VirusBarrier X6 Reviewer's Guide

About This Reviewer's Guide

This guide is designed to help reviewers find and understand VirusBarrier X6's most important features quickly. It does not cover every feature, but rather supplements the VirusBarrier X6 User's Manual, which is the program's full documentation. Links in this Reviewer's Guide lead to the program's user's manual.

Should you have any questions, you can contact Nicola Davies at Bamboo PR for more information.

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Requirements and Installation

Intego VirusBarrier X6 requires:

To install and serialize Intego VirusBarrier X6, see the Intego Getting Started Manual.

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Pricing and Availability

Intego VirusBarrier X6 will be available from January 11, 2010. The program will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

Intego VirusBarrier X6 will cost $49.95 (€49.95 ex VAT; £41.76 ex VAT) for a two-seat license; all copies of VirusBarrier X6 allow users to install the program on two Macs. This license gives users the ability to use the program for 12 months from the date of installation, and includes all updates and upgrades to the program and to its filters and virus definitions during this period. (Filters are upgraded at least twice a week, and more often when new malware is discovered.)

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What is VirusBarrier X6?

VirusBarrier X6 is much more than just an antivirus. It's the only antivirus program for Mac that includes full anti-malware protection as well as a firewall and network-protection features. No other antivirus for Mac includes as many features as VirusBarrier X6.

While viruses, Trojan horses, worms and other forms of malware are a constant threat to computers of all kinds, cyber-criminals are turning to new techniques to infect and control your Mac. These new threats come silently, with little warning, over the Internet: in many cases, simply visiting a booby-trapped web page can compromise your Mac. Focusing on malware or network attacks alone is no longer sufficient to protect Macs from the dangers of the Internet. For this reason, Intego has decided to integrate the functions of its acclaimed VirusBarrier antivirus and NetBarrier personal firewall programs into a single application, optimized to manage the combined attacks that are increasingly common.

VirusBarrier X6, the latest version of Intego's network and malware security program, includes the many defenses that have protected Macs for more than ten years in earlier versions of VirusBarrier and NetBarrier, but adds much more. With multiple threat-detection techniques, improved methods of detection, combined detection protocols, proactive behavioral analysis, and a full range of defensive functions, VirusBarrier X6 protects Macs from all known network-based threats, as well as all known malware.

VirusBarrier X6 detects and eradicates:

Today's attacks include Trojan horses, cross-site scripting, spyware, clickjacking, phishing, poisoned JavaScript, malicious Java applets and much more. No longer do hackers create viruses just for the thrill of seeing computers getting infected. Cyber-criminals are in it for the money, and use their attacks to hijack infected Macs' DNS settings to send them to bogus web sites and harvest their passwords or credit card numbers. They create botnets, networks of infected computers, which respond to their controls to send out spam or attack other computers. They install rootkits to provide remote access to an infected computer, so they can steal passwords or other personal information. Or they create exploits that take advantage of vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, or in certain software it uses (Flash Player, QuickTime, PHP, Apache, etc.), to take over your Mac.

VirusBarrier X6 protects Macs from network intrusions by constantly filtering all the activity that enters and leaves through the Internet or a network. VirusBarrier X6 protects Macs from thieves, hackers and intruders, and warns users automatically if any suspicious activity occurs.

VirusBarrier X6 protects Macs from:

By combining the features of VirusBarrier and NetBarrier into a single program, Intego makes it easier for Mac users to protect themselves from all types of threats and attacks.

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VirusBarrier X6's Overview Screen

When you launch VirusBarrier X6, you see its Overview screen. This screen displays information about how VirusBarrier X6 is running and provides real-time feedback on its activities. It also includes buttons and indicators that provide access to all of the program's main functions.

Looking at the window, you can see that it's separated into seven sections that contain information and/or buttons:

  1. The NetUpdate Status Bar* tells whether VirusBarrier X6's anti-malware filters are up to date and lets you check for updates using Intego NetUpdate, which is installed with VirusBarrier X6.
  2. Function Buttons* lead to VirusBarrier X6's many controls. The four on the left lead to settings for malware protection: For details, see Protecting Your Mac from Viruses and Malware. The four on the right lead to settings for network protection: for details, see Protecting Your Mac from Network Attacks.
  3. Malware protection indicators briefly show how VirusBarrier X6 currently protects your Mac from viruses and other malware. It also includes two indicators for VirusBarrier X6's Real-Time scanner, which examines new and modified files automatically. For details, see Protecting Your Mac from Viruses and Malware.
  4. On-Demand Scanning controls include the Orb, which is a progress and status indicator for active malware scans. The two buttons below the Orb let you select files to scan, and stop or pause an active scan. For details, see Protecting Your Mac from Viruses and Malware.
  5. Network protection indicators shows your current firewall settings and other ways that VirusBarrier X6 is protecting your computer from network threats, along with network traffic levels. For details, see Protecting Your Mac from Network Attacks.
  6. Configuration settings* let you save and change protection settings and change configurations at will. For details, see VirusBarrier X6 Preferences and Configurations.
  7. Monitoring tools*, such as a Network window, logs, Whois and Traceroute functions. For details, see Using VirusBarrier X6 Monitoring Tools.

* The four areas marked with an asterisk - NetUpdate, Function buttons, Configuration settings and Monitoring tools - remain visible at all times. The other three parts of the screen change, depending on which Function button is selected.

The Intego VirusBarrier X6 User Manual examines each of the above elements in detail.

As you'll see in the next two sections of this guide, VirusBarrier X6 has many ways to protect you against malware and network threats - more than any other program for Mac. Some are turned on by default, while others only become active on your command. In the top left corner of many screens is an On/Off slider that lets you enable or disable that type of protection: if you find that you're not getting a kind of protection you expect (or vice-versa), ensure that the slider is in the correct position.

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Tour of VirusBarrier X6's Anti-Malware Features

VirusBarrier X6 has so many features, it's easy to lose track of them. The Intego VirusBarrier X6 User Manual takes you through all of them, screen by screen.

As a reviewer, however, you may want to consider VirusBarrier X6 in terms of how it solves specific Mac security problems. This section helps you do so.

Automatic ("Real-Time") Malware Scanning

When you first install VirusBarrier, and run the program's Setup Assistant, it offers to scan your entire hard drive and all attached volumes for malware. From then on, it scans all new or changed files automatically.

For settings to disable the Real-Time Scanner or change its behavior, click the Scan Settings button. Then, click the Real-Time Scanner tab.

Additional settings are under the Advanced tab on that screen.

VirusBarrier X6's Real-Time scanner is extremely fast, and generally doesn't cause any noticeable slowdown in your computer, even when scanning large numbers of files. You can check this using Activity Monitor, located in your Utilities folder; look for processes with "virusbarrier" in their names. The CPU and disk priority for scan operations menu lets you choose how much priority VirusBarrier X6 has when running manual scans.

On-Demand Malware Scanning

VirusBarrier X6 offers four ways to scan suspicious files, folders, or volumes on your command:

Scheduled Malware Scanning

In addition to its Real-Time and On-Demand scans, you can set schedules to have VirusBarrier X6 run scans at specific times or following specific events, such as after VirusBarrier X6's anti-malware filters are updated, or when you mount an external disk. To do so, click the Schedules button, then the Enable schedules checkbox.

You can add as many scheduled scans as you like in the area below that checkbox by clicking the + sign, or remove scheduled scans by clicking the - sign in the schedule to be deleted. The popup menus provide options of what to scan, how often, and how.

Malware on Non-Mac Platforms

Many people run Windows and Linux virtual machines on their Macs, or work with Windows users regularly. VirusBarrier X6 scans for Windows malware on Macs and in folders shared between Windows installations and Mac OS X so Mac users don't spread viruses to Windows, and so they don't pass such malware on to colleagues. And it can scan a Boot Camp volume, for users who dual-boot their Macs. VirusBarrier X6 can also scan for malware on iPhones and iPod touches; when those devices are connected, just choose them from the Select button below the Orb.

Protection for these matters is enabled by default. Should you want to turn it off, click the Scan Settings button and unselect checkboxes in the "Scan for" section.

Mac Trojans

One particularly nasty type of malware is the Trojan Horse, or "Trojan", which pretends to be a benign application but is secretly damaging your computer. VirusBarrier X6 can block the activities of Trojan horses that have been installed on a Mac, even if VirusBarrier X6 has not scanned that Mac's startup volume.

You can enable protection against individual Trojans, or against all known Trojans, by clicking the Firewall button and then clicking the Trojan tab. Then, select the Trojans you'd like to guard against.

Malware in Archives

When a virus or other piece of malware has been compressed in an archive, it no longer resembles the original program - and some antivirus applications fail to recognize it. But VirusBarrier X6 understands most types of archives, and can scan files they contain. Malware can't hide from VirusBarrier X6!

You can change how VirusBarrier X6 scans archives by clicking the Scan Settings button > Archives tab.

Handling Malware

What do you do when you find malware? Some antivirus programs give few choices, but VirusBarrier X6 can react to malware in several ways:

You can see how VirusBarrier X6 reacts when it finds malware by downloading this test file from eicar.org. This file will help you see how alerts display, and what options you have when dealing with malware.

Here's a VirusBarrier X6 alert for an RSPlug Trojan horse:

A user sees an alert like this and has four options. They can reveal the malware in the Finder, ignore it (if they are sure it's safe), put it in the Quarantine Zone, or repair it.

Manually Trusting Specific Items

If you have files, folders, or volumes that you know are safe, VirusBarrier X6 lets you define them as a "trusted" files. To do so, click the Trusted Files button, then either click the + button, navigate to the item, and click Add.

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Tour of VirusBarrier X6's Network Protection Features

Despite its name, VirusBarrier X6 doesn't only protect Macs from viruses and malware. It includes the most complete suite of network defense and monitoring tools of any product of its type. VirusBarrier X6 incorporates features from Intego's former product NetBarrier, which by itself has won widespread praise.

Built-In Personal Firewall

One of the most effective ways to block network-based threats is to use a firewall. That can be difficult and confusing to set up, but VirusBarrier X6's firewall tools make it easy. To start, click the Firewall button > Firewall Rules tab. You see five basic firewall options, with animations that graphically explain what each one does.

By clicking the Advanced button, you see exactly which rules make up each of the built-in firewall settings.

You can also define your own firewall settings, which can contain rules to block or allow communication by source, destination, service, or interface, and that are enabled and disabled on a schedule you define. To do so:

Setting up firewall rules can be complex, so a special section of the VirusBarrier X6 User's Manual, Appendix: Creating Custom Firewall Rules, covers this feature.

Other Types of Network Attacks

Several categories of network attacks attempt to overwhelm your Mac with repeated or misleading activity, scan it for weaknesses, or allow hackers to gain access to it. VirusBarrier X6 protects against such attacks with tools that you can find by clicking the Antivandal button > Antivandal Policy tab. The specific activities it guards against are:

On the Antivandal Policy screen, controls in the right column let you define what VirusBarrier X6 should do when such attacks occur. Note that the Policy section relates to all attack types; however, some attack types have their own individual settings, which you see when you click the attack type and then click the Advanced tab.

Clicking the Options button in the bottom-right corner brings up additional settings that affect protection against all attack types.

Finally, you can make VirusBarrier X6 ignore activity from a specific IP address or domain by clicking the Trusted Addresses tab, then clicking the + sign at the bottom-left of the screen, and typing the relevant address. You can also add specific addresses that have launched attacks on your Mac to the Blocked Addresses list; click the Blocked Addresses tab to see this list.

Web Protection

VirusBarrier X6 has tools to protect you against a number of web-based threats, as well as privacy tools that help you surf the web without leaving as many traces. These tools are available by clicking the Surf button. Tabs on the Surf page contain controls for each type of threat:

Application-Based Threats

In this always-connected age, we're used to applications chattering to each other over the Internet. That makes it harder than ever to stop a rogue program from sending information we want to keep private. VirusBarrier X6's Anti-Spyware protection gives you tools to prevent such communications: to use it, click the Privacy button > Anti-Spyware tab.

The Options section appears by default, allowing you to define how you're alerted to suspicious activity, and whether to allow activity that VirusBarrier X6 knows to be part of Mac OS X's normal operation ("Trust System Processes"). To make VirusBarrier X6 block the network activity of a specific application, click the + sign in the bottom-left corner, then find the application and click Add.

You can then define which ports that application is allowed to use for communication by clicking the + sign in the bottom-middle of the screen. By default, VirusBarrier adds a rule that allows communications through the most common ports for that type of application, when possible. You can change that to any port you want by typing its number, and then determine whether to allow or deny outgoing connections by changing the popup menu to the right.

Data Theft

VirusBarrier X6 can examine data packets leaving your computer and alert you when specific data is sent. You can have it watch for any kind of string, thereby preventing transmission of credit-card numbers, Social Security numbers, and the like. To enable this protection, click the Privacy button > Data Vault tab. Then forbid specific data from leaving your computer by clicking the + sign in the bottom-left of the screen.

You can permit those data to leave your system through specific ports by clicking the + sign in the bottom-middle of the screen and typing the port number. Or, to permit your computer to transmit those data through a group of related ports (for example, through e-mail), click and hold the + button and select a type of communication: VirusBarrier X6 will include all ports that that communication type uses.

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Tour of VirusBarrier X6's Network Monitoring Features

VirusBarrier X6 provides you with several tools to monitor network traffic in and out of your Mac, as well as thorough logs of all of the program's activity. Controls for these tools are in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Monitoring functions are also available through selections under the View menu, and by using keyboard shortcuts. They are:

Log

Option-Command-L

Shows a record of VirusBarrier's activities, and traffic to and from your Mac to the Internet or local networks

Services

Option-Command-1

Shows a list of ways that your Mac is prepared to provide information to the outside world

Traceroute

Option-Command-2

Shows the network path that a signal takes to get from your Mac to another computer

Whois

Option-Command-3

Shows information about the owners and managers of Internet domains

Traffic

Option-Command-4

Shows network traffic entering and leaving your Mac

Networks

Option-Command-5

Shows outside networks that are currently available to your Mac

Each of these features is described in Using VirusBarrier X6 Monitoring Tools.

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Keeping VirusBarrier X6 Up-to-Date

Purchase of VirusBarrier X6 is a one-year subscription to both the program and automatic updates of filters to protect your Mac against new threats and malware. Intego's Virus Monitoring Center constantly seeks out active and proof-of-concept threats; when Intego discovers one, the company typically develops protection against it within 24 hours, and makes it available to all active VirusBarrier X6 subscribers. VirusBarrier X6 filters are updated at least twice a week for new threats, and more often when necessary.

The NetUpdate Status Bar gives quick access to Intego's filter subscription service. Clicking the Check Now button tells NetUpdate, a program installed with VirusBarrier X6, to check for updates to VirusBarrier X6, its filters, and any other Intego software installed.

Full details about NetUpdate is in the Intego Getting Started Manual.

Conclusion

We hope you've found this reviewer's guide helpful. It gives you an overview of the program, but to explore its many features in detail, check the VirusBarrier X6 User's Manual. If you have any questions about the program in general or about specific features, you can contact Nicola Davies at Bamboo PR for more information.