The Intego Internet Security Barrier X6 package for Mac OS X is an annual subscription service that offers five different programs: Personal Antispam, VirusBarrier X6, Personal Backup, ContentBarrier, and FileGuard. It is compatible with OS X 10.5 and 10.6 and is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. In this review I am going to cover Personal Antispam, Virus Barrier X6, and Personal Backup.
Personal Antispam works with the Apple Mail application. It does not take the place of the junk mail filters that are part of Mail, rather it adds another layer, one over which the user has total control. Nor does the application duplicate the rules the user has in place for junk mail settings in Mail. They all continue to function as they have been set.
Personal Antispam looks at five areas as it screens mail. The Lexical filter looks at specific words and their frequency of appearance. The Blacklist filter lists all the email addresses you indicate are spam addresses. Likewise, the Whitelist filter lists all the email addresses the application has questioned that you have indicated are OK. It allows you to check all the known domain names that you want treated as spam. The Attachment filter acts in the same manner.
Using Personal Antispam
This is an awesome application. Once you have Personal Antispam set up it creates a Spam folder, separate from your Mail Junk Folder. You will find it in the Mail Activity area under the ‘On My Mac’ tab. Named ‘Spam’, it will probably be the last folder in the list. All of the spam or questionable spam messages will be sent to that folder. While training, you should visit that folder at least once a day so you can check the contents.
To label a message you simple click on it once to highlight it, and go to the mail box icon on the tool bar and choose from the options. If you leave a message alone, it is marked spam.
Training Personal Antispam
Perhaps my favorite filter is the URL filter because so much of my spam messages arrive from other countries or little known URLs. Since installing Personal Antispam I have not received a single unwanted message containing languages I do not speak or read, from anyone wanting to sell me sex aids, from anyone telling me I am the beneficiary of someone’s will, or any of the other spam messages most of us get on a daily basis.
Selecting domain names to exclude
So far today I have received 11 spam messages that went directly to my Mail Junk folder. Another 23 different messages have been correctly identified as spam and placed in the Personal Antispam folder.
Virus Barrier X6
Virus Barrier X6 is designed to work in the background, protecting Macs from malware by constantly examining all the files that the computer reads and writes, as well as watching for suspicious activity that may be a sign of viruses acting on applications or other files. It knows the unique signatures of all known Macintosh malware. When a new malware is discovered Intego will notify the user so that updated virus definitions can be downloaded. It works with individual and networked computers.
Using Virus Barrier X6
Although there are still no known viruses that specifically attack Macs, there are numerous viruses that we can unknowingly pass on to machines with the Windows operating system. Malware, on the other hand, can cause harm to our Macs and it pays to be proactive in dealing with it.
The first time you open the application you are walked through the setup process which explains how the app works and allows you to set preferences. For instance, when explaining the section on Firewall protection the user is informed that a log record of all firewall activity is kept with the address of any attempted intruders.
In another section of the setup process the user finds that Virus Barrier X6 blocks phishing attempts. The setup process is mostly informational so that the new user has a clear picture of what the application is offering.
However, the user does make a decision about the level of protection they want, choosing from three options.
- Basic is for those who need to allow access to their Mac from a local network, but protection from invasion outside that network.
- Default is for those who do not work on a network.
- Strong is for those who want maximum protection.
I choose the default setting and from that point Virus Barrier has been running in the background. There is a widget that I can download to check the status of the program at any time. I can also get an instant update by opening the application. Even with the default setting I can determine how many times a day, and at what time a day, I want the scan to run.
Scheduling virus scanning
Overview scanning report
Personal Backup allows you three kinds of backup. You can choose to backup specific things such as your iPhoto albums or your iTunes files. You can choose to make a bootable backup of your computer’s hard drive, or you can choose to synchronize documents between locations.
Using Personal Backup
This app uses scripts as part of its foundation and that allows the user freedom to setup backups that meet individual needs. For instance when I selected Backup I was given options from my home folder. From there I chose Music > iTunes > iTunes Music because the actual music in my iTunes library was all I really wanted to backup to a special file. I connected a small external hard drive to my computer and instructed the application to save the music there. Almost instantly it was done. I could have chosen to save to my iDisk or even a DVD. I also had the option of setting a scheduled, routine backup.
For Bootable Backup, which creates a clone of my hard drive, I selected my hard drive from the options given, selected the external hard drive to which the clone was to be saved, and set the time the script was to run.
Personal backup settings
I was not able test synchronization.
What is the cost?
Intego’s Internet Security Barrier X6 is US$79.95 a year for two Macs. A family pack license is US$149.95 a year for five machines. Each individual application is available for US$34.95 a year.
Do I recommend Intego’s Internet Security Barrier X6?
I do. I think these are exceptional applications, each of which offer several options for the user. Personal Antispam, working in conjunction with Mail Junk filtering, has reduced my spam to less than two a day. By the time I finish training it, I expect that number to be zero.
We (Mac users) have to give up our smugness about viruses and start preparing against them. Virus Barrier is an easy to use and well maintained way to do that.
I like Personal Backup as a backup option because it offers three kinds of backup options.
I think the annual fee is a fair trade off for the constant updates provided by Intego to keep the security and virus protection in place.