Anti-virus applications are essential regardless of what Operating System you may have. Many Linux and MAC users think they are invulnerable to virus threats, and while this is mostly true, virus threats will grow on these platforms. Also MAC and Linux users should protect themselves as they can carry virus infections that will affect windows users.

Windows has many free applications available for their Operating System, but for the MAC, free anti-virus software is very limited, with most of the free anti-virus needing to be manually checking your system. For this article, we wanted a free anti-virus application that does automatic scanning and free updates.

Windows Operating System

The best anti-virus software for WIndows (in my opinion) is Avast Anti-virus. Avast has free options and paid options available, but with the free version, you get active scanning of your computer and web pages, with regular daily updates.

Avast does get some negative publicity for alerting to false positives (ie claiming it has detected a virus threat when there is none from a programmes processes), however in all my time I have used Avast there hasn’t been many false positives, and I would rather have a scanner that is too sensitive rather than not sensitive enough.

Avast is available for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, which can be downloaded for free from

MAC Operating System

Finding a free active scanning virus software for the MAC was very hard, also finding an application that was compatible with MAC OSX 10.4 was even harder.

The free applications I found, did not have the option of active scanning, and those that did were only for 10.5 and higher. The reason that there is not much anti-virus software for the MAC is because there is very limited threats and many MAC users (and Linux users) do not take virus threats seriously as most viruses are intended for Windows users.

However, MAC and Linux users can still pass on viruses to Windows users, and that is probably the most important reason for securing your system, so you are not inadvertently infecting other peoples systems.

I managed to find a scanner that provides the same level of service as Avast for Windows users, and that is Sophos Anti-virus.

Sophos Anti-virus is compatible with MAC OSX 10.4 and upwards and provides regular updates and active scanning. Sophos does not use much system resources to run, but occasionally your MAC will slow down with it’s usage, but this only happens in a minority of cases.

In my opinion Sophos is the MAC equivalent of Avast for Windows and I highly recommend this anti-virus software for MAC users. The interface is very straightforward and while it has never detected any viruses, it is good to know that my MAC is secure against future threats.

You can download Sophos Anti virus for free from


Which security programmes do you use and swear by? Do you have any recommendations for online security and privacy, or have any tips on keeping your system safe from infection? Why not post in the comments below and give your suggestions and recommendations.

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One Comment

  1. Jim McManus

    February 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks James,
    this is very helpfull


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