I began to write a response to an article entitled Holy Cow! Yet Another App To Find Viruses On Your Mac (and they want money) by Jeff Mincey when it dawned on me that I should post my response here.
I do agree with the general gist of his article, however there’s more to the issue than whether we Mac users need Anti-Virus software and whether we should pay for it. Notwithstanding all the years we have suffered through Norton et al, virus tools which would disruptively scanning any foreign media we interested into our Macs in the Classic days. They were simply blocking to people’s productivity and many dupes paid big bucks annually to maintain a virus definitions subscription. That along with the pricey subscription Windows users must pay. (Many more of them would dismiss the dialog to stop the virus scan.)
The real problem is that with a Windows PC you can contract a virus simply by turning the computer on and using it (or so it seems.) In 25 years of support Macs and PCs, it has become clear that Mac users have had practically nothing to worry about. (It got so bad that we don’t support Windows at all any more.) In the years I’ve been around, there have been around three to five actual threats. (I will see if I can list them at the end.)
With the sleepy time experience of using Macs, many users don’t even know their computers password – even worse many users have nothing entered in their password field. They blindly hit the “Enter” key (aka the “Whatever” key) and accept any annoying authentication box that opens up. So the latest barrage of exploits are taking advantage of many Mac users trusting nature. I would argue that even products like MacKeeper are exploiting users as we speak – promising to fix your unbroken Mac.
Hey mac users! – If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it.
Hey Window’s users! – By all means possible, install that update, fix your firewall and maintain your virus definitions.
Sorry, I’m back…
So Yes, Virginia – you can share an contagious email with your defenseless Windows colleagues. Yes, you can accidentally install malware by clicking on an installer and entering your password. (That’s how 700,000 Macs got infected recently. The users had to authenticate the installation. Later it was discovered that users with loose (default) Java settings could get infected without approving the installation.)
If you don’t know your admin password – you need to run antivirus software on your Mac.
If you don’t know what your email password is because it “just works“, then you need to run antivirus software.
If you don’t know what your DNS settings are – your need to run antivirus software (and run the DNS check ).
If you don’t know how software is installed;
If you don’t know how to install and run a script;
if you don’t know your SSID or WPA2 password;
if you don’t know how to configure a wireless printer;
You need to be running AntiVirus Software.
And you should pay for it! Paying for software will keep the developers fed and interested in helping you. Even if you paid $100 per year. You’re not going to like my bill if I have to come and fix your Mac. A Good Mac technician will cost you $100 to $300 per hour and it’s going to take several hours (days) to fix your Mac. You can find most Mac antivirus apps on the app store – and you can install it on all your own Macs. C’mon Apple made that part easier for everyone.
OK Kids! Recess is over.
On a regular Mac:
VirusBarrier Plus (there is a free version)
Mac’s do have ClamAV installed and there is a free client app… but it’s rocket science if you don’t understand (sorry NASA)
On a Server Mac: