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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Malwarebytes is a little bigger than I realized... here's an interesting profile on the founders and company:
BBC News said:
'I kept my multimillion dollar business secret'

... "They'd obviously detected that I had a virus on my computer, but didn't realise it was deliberate. So I call the university IT helpline, and they send a kid, no older than me. He sits down at my computer and looks at it and says 'boy you've really screwed this thing up'.

"Then, right in front of me, he logs onto my website and downloads Malwarebytes.

"I didn't say anything, I stood behind him and watched him fix my computer with my software to get me back online. He left never knowing who I was, but to this day I love that moment."
 


Hi, I have been running free Sophos anti-virus software for a few years on my desktop, as well as my roommate’s laptop. Both are currently running El Capitan. The Sophos Home version that I had been running reached its end of life, so I have upgraded to the cloud-based Sophos Home, which I believe is v.9.7.16, on my iMac. I am one week into my free trial of cloud-based Sophos Home Premium. The premium version has ransomware protection and warnings of malicious websites with trojans and the like.

At this point, Cloud Sophos supports El Capitan, but I am not sure how long that protection will last.

My question for the community is what are your recommendations for anti-virus programs? I have heard good reviews about Avast and Sophos. ClamAV seems to not be as well regarded these days.

Question 2: Sometime after the first of the year I will be getting a new iMac, which means I will be running Catalina. I know that Catalina has new data protection features requiring users to manually allow programs to alter files. Anyone have any experiences with anti-virus programs on Catalina? Cloud Sophos requires addtional additional steps to use Catalina. I believe, but am not sure, that the Sophos installer they are referring to is the one I downloaded and used to install Cloud Sophos Home. Since I am running Cloud Sophos for El Capitan, I am not running the version that supports OS X 10.2 and up.

Thanks for any help and suggestions.
 


... My question for the community is what are your recommendations for anti-virus programs? I have heard good reviews about Avast and Sophos. ClamAV seems to not be as well regarded these days.
Question 2: Sometime after the first of the year I will be getting a new iMac, which means I will be running Catalina. I know that Catalina has new data protection features requiring users to manually allow programs to alter files. Anyone have any experiences with anti-virus programs on Catalina? Cloud Sophos requires addtional additional steps to use Catalina. I believe, but am not sure, that the Sophos installer they are referring to is the one I downloaded and used to install Cloud Sophos Home. Since I am running Cloud Sophos for El Capitan, I am not running the version that supports OS X 10.2 and up.
Thanks for any help and suggestions.
Duh, I just finished reading this anti-virus thread. I want to think a bit about what I have read and the ask some follow-up questions on anti-virus recommendations. At this point, Question 2 still stands. Thanks!
 


I have anti-ransomware protection installed on my computer (I'm pretty sure I found out about it here, on MacInTouch) called RansomWhere. I don't remember exactly when I installed it, but it's probably close to a year ago. It hasn't caused any problems on my 2017 iMac running High Sierra and Mojave.
Warnings occur infrequently, given my configuration and usage patterns, except with the Chromium browser. After a Chromium update, the Chrome Helper application associated with Chromium wants to encrypt files. Other than that, I forget RansomWhere is running most of the time.
I have RansomWhere installed. It would be helpful for it to remember my decision when a warning pops up. I look at the long string listed for reference to an app to determine if it is ok. Typically, the long text strings involve updates to Chrome and updates to Acrobat Reader. Sometimes the warning from RansomWhere shows up when I have already started an update to an app like iMazing. Fortunately, there are not too many warnings.
 


Let's see. First, sorry for the multiple posts. After a little time to think about the reviews you wrote earlier in this thread, I have a couple of thoughts. I'd love your suggestions. I hesitate to get a subscription-based product, at least until I get a new iMac running Catalina. Whatever product I choose would have to be able run on both Catalina and El Capitan. Any experiences from those of you running Catalina with anti-virus software are welcome.

On Sophos. I hear you. I have been running Sophos for a few years and agree that at times it is a system hog. But I have not experienced any conflicts with apps; perhaps I have been lucky. My friend's laptop is from her job, and when Sophos is updating, etc., it does really slow her down. Both of us recently updated to the Cloud-based Sophos, so the verdict is still out. I just checked my Activity Monitor, and Sophos is currently using 384 MB of memory and near 0% CPU. Is this normal?

I do a lot of my work on the web. I am concerned about what someone said about Avast blocking access to some websites. I can not have that.

I run the free version of Malwarebytes. Many of you seem to like it. I am tempted to pay for the premium version, if it will run under Catalina without any issues.

I have checked into EtreCheck and DetectX Swift – both are interesting. Would one or both along with Malwarebytes Premium provide good protection?

I will look into BitDefender, but I do like what I see so far.

Lots of choices – I have some time until my 30-day trial of Sophos Permium runs out.

Ransomware protection and protection against malicious sites might be a factor in my decision on whether to spring for a premium version of anti-virus protection. However, as many of you point out. I am leery of getting locked into a subscription plan.

Thanks!
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have checked into EtreCheck and DetectX Swift – both are interesting. Would one or both along with Malwarebytes Premium provide good protection?
I use and like both EtreCheck and DetectX Swift, but I wouldn't characterize either as an antivirus program per se (though both can do some malware checks). I view EtreCheck primarily as the best way to check for system configuration problems, while an essential feature of DetectX Swift is that it can track changes to your system.

You also can run Malwarebytes free of charge to get scans, but you have to run it manually (at any time you choose). The premium/paid version will run automatically, and you can try that free for 30 days. Malwarebytes is the first thing I recommend to most people I support, and I think it's especially helpful against web-based malware/spamware/hijacking, so you might find it worthwhile on that front. (Malwarebytes also succeeded in solving an extremely bad Windows malware infestation years ago that no other anti-virus software I tried could fix, including Microsoft's own utility).

One caveat about Malwarebytes (and all other antivirus software): it can be quite demanding of system resources. In particular, I found it could ramp up my MacBook Pro fans at boot time for a limited period (and possibly at other times when there were substantial changes).
 


I run the free version of Malwarebytes. Many of you seem to like it. I am tempted to pay for the premium version, if it will run under Catalina without any issues.
You are correct that there are some special hurdles required to install all current anti-malware products, but most do a good job of walking you through those steps now. And these extra steps are applicable to many apps outside of those from the App Store, but once you get used to it, you shouldn't have any further issues.

I agree with most of what Ric just said, except that Malwarebytes and DetectX are very similar, so if you are thinking about using two programs, I would pick one of them and pair it with a traditional scanner to use maybe once a week.

Just don't allow two programs to be used in real-time / on-access mode at the same time, as they will fight over who gets to scan a new file first and bog your computer down.

Not sure where you saw that ClamAV was not well regarded these days. It's the scanning engine used in ClamXAV (which has additional rapid-detection features) and still seems to be doing well but is subscription-based, as is the current trend in all service-based applications these days.
 


Not sure where you saw that ClamAV was not well regarded these days. It's the scanning engine used in ClamXAV (which has additional rapid-detection features) and still seems to be doing well but is subscription-based, as is the current trend in all service-based applications these days.
I thought I saw some reviews this morning (of course, I could no longer find these so-called reviews...) claiming that ClamAV had a low virus detection rate (40%). But when I considered that the ClamAV detection engine is updated more than once a day, that doesn’t quite make sense. Other reviews I read tonight (PCWorld, Tom's Guide) were kind. So, please allow me to withdraw my reference to ClamAV not being well regarded.

But I would like to know if Clam AV has real-time protection, ransomware protection, and protection from malicious websites – which leads me to the question, are these features necessary?

I have had realtime protection with my old Sophos, and no ransomware. I don’t recall if my old version of free Sophos had protection against malicious websites. I try to practice safe email and browsing practices.

I have free Malwarebytes, which I run at least once a week, often more.

I forgot that we have Xfinity and can get Norton Security Online for free on five devices. Any thoughts on this security suite? Is this worth considering?

Thanks again for your help and patience. I come here because I value this site.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I thought I saw some reviews this morning (of course, I could no longer find these so-called reviews...) claiming that ClamAV had a low virus detection rate (40%). But when I considered that the ClamAV detection engine is updated more than once a day, that doesn’t quite make sense. Other reviews I read tonight (PCWorld, Tom's Guide) were kind. So, please allow me to withdraw my reference to ClamAV not being well regarded.
Some related notes:
This might also be interesting, though it doesn't have very many products:
AV-TEST said:
The best MacOS antivirus software for home users
During April and May 2019 we evaluated 10 home user security products for MacOS Mojave. We always used the most current version of all products for the testing. They were allowed to update themselves and query their in-the-cloud services. We focused on malware detection, false positives and performance.
ClamXav is missing from this report, too:
AV-Comparatives said:
Mac Security Test & Review 2019
... The Malware Protection Test checks how effectively the security products protect a macOS system against malicious apps. The test took place in June 2019, and used macOS malware that had appeared in the preceding few months. We used a total of 585 recent and representative malicious Mac samples.

In the first half of 2019, several tens of thousands of unique mac samples were collected. However, this figure includes many samples which could be classified as “potentially unwanted” – that is, adware and bundled software – depending on interpretation. Very many of the remaining (true malware) samples are often near-identical versions of the same thing, each with a tiny modification that just creates a new file hash. This enables the newly created file to avoid detection by narrow blacklist-based protection systems such as XProtect. There were in fact almost no new families, and only some dozens of really new variants, of true Mac malware seen in 2019. Some of these will only run on older versions of the macOS operating system. Consequently, the 585 samples used for the test represent an accurate guide to the current threat landscape, even if the sample size seems very small compared to what is commonly used for Windows.

As most Mac systems do not run any third-party security software, even these few threats could cause widespread damage. Precisely because a Mac security product only has to identify a small number of samples, we would expect it to protect the system against most (if not all) of the threats, so the protection rate required for certification is relatively high (99%).
Even Macworld omits ClamXAV:
Glenn Fleishman said:
Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious software
Macs may be a far less tempting target for malware and viruses, but they’re not immune from attack. Even if you don’t care about adware or being used as a means to infect users on other platforms, it’s still possible to fall victim to ransomware, password theft, or stolen iPhone backups.
This article includes ClamXAV but links to an old 2017 review:
PCMag said:
The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for 2019
... Every macOS antivirus that earned 3.5 stars or better appears in the chart above. Another half-dozen managed a decent three-star rating, but there isn't room for another six products. I chose to favor two products that originated on the Mac platform, ClamXAV and Intego Mac Internet Security. Everything else being equal, there's surely some virtue in loyalty to macOS.
 


... I would like to know if Clam AV has real-time protection, ransomware protection, and protection from malicious websites – which leads me to the question, are these features necessary?
ClamXAV does have real-time protection, which can be paused when needed. It's certainly the most necessary of the ones you have mentioned, in that it will prevent you from installing known malware, as does macOS's [built-in] XProtect for selected downloads.

ClamXAV protects against all currently known ransomware (of which their have only been two instances impacting macOS, lasting only a few hours before distribution was terminated and Apple disabled it via Gatekeeper). The only software that I'm aware of to protect against future 0-day ransomware attacks against Macs is RansomWhere from Objective-See.

Detection of a malicious website would only let you know that you visited one but won't prevent you from doing so. There are built-in features (e.g. Google Safe Browsing) as well as extensions available to supplement that, with most of them focused on adware, which is far and away the most prevalent malware impacting Macs today. But simply visiting a web site will not permanently harm your computer. You would have to click on a link or download something in order for that to happen. They can cause popups to appear while visiting a site, but you would have to do something that it instructs (like call a phony 800 number) before anything could happen.

[See post-24119 and post-24125 for more about "drive by" dangers. —MacInTouch]
 


... My question for the community is what are your recommendations for anti-virus programs? I have heard good reviews about Avast and Sophos. ClamAV seems to not be as well regarded these days.
Question 2: Sometime after the first of the year I will be getting a new iMac, which means I will be running Catalina. I know that Catalina has new data protection features requiring users to manually allow programs to alter files. Anyone have any experiences with anti-virus programs on Catalina? Cloud Sophos requires addtional additional steps to use Catalina. I believe, but am not sure, that the Sophos installer they are referring to is the one I downloaded and used to install Cloud Sophos Home. Since I am running Cloud Sophos for El Capitan, I am not running the version that supports OS X 10.2 and up.
Thanks for any help and suggestions.
For my customers who are sensitive to price, my recommendation for free anti-virus goes to Avast. I then also install Malwarebytes Free as backup to it (it is one of the fastest at scanning).

I also make sure they have backups in place, a Time Machine backup and a clone backup as a minimum. For a business, I also recommend additional rotating offsite backups.
 


ClamXav is missing from this report, too...
A bit of background on why you rarely see ClamXAV (as well as Malwarebytes for Mac and DetectX) included in independent testing results... It has to do with the manner in which tests are conducted which tend to favor traditional scanners. The majority of these testers simply gather a bunch of malware from various sources, dump them in a folder and then run scanners against the folder. The problem is that Malwarebytes and DetectX mostly scan for installed malware in places where [the malware is usually] installed and won't even look in that [test] folder for it. For that reason, when asked those vendors have routinely declined to be tested.

The low score in PCMag appears to have come not from it not being tested by others but evaluated only on its observed features.

I know the developer is considering allowing testing this year, pending a description of whether the test will be conducted in a fair way. They have also recently added back the ability to detect Windows and Unix malware for those users who feel a need for that, which will also help them in the scoring but does adversely impact computer use during more lengthy scheduled and manual scans of the entire drive. That feature can be disabled with some Terminal commands and will shortly be a preference setting.
 


FWIW the last time I dealt with a seriously infected Mac, it took all three of Malwarebytes, DetectX and ClamXAV to find and remove every instance of malware. That was a 2011 13" MacBook Pro running El Capitan, and most of the nasties had arrived via hacked Flash installers (three of them).
 


Best practice is to buy Malwarebytes for Mac, so that it checks active sites (web). Next, have an antivirus app that you can run every so often (ClamXAV, EtreCheck and DetectX are not free for the full feature set).

XProtect and Gatekeeper are not known to be full protection and are more Apple back-end checking, and we don't know what/when/how they are protecting.
 


FWIW, I have been using BitDefender on several machines (and iOS) for a few years now. It does not seem to slow down any of them, and works fine on Catalina and Mojave. Before settling on BitDefender, I tried literally every AV program I could find, paying for each of them. Some did indeed slow down my main machine. Some grossly interferred with cloning a drive, doubling the time it took otherwise. I had various complaints about all of them except BitDefender. No, it's not free, but it is working just fine for me, and like most of them, keeps an “audit trail", so I can see what it's doing. At this point, however, I just let it run, and no longer bother with the reports, unless something pops up.

I should note that my equipment is mostly new, and my main machine is extremely fast. your milage may vary.
 


Best practice is to buy Malwarebytes for Mac, so that it checks active sites (web). Next, have an antivirus app that you can run every so often (ClamXAV, EtreCheck and DetectX are not free for the full feature set). XProtect and Gatekeeper are not known to be full protection and are more Apple back-end checking, and we don't know what/when/how they are protecting.
I run Avira on my server. I run Malwarebytes on my iMac, along with Ransomwhere. I believe that I do the same on my laptop. I quit using Drive Genius when they went to a subscription model and since I have not had issues with my hard disks.

It would be handy to know how complete each app really is. Is there one app that will protect against virus, malware, ransomware, etc.? Or are there a couple of apps that compliment each other, like maybe, RansomWhere and Malwarebytes?
 


FWIW, I have been using BitDefender on several machines (and iOS) for a few years now. It does not seem to slow down any of them, and works fine on Catalina and Mojave. Before settling on BitDefender, I tried literally every AV program I could find, paying for each of them. Some did indeed slow down my main machine. Some grossly interferred with cloning a drive, doubling the time it took otherwise. I had various complaints about all of them except BitDefender.
The AV-TEST Institute routinely tests anti-virus software for macOS. It has found BitDefender to work as you described. You can look at some of the other software they have tested here:
AV-Test Institute said:
Personally, I am more comfortable using such products from companies located in EU countries with strong consumer protections (General Data Protection Regulation) as we are giving permission for this software to scan all of our existing files.
Forbes said:
Is It Lights Out For Kaspersky After Latest NSA Disaster?
To recall the accusations in the WSJ's report: in 2015 a substantial but unspecified number of files were stolen from an NSA contractor's PC. The hackers were alerted by Kaspersky's software "to the presence of files that may have been taken from the NSA," the report noted, citing according to anonymous sources.
 


I have had more client problems with anti-virus software causing issues than I have had client problems with actual infections by about a factor of four. I typically install Malwarebytes for Mac in the "free" mode and use it to scan for stuff when desired rather than always running.
 


Best practice is to buy Malwarebytes for Mac, so that it checks active sites (web).
Malwarebytes for Mac does not check web sites. That is a Malwarebytes for Windows feature which may some day be included in the Mac version. The paid version does check downloads from web sites, etc. and there are free Malwarebytes Browser Guard extensions available for Chrome and Firefox that analyze and block web sites, but not for Safari.
 


...there are free Malwarebytes Browser Guard extensions available for Chrome and Firefox that analyze and block web sites, but not for Safari.
This is funny. I have the paid version of Malwarebytes, but wasn't aware of the browser extension. So I downloaded it and saw that it has a prominent button in the settings to get 'full protection'. Wondering if I need to link the extension to my paid Malwarebytes app, I click on it and get taken to malwarebytes.com. It just wants me to buy the paid app, but the extension now lists the fact that it has blocked a tracker on Malwarebytes' own site!
 


Wondering if I need to link the extension to my paid Malwarebytes app, I click on it and get taken to malwarebytes.com.
The browser extension doesn't know whether you already have the paid version of the app or not. It seems to me it would be an easy fix to let it know, and a couple of people have already suggested they find a way. You can just ignore that.
 


I have Malwarebytes on all my Macs and PCs, and, in addition, ClamXav on a couple of Macs. And, of course, Windows Defender on the PCs, which seems to do a stellar job.
 


Malwarebytes for Mac does not check web sites. That is a Malwarebytes for Windows feature which may some day be included in the Mac version. The paid version does check downloads from web sites, etc. and there are free Malwarebytes Browser Guard extensions available for Chrome and Firefox that analyze and block web sites, but not for Safari.
Oops, I meant web downloads. And, yes, the PC version is active on web scanning. Thanks for the correction!

I think, for what it's worth, that BitDefender, with some passive cleaner, like Malwarebytes Free, would be [adequate] protection, at least for the novice. Many previous AV apps were processor hogs or contributed to kernel panics and other issues.
 


I am running McAfee Multi Access Total Protection on macOS 10.12.6. I run it on all four of my Macs. It doesn't cause any difficulties, eat resrouces, or slow down my Macs.

My version of McAfee is provided free by my ISP, Optimum Online (rebranding now as Altice): https://www.optimum.net/pages/internet-protection.html.
 


VirusBarrier from Intego is a Mac-only product. It catches Mac-only malware better than any of the rest, as of the last tests I saw, but it doesn't catch as many Windows malware files as BitDefender, for example. It's been my go-to for any malware issues on Macs for years, for myself and for my clients.

Malwarebytes free version and DetectX are great for adware, but for more serious malware, I recommend VirusBarrier. That said, I've only seen it pick up malware a few times in the past 10 years on hundreds of scans on hundreds of clients. And it seems to miss some adware files, so I use multiple apps to scan when needed.
 


For my customers who are sensitive to price, my recommendation for free anti-virus goes to Avast. I then also install Malwarebytes Free as backup to it (it is one of the fastest at scanning). I also make sure they have backups in place, a Time Machine backup and a clone backup as a minimum. For a business, I also recommend additional rotating offsite backups.
This is the combination I use myself, and I'm very happy with it. The impact on performance seems to be minimal, and they do update the database regularly. Of course, the downside is you have to create a free account with them, and you are subject to occasional popups suggesting you should upgrade to a paid version. I can live with that.
 


One thing to remember about Malwarebytes free version is that it does not scan until and unless you actually click the "Scan" button. So the free version will disinfect an already hammered Mac/PC but will not prevent infection. You need to subscribe. By the way: If you subscribe with multiple machines and/or multiple years, the cost per year per seat is reduced nicely.
 


Looking around for security solutions for a fleet of onsite iMacs and remote MacBooks, to date I have been happy with Malwarebytes and a ClamXAV trial.

I am about to abort a trial of Bitdefender Gravityzone for small business. I like its SOAS hosted dashboard, but Thunderbird appears to lock up when Bitdefender is installed (possibly when Filemaker 17 is running). If it is because of scanning the relatively large mailbox, then it is unusably slow. Toggles in the app to temporarily disable it did not function – the only fix was to uninstall.
 


Raj

Duh, I just finished reading this anti-virus thread. I want to think a bit about what I have read and the ask some follow-up questions on anti-virus recommendations. At this point, Question 2 still stands. Thanks!
I happened to see this discussion on security software and wanted to contribute my experience, perhaps saving others the headache that I’m dealing with right now. Intego’s free VirusBarrier Scanner anti-virus software, available from the Mac App Store, absolutely ruined my Applications folder on a brand-new, clean Mojave 10.14.6 installation running on a 3.2GHz i5 Late 2015 Retina 5K 27” iMac with 32 GB of RAM. I retired about 6 years ago as an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT). For 25 years, I worked exclusively with Macs as a hardware/software technician and consultant.

I noticed that at least one review of VirusBarrier Scanner on the Mac App Store had already pointed this out, but when selecting a file to scan (or dragging and dropping a file into the main window), the software stalls and stalls forever before it does an actual scan. It’s not updating its malware definitions, I have no idea of what it’s doing. It just sits there for anywhere from a half a minute to 2 minutes and does absolutely nothing. Then all of a sudden, boom — it starts to scan.

The progress bar in VirusBarrier Scanner is useless. There were approximately 800,000 items to scan in my (large) Applications folder, which took at least 40 minutes to scan. After ten minutes, the progress bar was at 90%, but then it suddenly kept repeatedly jumping backward to 70% every few minutes. This went on and on and on for the rest of the scan, forward and backward, forward and backward, progress bar jumping around all over the place. Impossible to tell where you’re at in a scan with “progress” like this.

After the scan was complete, the software had modified numerous folders on my iMac (even folders that were completely empty to begin with). I hope Intego realizes that backup software often reads modification dates as criteria for backing up.

The worst part: the software sent a bunch of my apps into translocation for some reason. How this could possibly happen is beyond me. Most of the non-Apple apps I double-clicked on after the scan all presented a Gatekeeper-like message saying “this app was created by Intego VirusBarrier Scanner, are you sure you want to open it?”.

Even after numerous restarts, this still happened. I had to completely reinstall my Applications folder from a Time Machine backup to fix the problem. A number of my Mac App Store apps had to be deleted and re-downloaded as well.

All this for simply running a malware scan, and remember that this was a clean installation. I thought I was “safe” downloading from a Mac-only company and using an on-demand scanner such as this one that didn’t install system files, daemons and kexts all over the place. Never again. This software is outright dangerous.

I urge others to be careful downloading Intego VirusBarrier Scanner. This is software that I would consider to be a worse and more damaging piece of malware than the malware it is supposed to look for.

On a happier note, I used the free version of BitDefender (on demand) Virus Scanner from the Mac App Store for years without incident.
 


I ran ClamXAV and Malwarebytes on multiple Macs at the same time. While I was on Sierra I never noticed any issues. Once I upgraded moved to Mojave, I noticed ClamXAV slowing things down. I chose to disable ClamXAV's background protection.

The biggest factor in getting infected is human nature. Almost every infected client I've treated over the years had allowed malware to install itself. I can avoid that risk, so on my computers, Malwarebytes is more than adequate.
 


I happened to see this discussion on security software and wanted to contribute my experience, perhaps saving others the headache that I’m dealing with right now. Intego’s free VirusBarrier Scanner anti-virus software, available from the Mac App Store, absolutely ruined my Applications folder on a brand-new, clean Mojave 10.14.6 installation running on a 3.2GHz i5 Late 2015 Retina 5K 27” iMac with 32 GB of RAM. I retired about 6 years ago as an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT). For 25 years, I worked exclusively with Macs as a hardware/software technician and consultant.
I am sorry to hear of a bad experience with Intego's VirusScanner.

In our family, we have used Intego VirusScanner for over 8 years without issues. We have bought the software on sale from one of their twice-a-year sales through their website and usually get a multi-year license. We have gone through several macOS updates: Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave with no problems. It has only triggered a few files on my kids computers from sharing files with other students at college. I had it triggered once on my computer from a Word attachment.
 


I urge others to be careful downloading Intego VirusBarrier Scanner. This is software that I would consider to be a worse and more damaging piece of malware than the malware it is supposed to look for.
The virus protection used to be better. I used it years ago (version X5 maybe?) and had no problems with it. I eventually stopped using it, not because there was any problem with the virus protection, but because I found the NetBarrier firewall extremely difficult to figure out.

Then they announced a policy change regarding license expiration: when your subscription ran out, even autoprotect got disabled – and that included the firewall. Woe to anyone who (even unintentionally) let their subscription lapse. It is entirely possible that they have changed this policy since then, and I hope they have.
 


FWIW, I have been using Intego Virus Barrier for several years on my home/office Macs and have not found any problems I could trace back to it. It may have helped slow down my 2010 Mac Mini, which had gotten rather slow before I retired it this year, but I could never be sure.
 


Once I upgraded moved to Mojave, I noticed ClamXAV slowing things down. I chose to disable ClamXAV's background protection.
ClamXAV 3.0.14 makes use of some additional malware databases provided by the larger community. These additional databases provide extra support for detecting malware which affects Windows PCs as well as some other operating systems. A side effect of this for ClamXAV users is increased scan times and requiring extra CPU usage. I suspect that was the root cause of the slow down you observed, rather than the Mojave move.

If you wish to remove these community-provided databases to focus entirely on macOS malware, you should click the link below to disable them:
If you change your mind, you can re-enable them with the following link:

When you click either link, ClamXAV will launch and you will be prompted for a password. This is not specific to ClamXAV, and will usually be the same name and password which you use to log in to your computer when it starts up.

The next version of ClamXAV, which is currently in beta testing, will provide an advanced preference to enable this database, making it easier and more obvious on what is occurring.
 


I want to thank everyone for responding to my questions with your experiences with anti-virus and malware protection software for the Mac. You have been very helpful.

I intend to keep using the free version of Malwarebytes. Thanks for the reminder that I have to initiate the scan myself and that it does not scan websites. I am intrigued by the free version of Avast and ClamXAV. I am 11 days into my 30-day preview of cloud-based Sophos Home Premium – no issues so far, but am reluctant to upgrade to Premium.

I have not heard anyone mention Norton Security Online, which I can get for free from my cable provider, but I did not the links to reviews, which I will look at again. I have heard that it can be difficult to uninstall.
 


I have not heard anyone mention Norton Security Online, which I can get for free from my cable provider, but I did not the links to reviews, which I will look at again. I have heard that it can be difficult to uninstall.
Katharine, you had mentioned previously about the desire to find an anti-virus program that also supported some of the older versions of macOS. Norton Security tends to follow along with Apple in supporting only the current and the two prior versions of macOS. The software may still work, but it is not supported.
Norton Security
Mac Operating Systems
Current and previous two versions of Mac OS.
Features not supported: Norton Cloud Backup, Norton Parental Control, Norton SafeCam.
 


Just wanted to add a note that Catalina Cache Cleaner, from northernsoftworks.com, includes ClamAV amongst its many other features (and there are a lot!). I do believe that scans need to be run manually, but I don't regard this as a great hardship. Price is $9.99. When Apple release a new version of the OS, Northern Softworks tend to release a new version of the application to match, for which there is an upgrade price (e.g. Catalina Cache Cleaner is a $6.99 upgrade from Mojave Cache Cleaner).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
When Apple release a new version of the OS, Northern Softworks tend to release a new version of the application to match, for which there is an upgrade price (e.g. Catalina Cache Cleaner is a $6.99 upgrade from Mojave Cache Cleaner).
Note, despite the name, it also supports older macOSes. And you can try it for free.
 


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