Mac Antivirus

More and more, Mac users need to be aware of viruses and malware targeted at Macs. It used to be the case that Mac users didn’t have to worry as much because it tended to be Windows machines that were targeted. Today, anyone connected to the internet needs to be aware of the threat of malicious software and spyware. It’s not only different Mac operating systems that are vulnerable, it’s also specific applications such as Flash and Adobe. Web browsers are also susceptible.

The choices for Mac users in terms of antivirus protection are definitely more limited than those of Windows users. There are a few free options out there, but those choices are even more limited.

ClamXav is based on the ClamAV virus scanner. It includes protection against Windows based malware, although it tends to be a little behind in detecting malware. For home use, it’s on the “good enough” end of the spectrum, but if you’re a corporate user, it’s probably not going to provide enough protection.

PC Tools iAntivirus for Mac is protection against Mac specific threats and is free for home (or home office) use. The fact that it’s Mac specific means it runs faster and takes up less space, although it allows Mac users to carry and transmit Windows malware. iAntivirus provides real-time scanning and scheduled quick scans and scheduled updates. This product is best for Mac-only environments and currently supports Intel-based Macs running OS X. Currently in beta.

Another layer of possible protection is a phishing filter. One great thing about Firefox is that it has one built in for version 2.0 and above, so if you’re running an older version of Firefox, it’s a good idea to go update.

Some of the options that are not free are much more comprehensive and provide much better protection.

Intego VirusBarrier X5 provides scanning and guards against both Mac-specific and Windows-based malware. VirusBarrier is on the pricier end of the spectrum, but Intego specializes in Mac protection (rather than being the afterthought it is for many antivirus developers), so they tend to be on the leading edge of Mac protection.

McAfee VirusScan for Mac is another option, although not one for the single user. It’s targeted at networks and small businesses and the minimum number of licenses one can purchase is three.

MacScan from SecureMac provides spyware detection for Mac OS X v10.2.4 and higher. It has built-in support for Firefox version 3 that provides cookie cleaning and some web surfing protection. It doesn’t provide protection against any non-spyware-related Mac malware, but it does provide excellent protection against the threats that pose the greatest security risks: keyloggers, backdoors, remote access Trojans, and spyware.

Norton Antivirus 11.0 for Mac is not really targeted at Mac users so much as preventing Macs from passing on Windows-based malware. It is middle of the road in terms of expense and probably not for someone looking to protect their Mac.

Norton Antivirus Dual Protection for Mac is for those who regularly dual boot into Windows or a Windows virtual environment. One or the other of this package or Norton Antivirus 11.0 for Mac would be sufficient since they both accomplish roughly the same thing. If you tend to boot in both environments equally, this may be the better product for you.

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