Ramblings of this guy you know!

Tech Stuff and random observations on life as I see it….

End of an Era: Apple Computers No Longer Virus-Free | Mashable

This is a bit of a sensationalist title from Mashable: End of an Era: Apple Computers No Longer Virus-Free. Their description of what a virus is, is a tad loose… Perhaps if they had said End of an Era: Apple Computers No Longer Malware free, it may not have gathered the semantic hounds that flooded the comments for this post. However, one point remains true, Apple Mac users are now, and have been for a wee while now, been the target of attacks.

I partially blame technical individuals like myself who, fed up with relations constantly getting viruses, suggested they get a Mac as it was safer.. Nowadays, I’d recommend a tablet (though give it time an tablet and mobile malware will be rife too). Sadly, these relations are still careless with their downloads and still fall for the same scareware scams they fell for on the Windows platform.

But first, the good: In reaction to all these attacks, Apple have responded (albeit slowly) by putting in several protections that culminated with the latest Java updates including a facility where javascript is disabled if you don’t use it for a while and then you need to manually enable it if it needed. This however, doesnt help those that serially click on the required responses whether they know what it does or not.

And so onto the bad: So, its with a heavy heart that I have to agree, you need extra, third party protection on the Mac and here’s two suggestions on how to do it:

  • If you are not that technical (or your relative is) then you want a “set it and forget it” option. Install Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition which seems to run fairly smoothly even on some older or lesser powered Macs. I’ve seen Sophos running on a Hackintosh Notebook computer with only occasional stutter. Be aware however that it will use some of your system resources, mostly while its doing a full scan or an update. Note that the licence here is a personal one and so shouldn’t be installed on Macs in the workplace, companies need to obtain a valid licence.
  • Install ClamXav if you are more technical and still dont believe that you will fall victim to a scam or virus but want to protect that downloads folder, just..in..case. The important thing to do here is make sure you download the software from this link and not from the Mac App Store; downloading the App Store verision doesn’t come with ClamXav Sentry to monitor your hard drive and scan new files as they arrive. The Quarantine tab in preferences will let you define a folder that ClamXav will watch continuously for viruses. This area can be the whole user area, just one user or simply the Downloads folder. There are also options to exclude files from being scanned too. Schedule ClamXav to run at set times, and read the log files if you suspect anything fishy going on.

In the end, the choice is yours to install anti-virus or not. However, if it’s free apps your looking for, one of the above should fit the bill.

Stay Safe out there.

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