Does A Mac Need Antivirus Software?

Clearly Windows is a victim of its popularity, as finding malware to infect it is very simple to do. However it has long since been believed that *Nix options such as BSD based OS X (Darwin) and Linux, are somehow immune to catching the crud that stems from the Web. Folks, malware exists for all platforms, including OS X. Where things differ, is how users catch it and how big the risk is based on platform.

The shut-in mentality

Many folks out there might be thinking if they stayed inside all the time, avoided people, they’ll never catch the flu. Granted, they’ve managed to greatly reduce the likelihood of it. But the fact of the matter is that it’s still entirely possible. Merely avoiding those situations that make catching the bug doesn’t make the bug cease to exist. I think people miss this sometimes.

Does A Mac Need Antivirus Software?
Photo by junojp

Coming back to the software side of things, the same thing applies. Fact is, you can indeed be infected by malware on OS X. The trick is to understand that it may differ than how you’d be affected on Windows. See, OS X users are generally hit when they installed bad software, carrying malware they were unaware of. Windows users by contrast, can be hit with that is called “Drive-By” malware where all the user needs to do is turn on their PC and connect to the Internet. Remember Windows XP and the  Blaster Worm? If you think that Windows 7 protects you from this type of threat (another worm threat), think again. Best to have Windows Security Essentials installed on that platform.

Best antivirus for OS X?

If this was for Windows, I’d easily say Windows Security Essentials. After years of Microsoft being spanked by malware providers, other security suites doing a lousy job of protection, Microsoft finally had enough research to get it done right.

The problem here is that OS X doesn’t have its own security suite. A firewall, yes. But not a de facto security package. Based on what I’ve been told, you are still largely fine without one, so long as you are aware of where your software is coming from. Geeks running Macs, will be fine without a security suite.

However if you have kids or others who download everything that installs, best to look into something now before you have a problem. Think it doesn’t exist? You’d be wrong about that. It most certainly does, it’s just more difficult because of Darwin’s superior security setup.

Article Written by

  • leftystrat

    Last time I checked, Mac av’s simply scanned for Windows viruses. Same for linux. Soon we’ll need Android av.

    It’s depressing.

  • http://www.matthartley.com Matt Hartley

    Good point. I think this is still the case (to a degree) with Linux, however I do believe Mac software is scanning for everything now.

  • http://www.pkgamer.net SpyderBite

    There was recently a declaration from one of the prominent virus programmers in response to Apple’s advertising practice of claiming OSX users won’t get viruses if they use a Mac.

    When ever I hear somebody claim they don’t get viruses because they use a Mac; I always mention the metaphor about terrorists not spending millions of dollars on WMD’s to attack an island with 100 people living on it.