The debate resumes over Mac security

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

"For enterprise customers, many vendors provide integration with a central management console," Rowles said. "This allows you to manage where your users get updates... and often times what updates they receive. You also have a single place to schedule scans and control the preferences for multiple users."

While some of the antivirus software packages included real-time scanning options, the feature has drawbacks. "This feature is often called 'On Access Scanning' or 'Real-Time Scanning.' What this means is every time you read or write a file, that file is scanned for viruses. Normally, there are options for 'tuning' this process, allowing you to exclude specific folders or set it to only scan during a write operation. These options are your greatest asset at avoiding having your entire computer slow down and become sluggish."

Which antivirus app gets the nod?

When I asked which app he settled on, Rowles was quick to note that antivirus software has to be based on enterprise-specific needs. "We went with McAfee VirusScan because it offered a complete cross-platform management solution. McAfee also offers a complete suite of tools for firewall and host intrusion protection for Windows users that integrates with the same management solution. McAfee's VirusScan software for Macintosh has been a competent solution, and they have provided great support and have supplied hot fixes when needed. McAfee's 'On Access Scanning' solution isn't the best one out there, but it can be customized to not scan specific folders or to scan only on read or write instead of both. McAfee was also one of the first companies to offer an Intel Mac compatible solution and that was when we were comparing products."

For less enterprise-focused users, Rowles pointed to VirusBarrier from Intego. "The reason being is that their solution was written from the ground up for the Macintosh. They offer the same competitive features as McAfee and Norton, but in testing I found their Real-Time Scanning to be the quickest and [it] didn't cause nearly as much initial sluggishness -- if any -- compared to competitors. Enterprise customers will probably want to look elsewhere because VirusBarrier does not offer the same level of integration or cross-platform management as other competitors."

The upshot from this week's Mac security debate is simple: don't panic. It's not yet time to completely batten down the antivirus hatches on Mac OS X. Having said that, it's reasonable to assume that as OS X gains ground in the operating system wars, it will become a more attractive target for viruses. Think of it this way: Would you rather be installing antivirus software the day an unexpected virus pops up -- or the day after? For now, installing an antivirus package would certainly be the courteous thing to do for other, more susceptible colleagues. That kind of pay-it-forward approach to malware might even lead to good karma. After all, some folks have it far worse.

Michael DeAgonia is a computer consultant and technologist who has been using Apple products and working on them professionally since 1993. His tech-support background includes tenures at Computerworld, colleges, the biopharmaceutical industry, the graphics industry and Apple. Currently, he is working as a Macintosh administrator at a large media company.

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

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.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?