Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mac antivirus software

I am not a Mac user. For a while this was a "religious" choice ("Stupid smug Mac users who can't do anything without their stupid GUIs") but since the end of my time at BYU it has mostly just been a financial choice. However, my wife and I have inherited several used Macs during the course of our marriage. She keeps the best and then passes the rest to starving students we know. Having a Mac in the home has required me learning a few things about Macs (like using SAMBA to connect to my windows machine).

Unfortunately, a lot of my software solutions do not translate well to the Mac. There isn't as large a freeware community for the Mac, although it has gotten better recently. I can leverage the Unix side with open source stuff, but that sort-of defeats the whole "it just works" thing. If you are looking for useful Mac software, here is a good list of free stuff, although it is old (search for the products, as the links take you elsewhere in the internet archive).

Oh, yeah. The title of this post is "Mac antivirus software." I guess I better talk about that. My wife mentioned that she thought her Mac must have a virus since it has been running slower lately. I am not entirely convinced. If it was a PC then I would come to that conclusion, but she doesn't seem likely to have fallen for a trojan and that is about all that is available for a Mac, right? Anyway, I did look to see if there were any free anti-virus software available for Macs, since we can't get free licenses from my school anymore. Turns out, there are two popular ones:

  • http://www.iantivirus.com/download/ - Since I have never had a Mac, I have never used this software and cannot say much about it

  • http://www.clamxav.com/ - This one is based on the same code base as ClamWin, which I have used for my laptop

    Of course, there are some others you can find through Googling (funny how that works). One thing you can also find by Googling is the discussion about whether Mac anti-virus software helps or hurts, since the software itself may introduce vulnerabilities and/or systems slowdowns. Interesting.
  • 3 comments:

    vandy said...

    I had this on my own todo list, check for free mac antivirus software. Thanks for starting the me off in the right direction.

    I am curious, what was the most effective search term you used in google? One frustration I have found with the mac community is that I expect it to be more tied into the opensource community, but it is not. Instead when I search for free mac software of some variety I mostly find demos and shareware.

    Nathan said...

    I just did a search for "free antivirus software" on http://www.google.com/mac and "free mac antivirus software" on http://www.google.com. I think I tried various iterations of that. Maybe stick "download" in there somewhere.

    About.com has a good (better than mine) summary article about Mac antivirus software.

    About opensource's correlation with Macs: I found this somewhat hard to understand as well. I think the real problem is marketing. For example, ClamWin has been ported to the Mac, but you have to dig a bit to find it. My experience was similar when looking for OpenOffice.

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