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Software Security Mac Antivirus Software

Mac Antivirus Software

Get the inside scoop on the pros and cons of getting antivirus software for your Mac. While it is commonly assumed that the Mac is less vulnerable to virus-based security breaches, it is also true that it only takes one successful attack to crash your system. Not only do you lose valuable data with a system crash, you also lose something that is irreplaceable-your sense of security. Read this guide thoroughly and get the inside story behind the facade of Mac invulnerability.

Why Do You Need a Mac Antivirus Software?

8 results - showing 1 - 8
Details Ratings
January 28, 2011    

Kaspersky Antivirus For Mac is an Antivirus Software for Mac created by Kaspersky Lab ZAO.

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February 08, 2011    

Norton Antivirus For Mac is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X created by Publisher Symantec Corporation.

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February 11, 2011    

PC Tools iAntivirus is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X created by Publisher PC Tools Limited.

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February 16, 2011    

Panda Antivirus for Mac is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X created by Publisher Panda Security.

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May 21, 2011    

ESET Cybersecurity for Mac is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X and created by Publisher ESET, LLC.

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December 24, 2011    

F-Secure Antivirus For Mac is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X created by Publisher F-Secure Corporation.

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December 26, 2011    

Bitdefender Antivirus For Mac is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X by Publisher Bitdefender.

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February 24, 2012    

Intego VirusBarrier is an Antivirus Software for Mac OS X by Publisher Intego.

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8 results - showing 1 - 8

Mac Antivirus Software

Mac Antivirus Software Resource & Information

Why Do You Need a Mac Antivirus software?

One of the greatest appeals of the Apple Macintosh platform is that it is less targeted by virus authors and hackers. This is true. The vast majority of the viruses, malware, spyware, and trojans coded, designed and distributed over the Internet target the Microsoft Windows system. Does this necessarily mean that the Mac is better? By statistical default, yes it does. However, the proper way to look at the situation is that the Microsoft Windows environment is a victim of its own success. Since the Windows operating system operates the vast majority of computers and server networks all over the world, it logically follows that most of the computer threats present in the world would reflect this market dominance.

Key Reasons Why There are Less Mac Viruses

It is a simple matter of applying a cost-benefit analysis. The cost of coding Mac-specific viruses, spyware, trojans and other security threats are outweighed by the relatively small market share of the Mac whereas the cost of developing security threats for the Windows system is more than compensated by this huge installed base of operating system. There are several other key reasons why Apple Macintosh computers are generally safer than Microsoft Windows computers when it comes to computer security.

The Mac OS is built on a Unix Kernel

One key reason is that the current wave of Macintosh operating system is built on a Unix kernel. This operating system is actually one of the most established and oldest operating systems available. Due to its longevity, the Unix kernel has been pretty much battle tested against viruses and other security vulnerabilities. Much of the anti-virus capabilities of a Macintosh operating system like the Mac OS X owe its virus resisting qualities to the Unix kernel that is at its core.

Most coders are more familiar with the Windows environment

Another key factor that contributes to the relative rarity of the Macintosh viruses and other security threats is due to the plain market dominance of Microsoft Windows. Most software coders are more familiar with the Microsoft Windows environment. This familiarity leads to easier software creation, easier coding, easier debugging and other key processes of software development. Accordingly, this higher level of familiarity, comfort and convenience tends to push most virus developers towards the Windows platform. While a sizable number might have the skills to program on the Mac, they are more inclined to target the Windows systems because of the relative convenience and greater ease of familiarity with Windows environment to target that operating system instead.

Most “off the shelf” virus making tools are geared towards Windows

Finally, most of the tools used by hacking groups and virus makers are actually template-driven tools. These tend to be closely related or are very small in number, and the vast majority of these tools are built to target the Microsoft Windows platform. Most of them are also coded in languages that are more targeted towards the Windows environment. Since many virus makers really are software operators instead of actual software engineers or coders themselves, this greatly limits their capabilities in focusing on the Macintosh environment.

If the Mac is so secure, why get an antivirus software?

Notwithstanding the reasons for the relatively lack of Macintosh viruses discussed above, there are still compelling issues that Macintosh owners need to address for their systems to be safer. No computer system is 100% safe. That is just the nature of security threats in computer networks and the internet. Nobody can responsibly say that any one system is 100% bullet proof. Indeed the factors listed below increase the chances of Mac-specific viruses gaining in numbers, virulence and speed of spread through the internet as years go by.

1. The Rise of Java and cross-platform software

Java was originally touted as a game changer development language. It promised to change coding dramatically because Java can be used by a wide variety of device, a wide variety of operating systems and it really opened the way to a class of software that is truly cross platform. Many people were excited about Java because it came in the wake of the popularity of HTML, which is the language of websites. Regardless of whatever operating system you are running, if you have a browser that can view and process HTML, you can access the internet.

HTML's massive adoption through all sorts of platforms spurred software developers at Sun Microsystems (later bought by Oracle) to create a language that also has a cross platform promise. Java enjoys many advantages over Legacy program languages. Obviously, you can run a particular piece of software regardless of its operating system, but also you can run the software on a wider range of devices.

Java poses a lot of opportunities (and threats) for a multi-device driven world

Not only does this allow developers to reach almost all computer users regardless of their operating system, this also allows software developers to reach differing markets that are dependent on different types of devices. This is great news in the age of the iPad, tablets and other portable gadgets. The danger of cross platform languages exemplified by Java is that malicious coders can also use Java language to reach all operating systems. What works for beneficial software, for example Open Office/LibreOffice, can in principle also work for malicious software mainly for viruses and worms. This is a very real threat because as more and more people buy mobile devices and as the lines between phone, tablet, laptop, computer and other devices begin to get thinner and thinner and eventually break down, cross platform virus coders can see an immense market that can be targeted with viruses.

Virus threats are compounded by hackers' mostly commercial motives

As we have discussed in previous guides, modern day viruses are no longer pictures of hacker bravado or other attempts of gaining street credibility or as vehicles for bragging rights. Modern iterations of viruses are almost always the product of commercial motivations. It is all about money and viruses make money for their coders by creating botnets that are used to spread spam, creating networks of zombie computers to be used in illegal content dissemination and, most troubling, the use of botnets as electronic weapons to shut down target websites that do not pay protection money. The threats are very real in this new age of interconnected devices and cross platform scalability. As Java and other cross platform languages spread, the threat of cross platform viruses and security threats increases as well.

2. User-centered Hazards

The biggest threat to any technological system boils down to human threats. In the case of computer's security, you can have all the anti-malware software you want installed on a computer. However, if the person does not practice responsible safe computing, all the precautions in the world will not prevent that computer security from being compromised. Typical user behaviors that cause security breaches include downloading pirated software. This flows directly from the use of pirate software downloaded through technologies ranging from torrents to file hosting sites to direct links at forums. Regardless of where you get the software, they carry a very real risk.

The legal and security risks of pirate software

Not only do you run legal risks because you are not the legal owner of the license to use the software, you also run the risk that hackers and virus authors modify existing pirated versions with code that either installs viruses on your computer or more commonly installs software that would then at a later time trigger other software, that would then force your system to download and install malicious software. The only limit to how this wide range of malicious software seeks to compromise your system is the imagination of the average hacker and virus coder.

The conclusion is if the motivation is there, a way will be found to compromise your system. The user created hazard comes into play because you put yourself in this situation by using targeted software or pirated content like video games.

Phishing risks and identity theft

While it is easy to see this security threat taking the form of viruses or trojans, phishing attacks are also fairly common consequences of personal computer security breaches. Many malware target browsers and, depending on your browsing habits, it would trigger phishing attacks or more commonly key logger would be installed that would record your key strokes to try to capture log in information that you are using to access financial websites.

The real danger of user-specific threats: the power of sloppy habits

What makes user-centered hazards so dangerous is they center on the user through sheer force of habit or just general sloppiness. It is hard for users to know in advance threats that they may face. It is also harder for them to develop new habits of safer computer use through active prevention. Since most people are busy and they have many things on their mind, active prevention is bound to break down. This is why passive prevention like installing Mac anti-virus software packages on your system is a better route to take because it is always in effect regardless of whether you have your guard down or not.

3. Continued Rise of the Apple Environment

Ever since the early 2000s, Apple began a resurgence that continues to this day. In the mid 80's up until the early 2000s, Apple was close to being written off as a major player in the international computer market. Their marketing strategy just did not compete effectively with the Intel/Windows business model. Apple, for the longest time, was relegated as a niche player. For many years, it tried to target mostly graphic designers or college students or some other sub-niche of the huge global computing pie.

The iPod begins Apple's market resurgence

However, starting in early 2000s and continuing to this day, Apple unleashed a flurry of products that certainly revolutionized differing segments of consumer electronics. The first wave involved the release of the iPod which revolutionized how digital music is consumed by audiences the world over and how music is sold and distributed online. Indeed the iPod was so successful it knocked out the Sony Walkman which used to dominate during the age of audio tapes and CDs.

The Rise of iPhone and Apple-connectivity

Following the rise of the iPod was the iPhone which introduced millions of people the world over to the concept of smart phones. With the rise of the iPhone, phones were no longer just purely a telephone. It became a happy marriage of computing, internet connectivity and telephoning. The iPhone truly opened a whole new world of technology to phone users because through an app platform technology, programmers the world over can create mini programs called apps and distributed through the Apple store for usage on phones the world over.

This liberated people in terms of what they can expect from a phone. Not only can they call, not only can it process calls a certain way and not only they can compute on their phones, it also opened the door to a new technology called augmented reality where the phone can be used as a data collection device that takes data from a real world setting and through internet connectivity of the phone, that data is then processed over the internet and then sent back to the iPhone user. The iPhone user can then make decisions based on that information or enjoy content based on the real world data that was fed to the phone.

Most recently, Apple also released the iPad which revolutionized mobile computing by creating a new class of intermediate mobile computer users with increased mobility while enjoying the app functionality of the iPhone. This surge in Apple dominance of gadgets creates a huge ecology that communicates on an Apple standard. It has the Apple sensibility. Given this huge collective market made possible by these inter-linked products, this large pool of users might become a very tempting target to hackers and spammers who are looking for a lucrative new market since in the Windows environment they face stiff competition.

The expanded Apple ecology of connected devices: “virgin territory” for hackers

The Apple ecology might be right for hackers looking for "virgin territory" to exploit and victimized. Getting Mac anti-virus software is your proactive protection against any such moves and development. Technology evolves very quickly and market trends tend to be invisible at the initial stages and usually at the most rapid faces of a trend's growth. As a Mac user, you might be put in a position where you learned of the threat too late, so get ahead of the trend by being proactive in installing Mac anti-virus or anti-malware software before the final integration of Apple-related devices.

4. Extra Peace of Mind

When it comes to computer security, you can only screw up once because all it takes is one security breach for the data that took you several months, if not, years to accumulate to vaporize. It takes only one security breach for your personal identity to be stolen and your funds compromised or credit cards taken out of your name. It really just takes one hit and regardless of how seemingly bullet proof the Mac environment is to viruses and other security threats, you really cannot say with 100% certainty that you will never become a victim of a security breach. Spending $39.95 to even $199.95 for Mac anti-virus software is absolutely a very low price to pay for the most expensive thing you can possibly lose, which is your peace of mind and your sense of confidence in safe and secure computing. Given the rapidly changing technology and computer security landscape, it is a small price to pay.

The Bottom Line

The Apple Mac might become a victim of its own success. Since it has achieved a reputation of being not susceptible to virus attacks, its users have become over confident. Unfortunately, over confidence might lead to sloppiness and just reckless use. As we have examined and discussed in length about, the number one threat to the Mac operating system and software environment is not really technical as it is user based. User sloppiness, user irresponsibility and over confidence can pave the way to security breaches in the future. With security breaches, all it takes is just one security breach for you to lose a lot of time, effort and peace of mind. To protect yourself, invest in the security of your Mac system and get adequate anti-virus protection--you owe it to yourself.