4,757, followed by Sophos at 4,693, Bitdefender at 4,661 and ClamXav at 3,989.


Avast Free Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

ClamXav 2

Intego Mac Antivirus Security X8

Sophos Antivirus for Mac Home Edition

Quick Scan

N/A

5113

N/A

5210

N/A

Full Scan

4757

4661

3989

5166

4693

Bottom line

Intego Mac Internet Security X8 boasts strong malware detection scores and an extremely light performance impact on Macs. We also like its clean interface and unique features, such as a customizable firewall to regulate application traffic.

However, the program costs $40 for a year of protection for one Mac. It also lacks a Web-link-scanning component, though users can make up for this with several free browser plugins, such as Bitdefender's TrafficLight for Safari.

Overall, Intego Mac Internet Security X8 is a solid program that many Mac users will find helpful, but it's not our top choice for Mac antivirus.

Antivirus Buying Guides:
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email Jill at jscharr@tomsguide.com, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 0 Hide
    Bob Hershon , January 2, 2015 10:53 AM
    Intego is great software but their support is abysmal. There is virtually no post sales support by phone and the written support is quite disappointing as it doesn't appear that the info you input is read by support team.
    I work at the high tech end of a college and we run Sophos Enterprise in combo with Faronics Deep Freeze and have had zero problems wish I could have that at home.
  • 0 Hide
    Bob Hershon , January 2, 2015 5:20 PM
    Quote:
    Intego is great software but their support is abysmal. There is virtually no post sales support by phone and the written support is quite disappointing as it doesn't appear that the info you input is read by support team.
    I work at the high tech end of a college and we run Sophos Enterprise in combo with Faronics Deep Freeze and have had zero problems wish I could have that at home.

  • 0 Hide
    Bob Hershon , January 2, 2015 5:22 PM
    It took them a while but eventually they made it right. Babs from customer support is the best.
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