Do I Need Firewall With Free Avast For Mac

Antivirus for Mac cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

  • Best paid antivirus for Mac:Sophos Home Premium for Mac[]
  • Best free antivirus for Mac:Avast Free Mac Security[]

Do I Need A Firewall With Free Avast

Updated 08/15/19: Added our review of Avira Free Antivirus, a worthy free option that’s easy to use and effective.

Best overall antivirus software

on Sophos

Best free antivirus software

Though Sophos does offer a good free version of its software, Avast Free Mac Security edges it out as the best free antivirus software for macOS. In security lab tests, Avast detected 99.9 percent of macOS malware, and 100 percent of Windows malware. However, if you want more advanced protection (like ransomware detection), you’ll need to upgrade to paid software.

What to look for in antivirus software

By our reckoning, antivirus software should be able to neutralize a threat before it can begin wreaking havoc. That means preventing the download, installation, or execution of malicious software.

How we test

Each software package is evaluated creating a clean installation of macOS Mojave, cloning it for each AV product, and then booting separately into each one to install a different package. This was to ensure that previous app installations didn’t interfere with new ones — sometimes AV software treats other AV software as an infection.

  • A nearly perfect score on macOS malware detection
  • Ransomware monitoring
  • Native browser plug-in or system-level Web proxy
  • A high score on Windows malware detection

Privacy concerns

Using an anti-virus product, especially any that includes tools to also improve your online privacy, may lull you into believing you’re safe from personal and private information leaking out. That’s not quite the case. While there’s no reason to panic, you should consider a few reasonable issues.

Best Firewall For Mac

All of our antivirus for Mac reviews

If you have specific requirements or just wish to see other options, below is a list of all the antivirus software we’ve reviewed. We’ll keep evaluating new and refreshed software on a regular basis, so be sure to come back to see what else we’ve put through the ringer.

Create a new application rule

Default rules are created automatically for applications from known and trusted sources the first time you start the application after Avast Premium Security or Avast Omni is installed. Application Rules are organized into groups, predefined according to application vendor. To add an application to an existing group:

  1. Open the Avast user interface and go to Protection ▸ Firewall.
  2. Click Application settings at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click New application rule and select a group (vendor).
  4. Locate and select the executable file of the application you want to add.
  5. Click the group name, then use the orange bars to indicate the level of access you want to allow.

Adjust access restrictions

You can set connection allowances for each application or process to determine how strictly Firewall monitors incoming or outgoing communication.

  • One bar (Friends out): outgoing connections with Friends networks only.
  • Two bars (Friends in/out): incoming and outgoing connections with Friends networks only.
  • Three bars (Internet out): all outgoing connections to the internet.
  • Four bars (Friends in and Internet out): incoming connections with Friends networks only, and all outgoing connections to the internet.
  • Five bars: (All connections): all incoming and outgoing connections to the internet.
  • To Block all connections for an application, hover your cursor over the orange bars and click the red block symbol that appears.

Set actions for unauthorized connections

In addition to defining the types of connections you authorize for applications or processes, you can also specify how Firewall behaves when it detects a non-authorized connection. To define Firewall behavior for a non-authorized connection:

  1. Click a group (or vendor name) in the Application column to open the list of applications or processes in that group.
  2. Select an application or process to expand its individual communication settings.
  3. Use the drop-down menu to manage the program’s behavior. The following behaviors are available:
  • Default rule: Firewall decides to allow or block connections based on the settings of the active Firewall Network profile (Private or Public).
  • Auto-decide: Firewall allows connections with verified applications, but blocks connections from unknown or suspicious applications.
  • Block: Firewall blocks all other connections.
  • Ask: Firewall asks you to decide if you want to allow or block a connection each time a new request is received. Selecting this option may result in frequent and potentially obtrusive alerts.
  • Private: a lower level of security suitable for when your PC is connected to a trusted network such as your home or work network. This profile enables better connectivity, and permits all communication within the network.
  • Public: a higher level of security suitable for when your PC is connected to a public network such as in a cafe or airport. Because public networks present greater security risks, no incoming communication is permitted when this profile is set.

Specify authorized ports

Tighten rule restrictions even further by specifying the network ports each application uses for communication when an incoming or ongoing connection is allowed. To specify authorized ports:

  1. Click a group (or vendor name) in the Application column to open the list of applications or processes in that group.
  2. Select an application or process to expand its individual communication settings.
  3. Specify the Outbound ports and Inbound ports that you allow the application or process to communicate with. Specify ports in the following ways:
  4. Type specific port numbers into the text box. For multiple ports, separate each port number with a comma.
  5. Select All from the drop-down menu to authorize communication with all ports.
  6. Select a predefined port number from the drop-down menu.
  7. Optionally, configure Packet rules from the Application rules screen by following steps 1–2 above, then clicking Packet rules. While Firewall uses Application Rules to control traffic according to individual rules for programs or services, Packet rules can also be configured to control network traffic using specified connection parameters. Packet rules enable you to view and manage Firewall rules according to the information contained in network packets, such as network protocols, source or destination IP addresses, or local and remote ports.
  • Avast Premium Security 19.x
  • Avast Omni 1.x
  • Avast Premier 19.x
  • Avast Internet Security 19.x
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education — 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise — 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 / Pro / Enterprise — 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate — Service Pack 1, 32 / 64-bit



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