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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityMac OS X

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

Michael deAgonia

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?