Do you need virus protection if you’re running OS X? It’s not a terrible idea. Do you need a firewall if you’re on a Mac? Absolutely. Mac Internet Security X8 from Intego provides both in a flexible package that makes security understandable, friendly, and flexible for mobile users. It keeps you safe without interfering with the work you need to do on the Internet.
There are three elements to Mac Internet Security X8. The first is NetUpdate, which just makes sure the software is up to date with the latest versions and virus updates. While there are few Mac viruses, vulnerabilities exist (especially if you have to deal with Windows docs), and it’s important to keep on top of them. You can set NetUpdate to download in the background, making it a fire-and-forget solution to protecting your Mac.
The next, and most apparently useful bit of software, is NetBarrier, a firewall application. NetBarrier controls what can and cannot access your computer, and also how your computer interacts with the Internet. Now the brilliant part of NetBarrier is that it lets you set up different profiles based on the network you’re interacting with. The default for your “home” network is to allow local access (presumably from other family members who want to send you files via Airdrop and the like), let you access other computers locally (likewise), and unfettered access to send things to the ‘net. What’s blocked are external computers trying to access your computer. Now, if you’re the kind of person who does a lot of remote computing to a home server, you might need to allow this (plus, simply having a WiFi router will block this), but if you need it, you can let it happen.
But when you take your laptop on the road, your needs are different. NetBarrier recognizes this and has profiles for Work and Hotspot. The defaults for Work are the same as home, but you’ll configure it separately, and the default for Hotspot is to block incoming local connections, so the jerk in the coffee shop can’t try to hack your Macbook.
The beauty of NetBarrier is that it asks you once every time an app tries to use the Internet and asks if you want to allow it for that profile, or all profiles. It’s a handy way to check to see how your computer is interacting, and the profile is so restrictive that it even asks if it’s own software is okay.
If you’re trying to do something on the Internet and it’s not working, you can check NetBarrier to see which apps are active, and how they’re doing it. Some apps “listen” to the Internet for changes (like Dropbox), so if you’re not seeing the activity you want, you may want to adjust their permissions.
Some of the more Unix-level apps on OS X can be more obscure, however, and I wish Intego had included explanation of what these system-level apps were used for.
The final piece of software is VirusBarrier, which protects your Mac from the malware. The app offers two compatible scans: Real Time, which checks all the files on your computer for suspicious activity, and scheduled scanning, if you’re suspicious that you may already have a problem (this can also be triggered manually). It’s mindless software that you can install, do an initial scan, and then let run in the background to protect you.
For those who want or need Internet security on their Mac, Internet Security X8 is a simple package that gives you carefree protection that’s also adaptable to a mobile lifestyle. After set up, you can forget about it, and when you have to interact with the software, it makes what you’re dealing with easy to understand.