Sophos releases of Anti-Virus for Mac OS X

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses from spam and viruses, today announced the release of Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X, a product designed to protect computers running Macintosh operating system 10.2 and above from all known viruses.

Ideal for multi-national organizations, Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. It allows users to perform on-demand scanning of files and folders and its on-access scanner safeguards computers by detecting and disinfecting both Macintosh and non-Macintosh viruses. Any file that is identified as being infected will not be allowed to run, ensuring that the computer remains virus-free.

Keeping anti-virus protection updated is critical and Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X enables the automatic updates of all desktops, whether they are connected to a local area network or to the internet. Remote users can ensure that their systems are up-to-date, even if they cannot access the network, with automatic updates from their company’s website. Reporting can also be sent to a remote location. Sophos Anti-Virus uses Mac OS X’s own SMTP client to send alert messages, therefore if a user is disconnected from the network, messages will queue until a connection is found, ensuring no alerts are lost. This also allows the administrator to be kept abreast of all updating activities and virus incidents.

Unlike anti-virus products from other vendors, Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X offers a central configuration of updating and anti-virus settings, including the ability to manually administer virus identity files. Administrators can create a central installation source and install to all networked Macs automatically using XServer tools such as Network Install to provide automatic updates as needed.

“Despite the popular misconception that Mac users aren’t affected by viruses, Apple customers need to take the virus threat seriously,” said Phil Wood, product manager for Sophos Anti-Virus in the press release. “Sophos’s latest anti-virus solution ensures that all Mac users are protected, whether in the office or on the road, and it also allows third-party developers to incorporate virus-scanning into their own products.”

Users who choose to access the Unix operating system directly on Mac OS X will benefit from the availability of a command line version of Sophos Anti-Virus, allowing administrators to run it through the Mac Terminal utility.

The enhanced security model prevents end users from disabling their anti-virus software. Users need to have administrative rights in order to install and/or remove Sophos Anti-Virus or change any of the System Preferences, including enabling and disabling InterCheck.

More info here.

MacDailyNews Take: In related news, Sophos will also release specialized air traffic control software designed to track pigs in flight in order to better protect flight corridors worldwide.

35 Comments

  1. Okay, confused. I’ve been using Sophos on Mac OS X, and Mac OS 9 before that for years now. So why is this a press release. I guess I should read the press release and see if there’s some new functionality or something.

    I’ve always liked Sophos AntiVirus, its one downside being manual updates for the non-enterprise environments. But hey, its always been free to me, I support a couple different universities that have contracts with them, and its rarily produced software conflicts, unlike Norton and McAfee.

  2. Despite the popular misconception that Anti-Virus software writers are just out to make money off of peoples woes, in this case they will be attempting to make money off of peoples fear of possible woes.

    But seriously, it is good that they are supporting the Mac platform. If (god forbid and knock on wood) a real Macintosh virus ever does surface it will be good to have the infrastucture in place to deal with it.

  3. A lot of companies demand that all computers on their networks run the antivirus software they’ve decided on. We know that the virus threat on Macs is tiny compared to Windows, but if having this product allows a department to run Macs rather than get shafted to WinTel by their IT managers, then I for one am glad that this software is available.

  4. First, I back up all of my vital files to my iDisk. That way, whether it be a flood (on the 2nd floor?), fire, riots, tornado, lightning, meteor storm, Godzilla, computer viruses or any other disaster, my important data is safe.

    Second, at the current moment, the only purpose for virus protection software on a Mac is to make the MS Windows world a better place. Screw ’em! Let ’em freeze!

    A friend of mine has had his HP for about 3 months and just got hit with the Sasser virus. He, a small struggling farmer, lost all of his accrued data for the season. He had decided to go online for the very first time to get email and update his new virus protection software before doing anything else (upon strong advice from friends). Within 10 minutes, before he could find and download his antivirus files, his system was down and his data was lost!! I recommended the Mac, but his other 50+ friends all said HP and Dell, so that is what he bought at Best Buy. When he came to me to tell me that he had lost everything, he asked if I ever had the same problems. I really didn’t want to tell a good friend “I told you so” and feeling really bad for his loss, I just looked down and said “Not really. Macs don’t have any known viruses.” I have no idea what he is going to do now. He can’t afford another computer, Mac or otherwise, so he’ll probably update his antivirus software, start over again, and pray.

    Using Microsoft is no way to live!

  5. I do routine backups and that’s all, I see no need for an anti-virus program hogging system resources. If and when the first verified in-the-wild virus for OS X arrives, I’ll change how I operate, but not before then.

  6. I’m with Jack A on this one. I also like that it will take care of a windows virus in the case that one comes in on an email. This way I don’t have to worry about forwarding a virus to a windows using friend or associate.

    Oh btw, antivirus software is a very good idea for any mac user who has Microsquish Oriface on their computer as a good number of macro viruses can affect Word and Excel for mac just as easily as Word and Excel for windows.

  7. >>From: Jimbo von Winskinheimer: Hey allgood2, has the Sophos antivirus software ever reported that it found a problem?<<

    Has it found viruses? Consistently. I run the background scanner, and every few days it reports 10-15 copies of viruses on my machine. Of course I’m not infected with them, they are just dormant sitting in my attachments folder waiting for me to redistribute them if possible. Currently the many variations of Netsky and Agobot are popular.

    I have multiple mail accounts, including .Mac. Some of them do pre-send email scans, meaning I never see the viruses, but a few don’t so I know that I should always have a few .pif, .scr, .exe, .vbs, etc. files that contain virus code, just from the email I get. Besides my primary email address is in a lot of PC users Address Book, since most of my clients run WIndows.

    The downsides I’ve noticed are the lack of ability to run scheduled scans�you can do manual and or have the background scan running, but you can’t automate a scan say at 7am every Friday; the other is the lack of scheduled automatic updates�same here you can do manual, or set up Sophos to communicate with a server (CID), but you can’t say check for new IDEs (virus identities) every 2 hours. Though supposedly this is what the new Mac OS X version of Sophos offers, but only if your hooked up to a CID (Central Installation Directory).

  8. I hate to be the devils advocate here, but I think this is a good idea. Sophos realizes something I think you folks are missing. Even though there are no known OS X viruses at this point, Macs can pass on PC viruses without even knowing it. The key point in the press release that caught my attention was the part about “detecting and disinfecting both Macintosh and non-Macintosh viruses.” This is a good thing. Even though old Mac viruses and PC viruses won’t affect OS X, we can inadvertantly pass them on via files to other platforms, and personally, I don’t want that on my conscience. So if you ask me, this isn’t about pigs flying, but rather helping prevent our Macs from becoming Typhoid Marys.

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