Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

Summary: Security form Sophos has introduced the world's first business-strength anti-virus program for Mac users - and it's completely free for home consumers What's the catch? There isn't one!

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TOPICS: Security, Apple, Hardware
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Security form Sophos has introduced the world's first business-strength anti-virus program for Mac users - and it's completely free for home consumers!

Gallery: Sophos' Mac antivirus in action

What's the catch? There isn't one! Here's what Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, had to say:

That means your home Macs can be protected automatically in-the-background with the latest anti-virus protection, checking every program you run, every file you download, every USB stick you insert, completely free. Is there a catch you're wondering? Well, nope! There isn't!

[poll id="569"]

Why do you need an anti-virus scanner for the Mac OS, after all, isn't Mac OS immune to malware?

Think again!

Here are just a few examples of the threats that face Mac users.

Fake websites masquerading as legitimate sites:

Sexy video lures:

Hacked Twitter accounts (for example, former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki):

[poll id="570"]

Download Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition for Mac.

Topics: Security, Apple, Hardware

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108 comments
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  • Any conditions on using this in a school?

    on a couple labs. We had McAfee Enterprise but dumped it due to cost and the protection was not that good to be honest. It also used a lot of system resources. Our current solution does not support Macs and I have run into a couple Malware infections on the Macs in the past and would like to protect them in my environment.
    bobiroc
    • the usual FUD from zdnet

      @bobiroc
      let's have a look:
      - the free anti-virus detects a windows virus within a file that can't damage your mac (still: there are NO viruses and worms for the mac, NO as in zero), sure it would be nice to detect the windows virus before you send the file to your windows suffering friends

      - the other videos?
      it detects trojans!!! (programms that pretend to be something else). shocker!

      news flash: trojans for the mac have been around forever and trojans are a minuscule percentage of threats on the internet because (unlike viruses and worms) they can't spread automatically but have to single handily installed by the user himself, as always don't install programms from sources you can't trust.

      so let me get this straight again: an antivirus company wants to give you an antivirus programm for free (like a drug dealer - first shot is free and wants to sell you a paid version with "pro" features down the road) and puts some scary videos on the internet that state exactly what has been the case for about a decade now: no viruses and worms for the mac (remember the stuxnet virus is a windows only virus that can't damage your mac), but there are a few trojans (at last account a few dozen).

      so no, you still don't need antivirus software on a mac if you stay clear of a few suspicious programms from dark corners of the internet and yes, the usual pundits on zdnet don't give you some backround information, because they are lazy and uninformed or rather want to spread some FUD.
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @banned from zdnet
        Do you have students or teenage kids?
        If yes - you know that telling them to stay-away it tatamount to telling "go here - cool stuff!"....

        He said he has already seen it on the student computers - lets not get into the "don't need" bobiroc is well past that.
        rhonin
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @banned from zdnet
        Most Vulnerable Operating Systems
        X-Force tracks vulnerabilities by platform and has produced metrics this year
        to show the operating systems with the most disclosed vulnerabilities. The
        following chart shows the operating systems with the most vulnerabilities
        documented in 2008. The top ten operating systems account for nearly 75% of
        all vulnerability disclosures affecting operating systems.
        Operating System Percentage
        Apple Mac OS X Server
        Apple Mac OS X
        Linux Kernel
        Sun Solaris
        Microsoft Windows XP
        Microsoft Windows 2003 Server
        Microsoft Windows Vista
        Microsoft Windows 2000
        Microsoft Windows 2008
        IBM AIX
        Others
        14.3%
        14.3%
        10.9%
        7.3%
        5.5%
        5.2%
        5.1%
        4.8%
        4.1%
        3.7%
        24.9%
        Table 7: Operating Systems with the Most Vulnerability Disclosures, 2008
        Several operating systems have remained in the top five list over the past three years:
        ? Apple Mac OS X
        ? Apple Mac OS X Server
        ? Linux Kernel
        ? Microsoft Windows XP (with one exception in 2007)
        X-Force? 2008 Trend & Risk Report
        Page 40
        rparker009
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @banned from zdnet
        Most Vulnerable Operating Systems
        X-Force tracks vulnerabilities by platform and has produced metrics this year
        to show the operating systems with the most disclosed vulnerabilities. The
        following chart shows the operating systems with the most vulnerabilities
        documented in 2008. The top ten operating systems account for nearly 75% of
        all vulnerability disclosures affecting operating systems.
        Operating System Percentage
        Apple Mac OS X Server 14.30%
        Apple Mac OS X 14.30%
        Linux Kernel 10.90%
        Sun Solaris 7.30%
        Microsoft Windows XP 5.50%
        Microsoft Windows 2003 Server 5.20%
        Microsoft Windows Vista 5.10%
        Microsoft Windows 2000 4.80%
        Microsoft Windows 2008 4.10%
        IBM AIX 3.70%
        Others 24.90%
        Table 7: Operating Systems with the Most Vulnerability Disclosures, 2008
        Several operating systems have remained in the top five list over the past three years:
        ? Apple Mac OS X
        ? Apple Mac OS X Server
        ? Linux Kernel
        ? Microsoft Windows XP (with one exception in 2007)
        X-Force? 2008 Trend & Risk Report
        Page 40
        rparker009
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @banned from zdnet
        Most Vulnerable Operating Systems
        X-Force tracks vulnerabilities by platform and has produced metrics this year
        to show the operating systems with the most disclosed vulnerabilities. The
        following chart shows the operating systems with the most vulnerabilities
        documented in 2008. The top ten operating systems account for nearly 75% of
        all vulnerability disclosures affecting operating systems.
        Operating System Percentage
        Apple Mac OS X Server 14.30%
        Apple Mac OS X 14.30%
        Linux Kernel 10.90%
        Sun Solaris 7.30%
        Microsoft Windows XP 5.50%
        Microsoft Windows 2003 Server 5.20%
        Microsoft Windows Vista 5.10%
        Microsoft Windows 2000 4.80%
        Microsoft Windows 2008 4.10%
        IBM AIX 3.70%
        Others 24.90%
        X-Force? 2008 Trend & Risk Report
        Page 40
        rparker009
      • Wrong.

        @banned from zdnet
        http://news.techworld.com/security/5392/worlds-first-os-x-virus-hits-apple/
        Looks like you are wrong.
        kwabinalars
      • Hilarious!

        @banned from zdnet

        Mr. Cluley admonishes about the need for Mac users not to stick their heads in the sand re security, and right on cue....

        If you think a virus is defined by not requiring user interaction, you don't know what a virus is. If your restrictive definition of "virus" is accepted, it could just as easily be said that true viruses are rare for Windows as well.
        Lester Young
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @banned from zdnet
        You really should be banned for offering a screwed up answer, even if it's a joke. This was a joke wasn't it??
        eargasm
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @banned from zdnet

        "you still don't need antivirus software on a mac if you stay clear of a few suspicious programms from dark corners of the internet"

        This holds true for any computer...
        bb_apptix
    • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

      @bobiroc
      I would recommend calling the company and ask.
      That may open another "free" use for folks....
      rhonin
  • I'll pass for now.

    Since there are only a handful of infections that you have to actually do something, I'd say the threat is pretty low.

    The advice is don't install codecs from porn sites, gaming sites, or anything else other than trusted sources.
    itguy08
    • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

      @itguy08

      The same pretty much goes for Windows these days. Avoid questionable internet sources, do not download music, movies, applications from illegal/questionable sources such as P2P/BitTorrent, and browse safely recognizing phishing and security scams and avoid the porn.

      The infections may be rare (for now) but has the potential to grow as Macs and MacOS gains popularity and usage and becomes a more appealing target. Better safe than sorry.
      bobiroc
      • um, not really

        Windows just recently had an explorer exploit where clicking a web page could own your machine. No installation of anything required. And we've been hearing about this potential to grow for five years now as each year the Mac has enjoyed double-digit growth. So, what's the tipping point? First it was 3%. Then 5%, then 8%, then 10%. The Mac has passed all of those with no explosion. Perhaps the truth is that it's really hard to write an exploit that will root a unix system.
        frgough
    • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

      @itguy08
      don't let your guard down .Prevention is better than cure
      g16
    • So basically...

      You won't be getting it because there aren't many -known- viruses? Won't it be a little too late after a virus spreads through the network of arrogance mac users who refused to use an antivirus?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @goff256

        Thats the general attitude. I have seen the same attitude amongst some PC users and even IT/Network Managers. I have a couple friends that refuse to put Security Software on their Gaming machines that are connected to the internet because they claim it eats up valuable resources. I also know a Network Manager for a School District that is in my area that does not put security/antivirus software on any of his servers for the same reason because it uses resources. Even after getting infected they still refuse to protect themselves. Stupid is as Stupid does as they say.
        bobiroc
      • NO viruses

        @goff256 <br>there are NO viruses and worms that can damage your mac. No as in zero, nilch. there are a few trojans that you have to single handily install on your machine (unlike viruses and worms that spread automatically).<br><br>the windows only stuxnet virus on the other hand has just brought about damage in the billions. as thousands of windows only viruses before it.
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: Free anti-virus for your Mac - And why you need it!

        @goff256 <br><br>Not really. You keep an eye out and don't buy the hype..<br>I mean it's not like there are millions of potential viruses for the Mac like there are for Windows. <br><br>And given that most, if not all, for the Mac require you to do something + put in your password it's pretty obvious what is going on if you pay attention.

        Windows without AV software is like unprotected sex with a hooker. A Mac without AV software is like unprotected sex with your wife...
        itguy08
      • Because there will never be a Virus for OSX, right?

        The high number of vulnerabilities, higher than Windows or Linux, will never be abused by anyone. And it isn't smart to try to secure your investment (Macs cost more than everyday PCs) from potential viruses and malware.

        Then again, OSX is fading into obscurity again. Maybe that'll make sure that nobody targets it.
        Michael Alan Goff