In the past, one of the most rewarding benefits of being a Mac user was the fact that your device wasn’t too vulnerable to viruses and malware. Compared to Windows PCs, Mac users had a relatively safe system that had security at the core of its architecture. However, earlier this year, a malware by the name of Flashback was found infecting Macs, with experts calling it the worst security disaster to have hit Macs. Almost 550,000 Macs were estimated to have been infected. The Flashback trojan was said to be spreading around the world over a span of a few months and its target was Macs and Macbooks running the OS X platform. The U.S was said to have the majority of all infected Macs with some 56.6 percent of infections, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom. That was followed by a new malware that Kaspersky Labs termed as an APT (advanced persistent threat). With newly emerging threats, security solutions for Macs are on the rise. One such is the eScan Antivirus for Mac. But is it efficient enough to disinfect threats to your Mac? Let’s find out.
eScan for Mac doesn’t really look like eScan for Mac – it looks more like eScan for Windows owing to the lacklustre graphical user interface. It’s uninspiring at best with pale blue colours and very Windows-y icons. The main panel gives you access to the main functions – scan and update. Other details include the date of the virus signatures and the last computer scan. Scan options include a full scan, scanning home directories, a custom scan, and a separate scan for USB devices. Logs and data monitoring is possible as well.
The main panel
If you are a novice and don’t know how to go about with the software, a dedicated help button on the top will let you have a live chat with a customer service representative, view online help or access the MicroWorld forums. There’s not much complexity in the interface and upon installation, the main panel itself is pretty self-explanatory and does a good job of keeping you well informed with regards to what you are doing.
The key feature of eScan for Mac is real-time protection against security threats. Whenever a malicious file is accessed or executed, the software immediately notifies the user on a real-time basis. Besides this, files that are downloaded off the Internet or transferred via a network are actively monitored as well. On demand scanning, as the name suggests, lets you select different files and folders to scan for viruses. Besides that, there’s a scheduled scan option. The software also allows real-time protection and USB blocking for devices like flash drives, portable hard drives, etc. There is live technical support as well and it can be accessed from the HELP section on the top right corner.
The scan screen
The current OS version supported is Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later. System requirements include 1GB of available memory and 500MB of free hard drive space. Supported languages are English, Latin Spanish, German, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, and Russian. A 30-day trial version is available as well.
The software took close to ten minutes to install. It’s a simple download link with a key so there’s not much that can go wrong here. After installation and registration an additional 47 MB update was downloaded, which took around ten minutes on a fast connection. CPU utilization is close to 70 – 90 percent while running a scan, with around 272 MB of memory utilisation. There was no noticeable lag in the performance while the scan was running. Our test MacBook was running on a 2.53GHz core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM.
We put the antivirus through a real world test where we infected our Mac with the Flashback Trojan and a host of other Mac malware. Needless to say, the malware was immediately identified and deleted before it got a chance to execute itself. A pop-up window showed the type of the Trojan along with the action that was taken, which in our case was deletion. There are only a handful of viruses and malware for the Mac OS and the software effectively cleaned them up. Next, we tried a free antivirus that is available on the Internet and has features similar to the eScan. We performed the exact same virus injection tests and the free software was able to find them out and delete them. The functionality is there with eScan, but except for the live support that comes bundled, it's got nothing that sets it apart from the host of free antivirus software.
Worth a buy?
eScan for Mac can be purchased for Rs. 1,677 for protecting three users (minimum users are three) for a period of one year. There’s not much you’re getting over the couple of free antivirus offerings from other antivirus manufacturers. And considering the fact that there are still only a handful of viruses that can be thwarted using free services, this paid one is a slightly costly alternative.
Updated 19 Jun, 2013, 1:57 pm IST
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