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Friday, July 8, 2011

Virus Protection for Mac owners and their Windows using relatives

I was asked this week if you need to buy anti-virus protection if you install Windows 7 on Bootcamp.

The answer is that you need anti-virus protection. Yes, Yes, Emphatically YES!

Do you need to buy it? No Microsoft makes the perfectly good, perfectly free Microsoft Security Essentials. Go here and get it if you run Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP.

If you run Windows on a virtual machine, get anti-virus protection, too.

Why doesn't Microsoft stick it on every damn Windows machine? Probably something to do with "anti-trust". If Microsoft put free anti-virus on every Dell, it would wipe out the market for Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus. On the last two Windows machines I've bought, Norton Anti-Virus comes as a 60-day trial. After 60 days, you have to buy a subscription. Symantec hopes you're lazy and just fall in line.

If you don't want to pay Symantec and don't like or trust Microsoft, then go open-source and go to Clamwin. This is an open-source donation-ware Windows anti-virus. It covers every Windows system from Windows 98 to Windows 7. I use it on my windows xp box and it detects phishing immediately.

Do you need anti-virus protection for a Mac? The need isn't as critical as with a PC, but with the growing popularity of the Mac, you should consider it. You have two free options.

The first is Clamwin's cousin, Clamxav for Mac OS X. Go here and download it.

The second is Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac. Sophos is a big deal in the corporate anti-virus world. For some reason, they made a consumer version for Mac OS X and give it away free. Go here and get it.

Of course, your own good judgment is just as important. If you see unsolicited e-mail for hot Asian women or Ukrainian women looking for an American husband, assume that it's spam and delete it. Don't open it, just delete it.


  1. I guess you can never be too safe. But on the other hand we don't need to install software that we really don't need. I jumped the Micro$oft boat years ago because of its virus problems and the bogging down of my pc with anti-virus software which made my pc seem like a 286 model.
    As most Mac users don't know, Max OS X uses BSD linux as its Kernel. True story.
    Since it is now in the "Unix" format but ported for pc (Linux) we need to be educated about viruses and Linux. Here are some educational reads:
    This article defines a virus and how they "don't" work in linux:
    Linux vs Windows Viruses:
    And my favorite, long but good:
    Don't forget, when they mention Linux they are also saying any other Unix based OS, that would be Mac OS X included.
    If you understand how the Unix based OS's operate and the layout of permissions, then you can more fully appreciate why viruses aren't successful in this type of environment. As in the second article I submitted, its hostile to viruses.
    I will admit. Regardless of OS, one must be smart about how they use their computer. Swapping USB's, surfing, running as Sys admin or Root, etc.

  2. True, the OS X kernal protects OS X from malware. Unfortunately, it doesn't prevent you from passing along infected e-mail to your friends and loved ones who use Windows software. A good anti-virus program allows you to test and isolate your e-mail messages.

    E-man, you are absolutely right. The software we use must be used with intelligence. Swapping USB flash drives, running as Root, all pose potential hazards. Let be safe out there!




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