The following is a comprehensive review of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Hackintosh. It is the best antivirus solution for Macs if you want to protect your system from unwanted intrusions.
Having already collaborated with Bitdefender in 2021, we have decided to repeat the experience with their new antivirus solution: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 2020 .
As I said at the time, I’m not a big fan of antivirus (whether on Mac or Windows for that matter). Sometimes I use small cleaning software like CCleaner or MalwareBytes, but no protection software per se like Bitdefender offers.
They provided me with a one-year license to be able to test the software and offer you a full article analyzing the aspects and features of their antivirus solution for Mac. Bitdefender is a large antivirus software publisher that offers complete and tailored solutions, which is why I decided to collaborate with them a second time.
Note: This test was performed on Mac with 2 different configurations: a 2017 Macbook Air running macOS Catalina and a Hackintosh running macOS Catalina .
One can ask the question of the usefulness of an antivirus, especially on Mac. The popular belief is that Macs are computers “untouchable” by viruses, you have probably heard someone tell you that there are no viruses on Macs, and that you can rest easy. If this was true in the past, it is not really the case now. Malware developers are much smarter than they were back in the day, and now believe that attacking Macs is more profitable than attacking Windows PCs. Indeed, Apple’s clientele is often “better off”, and therefore there is a way to recover more money, especially with ransomware which has grown a lot in recent years.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac 2020 software has tools to protect against ransomware, in order to avoid being asked for a ransom of 2000 € in Bitcoin to recover your data.
The Antivirus part
The version of the antivirus software that I tested is the most “basic” version, it protects 3 of its devices. This will probably be enough since it is only compatible with the macOS operating system . It also has (as a bonus) browser extensions to protect you while browsing the web. We will see this point in more detail later.
The software interface is quite complete, the home menu offers us several options that we will see in detail. You can, for example, run a “Quick Scan” which will do, as its name suggests, a quick scan of your local hard drive. It will not search your other disks, for example data.
Namely that it is possible to make a restriction on certain folders or files. You can choose to “ban” files that you do not want the software to scan. It will then perform its analyzes without looking for the files that you have denied access to it.
If no threats or malware were found, the scan will end with a message telling you that your system is healthy, and that it has not found a problem to address. You have nothing more to do, your system is protected.
However, if you have (like me) multiple hard drives connected, you better do a full scan (which will take a lot longer, especially if you have a lot of platter hard drives). The quick scan on my 240 GB SSD took just over 3 minutes to complete. The complete analysis will have taken almost 2 hours.
When files have been detected as malicious, the software will place them in quarantine. That is to say that it will isolate them the time to make a decision: namely to remove them or not from the system.
For example, during a scan, the antivirus software detected a file as “malicious” and therefore placed it in quarantine . However, this is probably a “false positive”, since the file in question is the installer of a software that I use: FileZilla (FTP client allowing remote access to servers). We can therefore decide to delete it, or to restore it if it is, as in my case, an error.
You can also, thanks to the “Custom scan” or personalized analysis , ask it to analyze a single file or several files (without having to browse all your hard disks). Simply allowing you to analyze a specific file.
Aside from the system scan tools, the antivirus software protects you in real time from downloads that you consciously (or not for that matter) make and will warn you if any of the files you download appear suspicious. You can then quarantine it and choose to delete it, or keep it.
As I told you earlier, in recent years, attackers have become more and more cunning and are developing more and more sophisticated viruses. For some time, we have faced the advent of ransomware ( ransomware in French, that sounds much less good).
To put it simply, these are “ransomware”, which, as their name suggests, will act on your data in order to encrypt it. Result: You no longer have access to your files, they are encrypted with an encryption key that is impossible to guess. The only way to get your data back is to pay the attackers a ransom. It can range from a few hundred euros to thousands for the toughest.
And it’s impossible to go and complain to the police, since payment is made only in Bitcoin, a completely untraceable cryptocurrency. In most cases, it is better not to pay, because already there is nothing to assure you that the attackers will unlock your data, and some ransomware can be countered.
To protect yourself well, you can with Bitdefender antivirus software, choose your most valuable files or folders, and protect them effectively. The software will deny access to these files by third-party applications, making it impossible to encrypt them with malware.
The software also includes protection for your Time Machine backups , which also protects against malicious access by modifying or deleting your backups.
Regarding protection on the web via browsers, Bitdefender offers a solution that can detect potential “sensitive” or even malicious sites. To my knowledge, only 3 of the major web browsers available on Mac are supported: Safari, Firefox and Chrome. This support is largely sufficient in my opinion because they are the 3 most used browsers in the world (computers and smartphones combined).
When the Bitdefender TrafficLight extension is installed on your favorite browser and protection is activated, a small icon will appear in a place provided for extensions depending on your browser (on the far right in the taskbar on Chrome and Firefox, and on the left in the URL bar in Safari).
While browsing the web, the icon may change depending on the site you are visiting: If the site is “honest” and does not appear suspicious, the icon will show you this with a small check mark.
As you can see, our site is completely clean, no need to worry while reading our articles! But if the site appears suspicious, an icon with a question mark will appear. It would therefore be better to be wary. If the site is registered as fraudulent or dangerous, then the icon will change to a cross, it is better to turn around immediately.
You can also add exceptions, put sites in “whitelist” so as not to analyze them. But be careful not to do this on unreliable sites, the alerts will no longer be displayed.
This very useful little extension also works on Google, it allows you to directly locate the sites that are offered by the search engine. The only downside is that it only works on Google . I tried on several other search engines (Yahoo !, Bing, Duckduckgo, Ecosia, Qwant …) but only Google is supported.
When we click on the checkmark for more information, we are redirected to the TrafficLight tool offered by Bitdefender. It allows to know a little more in detail the different elements on which the algorithm is based. It goes from the simplest (site classified as phishing, bank theft …) to more stringent scams (pay per click site, various scams, online casinos …).
If you want to directly analyze a website using this tool, here is a direct link: Bitdefender TrafficLight
You also have access to another extension to protect you while browsing the web: Bitdefender Anti-Tracker which, as its name suggests, will block trackers on the sites you visit. “Web tracking is the practice or technique by which a website collects, records and shares information about an individual’s activities on the web.” (cf. Wikipedia)
Clearly, this tool will allow you to limit the advertisements tracked, and to be a little more serene when browsing the web. It is ideally paired with the other Bitdefender TrafficLight extension that I told you about just before.
Another tool: the VPN
I won’t dwell on this point, I had already spoken about it a lot during my test of the old version of Total Security , but this version of Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac also includes a VPN. You should now all know what a VPN is (thanks in particular to the massive advertising of certain competing software), but it is good to briefly recall what it is for.
A VPN , but what is it? VPN is the acronym for Virtual Private Network , therefore virtual private network in French. In practice, it is simply a secure tunnel that sits between your computer and the web server you want to access. He acts as the intermediary to secure your connection. By using a VPN, you are thus protected since your connection is displayed under an IP address different from that of your internet router. Indeed, depending on the location of the VPN server you are using, you will appear in a city or country different from the one you really are.
Example: Your VPN is located in Italy, you will appear with an Italian IP for the web servers you access.
Only downside with this version: the amount of data is limited to 200 MB / day, to have an unlimited version, it will be necessary to upgrade to the higher version of the antivirus which contains this functionality. You have the choice with several countries including Europe, Asia and North / South America.
As for the price list of this software, you have several options, in particular by betting on the duration of your subscription and the number of devices you want to cover.
Note: A 30 day trial version is available, please feel free to use it
|1 year||2 years||3 years|
|1 device||€ 29.99||€ 41.99||€ 62.99|
|3 devices||€ 34.99||€ 62.99||€ 90.99|
To choose the offer that suits you best, you must already see how many devices you want to cover. If you only have a Mac (or a Hackintosh), I advise you to take the license for a single device since you will not need it for the other two.
But if you have several macOS devices that you use (or your family, friends etc.), it will be better to take a license that combines 3 devices to minimize costs.
- Trial version available
- Extensions available on Chrome, Firefox & Safari
- Good integration with macOS
- Time Machine & Ransomware Protection
- VPN: Limited to 200MB / day
- Web extensions integrated only into the Google search engine
For a low cost , you benefit from complete protection (on one or more devices), concerning real-time protection against malware, ransomware, blocking adware and trackers during your web browsing, securing your transactions in line, protection of your Time Machine backups and access to a VPN.
If you use your computer daily and spend several hours a day on it, have valuable documents or your computer is your work tool, I still recommend that you protect it. The Antivirus for Mac solution offered by Bitdefender is very complete and offers you many different services which are complementary to each other.
Below is a recap of the pros and cons of this antivirus with a final rating we give it.