Mac Format

ESET Cyber Security 7

Security and anti-malware for your Mac in discreet form


£24.98 (Pro £34.99)/year


hreats from malware, phishing and other online crime keep growing. Although security protection built into macOS has improved greatly over the last few years, you may feel that more is required to keep on top of those increasing risks. ESET Cyber Security claims to provide real-time protection against malicious software, including potentiall­y unwanted programs (PUPs) as well as real nasties, together with protection from phishing and other attacks over the web and in email messages.

To be of any value, security software needs to be complicate­d. ESET Cyber Security consists of an app with helpers and two system extensions, one of which uses the built-in Endpoint Security system, while the other monitors network connection­s to protect web and email. Those could make installati­on a nightmare, but ESET’s staged onboarding support turns it into a series of steps negotiatin­g each obstacle put in place by macOS, such as authorisin­g the system extensions in Privacy & Security settings, and giving its components Full Disk Access.

ESET’s presence is most noticeable for the first few minutes following start up, when your Mac is already busy maintainin­g its Spotlight indexes and making its initial backup. On a faster Apple silicon Mac you’ll only notice this if you follow CPU History in Activity Monitor,

TNEEDS macOS 10.15 or later

It’s protection imposes remarkably little overhead and remains unobtrusiv­e throughout

but the app’s ‘scand’ process that scans files makes significan­t use of Efficiency cores. Overall its protection imposes remarkably little overhead and remains unobtrusiv­e throughout.

Proactive protection

Automatic scans for malicious software are made once a week, although you can opt for a custom schedule, or run them on demand whenever you wish. Those can extend to your whole Mac, or target individual folders or files. ESET Cyber Security also monitors what’s happening with your Mac’s files. Try unzipping a downloaded archive, and it goes straight in to check whether its contents are malicious. This is a significan­t difference from macOS; although its XProtect tools scan daily, Gatekeeper checks are only run when you try to open apps and files, not when they’re just being saved. If you want this more proactive protection, then you’ll need a product like ESET Cyber Security.

It has extensive settings to exclude items from its Detection Engine, adjust its sensitivit­y, and that of other protection­s. You can also allow, block and exclude addresses from web access. The app keeps its own log records, covering any malware detections it has made, filtered websites, the results of its scans, and

other events including updates to the app and its Detection Engine. Help is online, and consists of a detailed guide to the software, with access to ESET’s knowledge base, and to customer support.

ESET’s single licence covers both macOS and Windows 10, while its Pro version extends to cover Android phones and tablets. In addition, the Pro version adds a configurab­le software firewall, removable media blocking, parental controls, more extensive scanning of websites and email, and monitors for macOS updates.

To assess its performanc­e against known malware, we pitched the Pro version of ESET Cyber Security, using the same scanning engine, against a Ventura 13.4 virtual machine packed with nine well-known and recent types of malware, supplied by courtesy of the Objective-See Foundation. To ensure that macOS didn’t provide any help, we disabled all built-in security including Gatekeeper protection. Samples used included CloudMensi­s, DazzleSpy, Genieo, JokerSpy, KeySteal, MacKeeper, RustBucket, Shlayer and XCSSET. In every case, ESET detected them as soon as they were unzipped from their encrypted archives, and removed all trace of them, performing perfectly.

Gets on with the job

ESET Cyber Security is a highly effective solution in the battle against malware, phishing and other attacks over the web and in email messages. It delivers that with a small footprint and without annoying notificati­ons, just quietly getting on with its job.

The biggest question, though, is whether you need to pay its subscripti­on, and that all depends on your assessment of risk, and whether the protection built into macOS is generally sufficient for your needs. If you do decide that you want further enhancemen­ts, then ESET Cyber Security or its Pro version should be ideal.

Howard Oakley

 ?? ?? Each feature has options to balance security with intrusion.
Each feature has options to balance security with intrusion.
 ?? ?? For higher cost, the Pro version brings even more features.
For higher cost, the Pro version brings even more features.
 ?? ?? Installati­on guides you gently through its complicati­ons.
Installati­on guides you gently through its complicati­ons.

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