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AV on my Macs? Say it ain't so!

As fellow ZDNet blogger, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, notes, Apple now recommends the use of antivirus software on your Mac. UGH.
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Written by Christopher Dawson on

As fellow ZDNet blogger, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, notes, Apple now recommends the use of antivirus software on your Mac. UGH. Really? The relative immunity of Macs to the plethora of malware floating about the Net has always been a selling point for the machines, especially in schools. It's one less bit of software to buy, one less thing to manage, one less worry.

Of course, given that most of us Mac users are regularly exchanging files with Windows users, whether we're vulnerable to malware or not, it's certainly worth catching viruses that would otherwise pass us by via email or a network.

I just installed ClamXav (free, open source graphical front end for ClamAV) this morning on my Mac and it found a Windows virus buried in a directory that I'd copied from an old machine and one of those postcard viruses sitting in my Inbox. It didn't find anything else, but I have to agree with another ZDNet blogger, Adam O'Donnel: Macs will eventually have malware.

Will Snow Leopard be the end of malware on Macs? Probably not, but it certainly looks to have some features that will return OS X to the sort of viral safe haven that makes Macs so attractive in schools, despite a higher acquisition cost.

On the other hand, is this one more reason to go Linux? Maybe, but I think it's more important that we simply remember that security, regardless of platform, needs to be on our minds all the time. The level and sophistication of malware is increasing daily; machines need to be locked down, secure, and scanned (at least at some nominal level depending on degrees of possible exposure), no matter what OS we're using.

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