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November 3, 2010

Sophos Offers Free Mac Anti-virus

Sophos have released a free home edition of their anti-virus for Mac OS X users. This brings automatic on-access detection, and disinfection capabilities that cover Windows viruses/worms/trojans, as well as the few pieces of malware that currently exist for Mac OS X. Sophos claim that their antivirus does not use many resources, and thus does not slow the machine down like some A/Vs do.

They make the following statement which describes the current Mac malware situation fairly well:

Although malware is more common on Windows than it is on Macs, there is a growing concern that, as Mac OS X market-share continues to grow, the operating system will become a more attractive target for cybercriminals.

Even though I would rate the current malware threat to Macs as fairly low, we will undoubtedly start seeing more and more of it as Macs gain market share in the home. Attackers know that companies are getting better and better at protecting against malware, however home users are notoriously bad at protecting their systems and keeping them patched. Surely if you’re a regular visitor of Security Generation, you’re not one of those people ;)

I haven’t tested this yet, and Sophos aren’t the first to arrive on the Mac AV scene. ClamXav is a good free open source alternative, however one benefit of Sophos’ solution is the experience of their research team, and vast database of malware (don’t expect this to remain free forever). Although I personally wouldn’t pay for Mac AV just yet, there are also some good solutions from Kaspersky and Intego’s VirusBarrier.

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