The majority of MAC users feel superior to their Windows users counterparts in terms of Internet Safety, based on the fact that the MAC operating system remains mostly untouched by malicious infections.

However this still doesn’t mean a MAC is more secure than Windows, while I do agree that the MAC operating system is more robust and secure, there will be exploits. The major reason that these exploits haven’t been found as yet is to do with numbers. Windows is more popular, therefore it makes more sense that the writers of malicious software, viruses, etc. target the largest market share, as they wish to cause damage on a wide scale.

While MAC (and Linux) operating systems are currently more secure and robust, this doesn’t absolve the users of taking precautions to (a) secure and protect their private data, and (b) not inadvertently help spread malicious content to Windows users.

Support a Windows user, Protect Your Mac

There is a limited amount of software freely available to help protect your MAC, but I have noticed more and more Freeware, Shareware, and Open Source software is being developed for the MAC, this is probably due to the MAC growing in popularity. While there is still no major outbreak of malicious content for the MAC, it is still possible to download viruses that will affect a Windows user if you pass on the infected file.

Open Source & Freeware

ClamXav

ClamXav logoClamXav is based upon the Open Source virus checker ClamAv. This differs from ClamAv in that it has a a Graphical User Interface (rather than command line driven). The drawbacks is that it doesn’t allow real time scanning. Doing a manual scan is quick and you are ensuring that you are also helping to protect Windows users from infections.

Visit Site: www.clamxav.com

ClamAV

ClamAv logoClam AntiVirus is an open source (GPL) anti-virus toolkit for UNIX, designed especially for e-mail scanning on mail gateways. It provides a number of utilities including a flexible and scalable multi-threaded daemon, a command line scanner and advanced tool for automatic database updates. The core of the package is an anti-virus engine available in a form of shared library.

Visit Site: www.clamav.net

iAntiVirus

iAntiVirus logoiAntivirus provides real-time protection as well as automatic updates. It claims to provide protection against malware, viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware and dialer protection. The free version provides a lot of support except phone support and dedicated 24/7 support. This additional support is provided at a cost of $29.95 USD.

Visit Site: www.iantivirus.com

ESET NOD32 Antivirus for Mac (public beta)

ESET LogoNOD32 is currently released for free and is still in the testing stages. Most bugs have been fixed and it is released as a public beta version, which usually means there will be still some bugs, yet the developers are confident that the software for the most part is stable. NOD32 works as an antivirus and Anti-Spyware program and provides real time protection, and security level details for your system.

Visit Site: www.eset.com

Free Anti-virus software for the MAC is very limited, most are usually demo products with limited use, however the list above is the only products that I could find that do not limit your use of the software.

One software that is paid for, needs to get a mention and that is Avast Anti-virus. Avast provides a free version for Windows and Linux users but currently Mac users have to pay for the software. However according to some Mac forums, this may change in the near future. Some users have been writing to Avast to ask why there is no free version for the Mac, and some have received replies along the lines of “that they will consider making a free version the next time they prepare a new version for the Mac”.

This would be very welcome if they did introduce a free version, as in my opinion, Avast is one of the leading Anti-virus companies for the Windows and Linux platform.

Conclusions

While there doesn’t seem much threats for Mac users, it is still unwise to leave your system unprotected, because at some point, as the Mac grows in more popularity, more viruses and exploits will become available. It is better to take precautions the now and therefore better protect your system for the future.

Also every user should take the precaution of protecting your system so you are not inadvertently infecting other users on different operating systems.

If I have failed to mention any other Open Source or Freeware programs please feel free to leave a reply below.

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2 Comments

  1. gingerwolf

    September 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    i totally agree with the statement, part of the reason that mac users apart from the lower numbers, were getting less viruses was because they were mainly seen as a computer mainly used for design work and as such the professional nature of the owners tended to look after them more, but with an ever increasing proportion of the market going to apple products due to ipod users more macs are getting sold, the people using them will be less secure and diligent in there nature about protecting there computer, instead relying on the myth that the computers don’t get viruses, this will lead to an eventual increases in mac attacks, it goes to show you tho you can make your computer as high tech and invulnerable as possible, but you cant make the people using them any smarter.

    Reply

  2. James

    September 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for your comment and I agree that it is in most cases the people using the computers that are the weakest link when it comes to security. My experience is that most people ignore security issues thinking it will never happen to them.

    Reply

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