The debate resumes over Mac security

A revised Apple support doc told users to run antivirus apps; then it was yanked

Mac OS X inherently secure

In Computerworld's OS Smackdown, I touted the inherent security of Mac OS X as a major selling point, given that Macs are less susceptible to virus outbreaks than Windows-based PCs. Given the rarity of Mac exploits and the lengths malware authors must go to if they hope to successfully breach the Mac OS, I'd say nothing has changed since then. There are still no reports of self-propagating malware that can automatically infect a Mac by installing itself and then spreading itself to other computers. Even this latest Trojan horse requires visits to Web sites that almost anyone would be wary of and requires an administrator's password to actually install malicious code.

This is the technological equivalent of unlocking your door and helping a burglar pack your TV into his van.

And as menacing as the Intego statement sounds, I'm unaware of any Web browser that automatically commences an installation. Even when Safari's "Open safe files after downloading" option is selected, any software installation still requires the admin password. For most businesses and colleges, this isn't an issue because end users won't know that password, cutting off malware drama before it begins.

That's not to discount the value of security, however. Ultimately, Mac users have to be good Net citizens.

Antivirus software doesn't just help Mac users

I spoke to Randy Rowles, lead Macintosh Desktop Engineer for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Orlando, about finding the best antivirus software for the Mac and why users might still want to install one. "Antivirus [software] for Macintosh is a good thing to consider -- not necessarily for your own protection, but for the protection of others," he said. "Even though your Macintosh may not be affected by the bulk of viruses traveling around the Internet, any e-mail you forward that has a virus attached can infect other folks that receive it. Having a good virus scanning solution on your Macintosh can help prevent the spread of viruses."

Rowles recently had to figure out which of three antivirus apps -- McAfee VirusScan, VirusBarrier from Intego and Norton AntiVirus for Mac -- would be best for the Mac users at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. "Each of the vendors offered similar options for protecting your Macintosh from virus infections, including the use of services for receiving updates and integration with Apple's Mail software."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityMac OS X

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael deAgonia

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?