TECH TALK: Finally, an anti-virus offering Mac users will want to check out

Donovan Hoggan
By Donovan Hoggan
November 18th, 2010

 Well, it’s happened. I am now recommending anti-virus for Macs. Is there some new development? Are they more vulnerable now for some reason? No, the threat hasn’t changed, just the response options.

Macs run very differently from Windows. The only way to get a virus is to deliberately install it. If you check out this blog entry (http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2010/11/02/anti-virus-mac-free/) you’ll see what I mean. Each trojan has to be downloaded and installed, including entering your password.

Compared to Windows machines, this is incredibly secure. Windows is vulnerable to attacks through any number of different holes. It doesn’t even have to tell you that it’s downloading viruses; just going to the wrong webpage is sufficient. Check out http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3351512772400238297# at the 1:57 minute mark.

With a Mac, this wouldn’t have happened since the user has to enter a password to allow the software to run. The trouble is so many Mac users feel invulnerable, so they don’t mind running strange software and many don’t pay nearly as much attention as they should to the warnings that their Macs give them.

Another issue is the good neighbour factor. While Mac users can’t get the infections our Windows counterparts can, we make excellent carriers. The PowerPoint presentations, neat web addresses, etc. that we pass on to family and friends will still carry whatever viruses they had when they came to us.

The problem has always been that there are no real-time (ie. always running), good-quality anti-viruses for Mac that are free. This has now changed. Sophos, which provides excellent protection, has released Sophos for Mac for free. No catches, no “free for now, then you have to pay”, no registration page that gives them permission to spam the stuffing out of you. Just plain free. It’s at http://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools/free-mac-anti-virus/.

The one warning I’ll give you is that it may do damage to your Time Machine back-up if it finds a virus in it. Be sure that you have a second copy or that you’re using Mozy Online back-up (http://tinyurl.com/2dluf50).

Sophos for Mac is light enough that you won’t even notice it running, until it starts finding viruses. It’s easy to use, it’s free and it provides what I believe to be the absolute best malware protection in the business.

And, no, they’re not paying me anything to say all of this. Not that I’d object if they tried………are you listening? Guys??? Guys???? Oh well, it was worth a try.

Categories: Op/EdTechnology


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