Do I need an antivirus for my Mac OSX?

Mac AntivirusSome say that we don’t really need to have antivirus software installed on our Mac simply because there is no way for a Mac to get virus.

Is this true or false?

After all, a safe environment from viruses is one reason why people generally switch from using the PC to Mac. From my research, I found that even Mac OS users can get viruses on their machine if one does not practice safe browsing, opens every single email attachments, or surf malicious sites.

Although there are fewer viruses written specifically to target the Macintosh OS, Mac viruses do exist. Cross-platfrom threats, such as many of the Office macro viruses, can also be a problem for Mac users. Because of this vulnerability, security companies have developed anti viruses for Mac users. As usual there are free and open source anti virus as well as those which you need to pay. The following is a list I’ve compiled:

Free and open source antivirus for Mac

ClamXav – ClamXav is a free virus checker for Mac OS X. It uses the tried, tested and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end.

Not free antivirus for Mac

Virus Barrier – VirusBarrier X5 protects your Mac from viruses by constantly examining all the files that your computer reads and writes, as well as watching for suspicious activity that may be the sign of viruses acting on applications or other files. With VirusBarrier X5 on your computer, you can rest assured that your Macintosh has the best protection available against viruses of all kinds.

PC Tools iAntiVirus – With PC Tools iAntiVirus you are protected against the most nefarious cyber-threats attempting to gain access to your Mac and personal information. It also provides real-time protection and comprehensive system scanning to ensure your Mac remains safe and virus free.

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac – provides integrated cross-platform virus detection on Macintosh servers, desktops and laptops. The powerful Sophos virus detection engine scans all entry points, and also detects non-Mac viruses that could be harbored on Mac computers.

Below is a video on how viruses can be created for Mac. I’m not sure if it does any real harm to a Mac, but it looks capable of disrupting our work, etc.

About the author

Bob Lee

Hi! My name is Bob Lee and I’m a web developer / technical writer who specializes in developing and reviewing web applications. As an entrepreneur, blogger, developer, and tech enthusiast, I have been in this field for more than 10 years, and have been loving every minute of it.

4 Comments

  • PC Tools iAntiVirus you are protected against the most nefarious cyber-threats attempting to gain access to your Mac and personal information.

    Once your computer has been infected, a virus or worm will usually attempt to spread itself to your friends, family and associates by accessing your email contacts and networked PCs. The infection may also allow hackers to access files on your Mac, use it to launch attacks against other computers and websites or to send mass SPAM email.

  • iAntivirus offers a free edition for private use now. It can be downloaded from iAntivirus.com. Note that iAntivirus for Mac only targets Mac-specific threats and will NOT protect you from passing on Windows viruses harbored on your computer (e.g. email attachments).

  • “From my research, I found that even Mac OS users can get viruses on their machine if one does not practice safe browsing, opens every single email attachments, or surf malicious sites.”

    Really? What “research” was that? As there has never been a Mac OS X virus, ever, I find it hard to believe that your research found any such thing.

  • Philip,

    Thanks for leaving comments on my site.

    My “research” was just a simple Internet research where I looked through forums, sites, blogs such as some claims made by Mac Security Specialists – Intego. This is one link about how Apple recognizes virus and malware threat to Mac OS X.
    http://www.intego.com/news/apple-recognizes-virus-and-malware-threat-to-mac-os-x.asp

    While Intego made this claim, another blogger mentioned about Intego exaggerating Mac virus threat, misinterpreting Apple PR to scare you into buying their anti-virus package
    http://webkeeps.com/wordpress/2009/06/10/intego-exaggerates-mac-virus-threat-misinterprets-apple-pr-to-scare-you-into-buying-their-anti-virus-package/

    All these years, I have never personally seen a Mac virus in action. But my understanding of a virus is that it’s an application designed to alter and change how an OS would normally work. The bottom line, these applications cause havoc, waste valuable time and disrupt our daily computing.

    Today, I found out about this virus called the Newton Virus. See video above. Although it’s not meant to harm the machine in any way but rather just for fun, it proves that viruses can be created to harm and disrupt normal usage.

    I think one key reason why people go for a Mac is because of better security and less disruption to work as compared to a Windows PC. Let’s hope viruses wont become a common problem for Macs anytime soon.

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