Security Solutions for MacOS Ventura 13.6 Put to the Test
It is not merely an impression that increasingly often, MacOS is entering into the focus of malware and attack groups. The list of special malware for MacOS grew quite a bit longer in the year 2023. Thus, for example, the ObjCShellz malware for MacOS was discovered, which poses a threat to a large number of consumers and organizations. Or the Realst Infostealer, which empties crypto wallets, stealing passwords and browser data. This is also underscored by the macOS Threat Landscape Report by Bitdefender, which clearly shows how the targeted attacks on MacOS have been mounting. The Threat Intelligence Platform AV-Atlas, also freely accessible, shows the steady increase of MacOS malware.
That is why it is all the more important that MacOS be immune against all types of malware. The latest test establishes clarity in terms of which security solutions are best at protecting personal devices for Macs for corporate users. An initial glimpse of the results is compelling: Most of the security solutions deliver top performance. Among the 15 products evaluated, 11 achieved the maximum point score in the test.
15 solutions for MacOS put to the lab test
In December 2023, the lab at AV-TEST subjected 7 business solutions and 8 protection packages for consumer users under MacOS Ventura 13.6 to comprehensive tests. The categories of protection, performance, and usability were examined and scored. The last item mainly focused on false alarms triggered by the protection packages. In each test area, a product was able to garner up to 6 points. Thus, the best overall result was 18 points.
Additionally, the defense against Windows malware and the detection of MacOS PUAs (potentially unwanted applications) were examined. These two evaluations were neither rated nor scored, however.
In the test, the lab examined the products for consumer users from the following manufacturers: Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Norton and Trend Micro.
Among the products for corporate users, these manufacturers participated in the test: Acronis, Bitdefender, Crowdstrike, Sophos, Symantec, Trellix and Trend Micro.
More security testing for MacOS Ventura
Detection of malware under MacOS Ventura 13.6
Protection against MacOS malware
In the area of protection, the test required the products to fend off some 1,300 extremely dangerous MacOS malware samples, such as Trojans and 0-day malware. This makes the MacOS test by AV-TEST one of the most comprehensive assessments worldwide.
Among the products for consumer users, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky and Norton showed 100-percent detection of all malware samples – a full 6 points for all products. Trend Micro came in close behind with an impressive 99.9 percent. F-Secure still achieved 99.6 and Avira 99.5 percent. The last two products thus had 0.5 and 1 point taken off respectively in the evaluation.
In terms of solutions for corporate users, the products also delivered strong performance. The endpoint solutions from Acronis, Bitdefender and Symantec detected the malware 100 percent. Sophos and Trend Micro followed close behind with 99.9 percent, and Crowdstrike detected 99.8 percent. These products received the full 6 points on the protection score. The product from Trellix came in at 99.7 percent, thus losing 0.5 points in total.
Mac: slowed down or high speed?
During the test for performance, i.e. the load on system resources, the lab downloaded dozens of applications from the Internet, installed and launched them. In addition, just under 3,000 files were copied onto the PC and into the network. The experts performed all the operations on a reference PC without a security solution and compared the times required on a PC with an enabled protection package.
Among the protection packages for consumer users, all the products except F-Secure received the full 6 points, as they responded almost entirely without any load on the system. Only F-Secure caused a somewhat greater load and, as a result, had half a point taken off: 5.5 points.
The products for corporate users were also highly effective at conserving system resources on a MacOS client. That is why all endpoint solutions except Crowdstrike received the full 6 points. Due to a slightly increased load on the system, the product lost half a point and achieved 5.5 points in total.
Reliable or prone to false alarms?
With respect to usability, the testers examined whether the protection packages caused false positives. For the evaluation, the lab directed over 90,000 legitimate programs to the test computer and had them scanned. In addition, the team installed dozens of samples of innocuous, popular software applications and launched them. During the installation and during launch, there was to be no alarm issued or even complete blocking initiated by any program.
The result was perfect for all products in this December test. Not only products for consumer users but also solutions for companies worked flawlessly and therefore did not trigger any false alarms. Thus, all products received the maximum 6 points.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Acronis Cyber Protect
Bitdefender Endpoint Security for Mac
Symantec Endpoint Protection
Additional test: are Windows malware and PUAs detected?
It should be mentioned: The following additional tests are neither rated nor scored by the laboratory. The lab examines how well MacOS protection products also function in heterogeneous networks. Although Windows malware cannot harm a Mac, it can infect a Windows PC via the network connection. That is why the lab directed just under 3,500 Windows malware samples to the MacOS scanners.
Among the MacOS protection packages for consumer users, nearly all packages detected above 99 percent of the Windows malware. The package from F-Secure performed at a somewhat lower level. Among solutions for corporate users, except for Crowdstrike, all products achieved well over 99 percent. The solution from CrowdStrike has not implemented Windows malware detection in its Mac version.
In the additional test, the laboratory also assessed whether the security products can also detect potentially unwanted applications, known as PUAs for short. These products do not cause any damage, but they are generally very annoying, and they are a nuisance to users. Some suppliers always regard PUAs as dangerous, whereas other manufacturers consider them harmless, somewhat annoying programs.
In the line-up of products for consumer users, all security tools except F-Secure filtered out nearly 2,000 PUAs at above 99 percent. F-Secure was considerably more lenient in this regard. Among solutions for corporate users, all products except Crowdstrike wanted to see no PUAs in the corporate network. Crowdstrike ignored PUAs completely.
MacOS Ventura can be strongly secured
The December 2023 test of MacOS security software under Ventura 13.6 showed how effectively the 15 evaluated products protect systems. Among the evaluated products for consumer users, 6 out of 8 packages tested earned the maximum 18 points in the test: Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton and Trend Micro. The products from Avira and F-Secure followed with strong 17 out of 18 points.
Among the endpoint solutions for corporate users, the result was even slightly better: 5 out of the 7 solutions reached the top score of 18 points: Acronis, Bitdefender, Sophos, Symantec and Trend Micro. Crowdstrike and Trellix followed close behind, however, with an excellent score of 17.5 out of 18 points.