Let's start with the GOOD NEWS:
Intego VirusBarrier is the only anti-malware program I can recommend for Mac OS X. Its interface and features are unmatched by any similar program. The signature updates are regular and reliable. Intego stay right up-to-date with all Mac OS X malware. The program is 100% compatible with Snow Leopard. Ignore all reports to the contrary. For Mac users who want a top notch single-user anti-malware program, this is the only one. Nothing compares, except perhaps Sophos, which is only designed for network users.
The new VirusBarrier 10.6 version adds a bunch of new security features worth the upgrade price. Some features are redundant to those already in Safari and FireFox. The reverse firewall is the only new feature I care about. Reverse Firewalls stop dead any way to zombie your Mac. They also stop all software from 'phoning home'. I've been using Little Snitch for years and love it. The reverse firewall in VirusBarrier 10.6 is not as good as Little Snitch. But it's there and it's useful.
A new single user license for VirusBarrier costs $49.95 and protects two Macs. A new family license is $69.95 and protects five Macs.The 10.6 upgrade is potentially free for those who purchased VirusBarrier 10.5 on or after November 25, 2009 through April 13, 2010. See Intego for details. Otherwise, the upgrade is $34.95 for single users. A family pack upgrade is $59.95 for protecting five Macs. Every new or upgrade license includes a year's subscription of malware signatures.
Intego also provide an occasionally useful and intelligent Mac Security Blog.
Now the BAD NEWS:
1) Accompanying the 10.6 update is a new advertising campaign that makes several wrong and ridiculous claims consisting of what is traditionally called BULL SHITE or FUD. Enjoy:
"More and more malware is discovered every day. Macintosh computers face threats from viruses, Trojan horses, worms and more."Incorrect! There are ONLY Trojan horses for Mac OS X. Period. The End. If you believe otherwise, you've been duped.
I hope Intego have brains enough to dump the false advertising before they get sued. I despise FUD and would hate to have to put Intego on a par with Symantec, the renowned masters of anti-Mac security FUD and makers of easily the worst anti-malware for Mac.
2) Yearly malware subscriptions for VirusBarrier are required and expensive. $29.95 for one year. Yikes! A two year subscription is 50% off the second year at $44.90. If you're up for renewal and are using version 10.5, you might as well upgrade to 10.6 at $34.95 and get the included one year subscription, saving yourself $25.
3) Intego outright refuse to provide a list of malware detected and removed by VirusBarrier. That's idiotic and I've directly told them so. They don't care. Instead, I follow the imperfect but useful Threats Database provided by the PC Tools site, the makers of the up and coming competitor program iAntiVirus.
4) And of course, if you turn on the Real-Time Scanner feature, expect VirusBarrier to eat your CPU. So turn it off. You don't need it unless you're dealing with LUSERs, in which case all you have to do is prevent them from having access to an administrator account and password. It's seriously that simple.
So what is VirusBarrier for? It protects you from LUSER behavior and lets you find and wipe out Windows malware you may be passing along to Windows users.
If you're a conscientious Mac user who checks the validity of all software you install, you don't need VirusBarrier to protect your Mac. There are less reliable free alternatives if you want to try them out, such as ClamXav and iAntiVirus. (Avoid MacScan, which is ultra-lame).
I'll be posting a detailed feature review in Part II after I test the new VirusBarrier 10.6.3 update.