You know by now that while macOS security is better than what Windows offers, you still need to install antivirus protection on your Macs. Your choices range from no-frills products that focus strictly on removing and preventing malware to full-blown security suites with bushels of protective features. G Data Antivirus for Mac lives at the no-frills end of that spectrum. It does its job in a workmanlike fashion and doesn’t go beyond. That style will surely suit some, but we like to see more extensive security options.
What Does G Data Antivirus for Mac Cost?
Pricing for macOS antivirus products varies, but the most common price to protect a single Mac is $39.95 per year, or thereabouts. That’s what G Data costs. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, ESET, and Webroot are among the others in that price range. Interestingly, G Data’s own Windows antivirus goes for $10 less.
If you want to protect three Macs with G Data, you’ll pay $55.95. Raising that to a five-license subscription takes the price to $71.95. All in all, G Data’s pricing is a bit on the low side.
When you start looking at protection for multiple devices, McAfee AntiVirus Plus for Mac starts looking very nice. You pay $59.95 per year, but that subscription lets you install protection on all your macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android devices.
Some macOS antivirus tools require that you keep up with the very latest macOS versions. Norton 360 Deluxe for Mac, for example, only supports the current version plus the previous two, meaning that at present it supports Catalina or later. Others are fine even with rather old versions. Intego’s support goes back almost 10 years, to macOS 10.9 (Mavericks). G Data falls somewhere in the middle, with support for macOS versions starting with 10.12 (Sierra).
What Do the Independent Testing Labs Say About G Data?
When I review Windows antivirus products, I run an extensive set of hands-on tests, supplementing my findings with reports from four independent antivirus testing labs. My test programs and protocols evolved over years of testing on Windows. On the macOS platform, I don’t have the equivalent hands-on tests, so lab reports from the two labs that cover macOS become more important.
Unfortunately, both labs omit G Data from their reports. To be fair, only about a third of the products I track appear in any lab reports, and only half of those show up in reports from both labs.
AV-Test Institute(Opens in a new window) rates antivirus products, whether for macOS or Windows, on their Protection, Performance, and Usability, with six points available for each. All but one of the products I follow earned a perfect 18 points. AV-Comparatives(Opens in a new window) reports the percentage of macOS malware detection, and separately reports detection of Windows malware and of potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). All tested products except Intego Mac Internet Security reached certification by this lab.
In terms of lab scores, four products showed up as big winners. Avast One Essential for Mac, AVG, Bitdefender, and Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac took perfect scores from both labs.
Getting Started With G Data
You can install the macOS antivirus as a standalone product, or as part of your subscription to either of G Data’s suite-level products. In standalone mode, you install the software, set up an online account, and activate protection with your license key. If you’re installing from an existing license, you activate by linking to your online account. Either way, it’s simple.
G Data’s Windows products have a strong resemblance to each other. A red band across the top holds square icon panels representing the product’s various features, and the remaining screen real estate, mostly white, reflects the selected feature. The macOS edition could hardly look more different.
On a Mac, shades of black and gray dominate the main window, with a simple menu at left. When everything is hunky-dory, you see a large circled green checkmark and the words “Your Mac is Protected”. If anything is amiss, the display changes to a circled red X, with the message “Your Mac is at Risk” followed by details about what’s amiss.
As with the Windows product, you must install browser extensions for full protection. Interestingly, the macOS edition supports Chrome and Firefox but not Safari.
With everything installed and ready, I ran a full scan on my test Mac. The scan took 90 minutes, more than double the current average of 38 minutes. Do remember, though, that after your initial full scan the real-time protection features take most of the responsibility for keeping you safe from malware.
How Well Does G Data Handle Windows Malware?
You might think checking for Windows malware on a Mac is pointless. It’s true that a Windows program, malicious or otherwise, just can’t run on a Mac. However, it’s still possible that your Mac might act as a carrier, giving the Windows malware access to your network. Almost all Mac antivirus programs aim to knock out Windows malware along with Mac-specific attacks, and G Data is no exception.
To test this feature, I simply copied my current Windows malware collection to a thumb drive and plugged it into the target Mac. G Data didn’t react right away, nor did it automatically scan the files when I opened their containing folder. To continue the test, I dragged the folder onto the main window of the antivirus and launched a scan.
G Data detected 96% of the samples and offered to delete, disinfect, or quarantine them; I chose quarantine. This is quite a good score, given that the current average is 77%. G Data outscored all the competition except for Webroot and Total Defense Essential Anti-Virus for Mac, which both eked out a 97% score.
Good Protection Against Phishing
Being a malware coder is a lot of work. You have to know the intimate details of the operating system you plan to attack, and you need coding skills to get past all the defenses. It’s a lot easier to fool unsuspecting web surfers with fake versions of their favorite secure websites. Once they log in to your fraudulent site, you own their account, whether it’s email, banking, dating, or something else. Creating phishing pages can bring in big bucks with little effort.
Like most antivirus programs, G Data includes a component designed to detect phishing pages and other dangerous pages, diverting the browser to a safe warning page. On the Mac, it protects Chrome and Firefox, but as noted there’s no extension for Safari. I tested the Mac edition using the same set of samples that I used with G Data Antivirus and got the same results.
For this test, I gather hundreds of fresh phishing frauds from websites that track such things. I make sure to collect both known phish and sites that are too new to have been analyzed and blacklisted. I launch each site simultaneously in four browsers, one protected by the antivirus under test and three using the phishing detection built into Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. I eliminate any that don’t load properly in all four browsers, and any that aren’t truly phishing frauds. Then I calculate the scores.
G Data detected 93% of the verified phishing frauds, the same as Bitdefender. It’s worth noting that the three browsers fared quite poorly in this test, lagging as much as 40 percentage points behind G Data.
This isn’t a bad score, but others have done quite a bit better. McAfee, Norton, and Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus for Mac are the big winners, each detecting 100% of the phishing samples in their respective tests.
What Else Does G Data Do?
Just as on Windows, some macOS antivirus programs offer a variety of security bonus features. Clario and Sophos prevent misuse of your webcam by spy software. Trend Micro and Sophos Home Premium for Mac offer a modicum of parental control. Intego, McAfee, and Norton add a firewall to their antivirus protection. Avast, Bitdefender, and Trend Micro include components specifically designed to combat ransomware. And so on.
As for G Data, well, it doesn’t do any of those things. G Data keeps a strong focus on the basic tasks of removing any existing malware and preventing further malware attacks, period.
G Data Antivirus for Mac provides malware protection for your Mac, no more and no less. It earned a good score in our phishing protection test and a great score for detecting Windows malware, but its full scan took well over double the current average time. G Data is a good antivirus in the macOS realm, but doesn’t reach greatness.
For macOS security that goes well beyond the basics, our Editors’ Choice honors go to Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Norton 360 Deluxe for Mac. Both take perfect scores from AV-Test; Bitdefender adds a perfect score from AV-Comparatives. Norton is a full cross-platform suite, with firewall, password manager, no-limits VPN, and more. Bitdefender actively blocks trackers in your browsers, balks ransomware attempting to damage your files, and includes its own VPN.
The Bottom Line
G Data Antivirus for Mac removes any malware that may have infested your Mac and prevents future attacks.
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