Why is an anti-virus sitting at the top of the Mac App Store’s list of the top free apps? Are Apple users really that paranoid about viruses? This isn’t Windows, after all.
Well, contrary to popular belief, there actually have been cases of viruses made for OS X. Not only that, but more and more malicious software is being made to target browsers across multiple operating systems. As mainstream software developers head cross-platform, so do the malicious ones.
So yes, there is a chance you could catch a digital cold while using your shiny new unibody MacBook Pro. I suppose that’s reason enough to consider picking up a free anti-virus to protect you and your network from infection. This begs the question of what exactly makes iAntivirus by Norton such a popular choice. After trying it for myself, I’ve narrowed it down to three primary draws.
Facebook Timeline Protection with Norton Safe Web
Your anti-virus program is only as good as its features, and iAntivirus delivers an interesting feature by way of Facebook Wall scanning. It will (with permission on Facebook) scan your timeline to see if your account has been the victim of malicious links. It’s a great way to protect you and your followers from possible harm, and it’s a free component of iAntivirus.
The scan took just a few minutes for me, and it came up with nothing malicious. The whole scan took place inside a browser, so you really don’t need iAntivirus installed to use Norton Safe Web.
iAntivirus scanned my home folder in seconds. Literally, seconds. This may have been due, in large part, to my having an SSD as my primary drive as opposed to an older platter drive.
The whole-system scan was also incredibly fast. Over 600,000 files and it ate threw them in about 15 minutes. So yes, it’s pretty quick, but that again could be due to the type of drive I’m using.
Simple doesn’t even begin to describe how this app works. You launch it, select the type of scan you wish to initiate, and double-click it. Once the scan is done, it’s done.
You don’t get a mountain of options to choose from or even any promise of real-time protection. It just scans when you ask it to and that’s all most people really need.
If iAntivirus finds a threat, it’s quarantined if it can’t be fixed on the spot. It’s up to you what you want to do with these files once they’re thrown in file jail. You could execute them, commit them to rehab, or set them free. Whatever your choice, it’s one of those apps that you’ll be glad is there when you need it.
Norton, despite it’s reputation among geeks, is still one of the most trusted names in computer security. I fell out of love with Norton in the early 2000s when it started bogging systems down and holding various processes hostage when it really didn’t need to. Several years ago, I was introduced to a Norton program that protected gaming systems from viruses, and was stunned to discover just how much easier the new anti-virus program was on system resources. Over time, my appreciation for Norton was restored as it began changing its ways as a company and started doing more in the background and less in the foreground.
Because this app is released in APP format as opposed to “full-power grab all my applications and control every aspect of their use” it’s really easy to uninstall. You just nuke it from the Launchpad and you’re ready to go about your life without it.
This is a free app and it does what it says it’s going to do. With Norton’s extensive malware database behind it, there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least give it a shot. Better safe than sorry, right?