Computer columnist: anti-virus software purely optional for Apple Macs, not so for Windows

“If you own a Windows PC, you need to have a current anti-virus product installed and running. There’s no longer a debate about it, no longer a way to be ‘really careful what you open’ and do without it,” James Derk reports for Scripps Howard News Service. “There are dozens of products out there for you to use and even some excellent free ones like AVG Free and Avast. It is such an important issue that Microsoft will be adding anti-virus to the next version of Windows as a pre-installed accessory.”

Derk reports, “With an Apple [Macintosh] computer, anti-virus software is purely optional in my opinion. I know there are some divergent opinions on this and there’s no harm in having it if you can afford it. But since there are no Apple viruses in the wild and the machine is designed to be more secure than a Windows machine, there’s little risk.”

“On spyware, this also is a Windows machine issue,” Derk reports. “This can be a far more complex issue depending upon whether you are already infected or simply trying to prevent an infection. If you already are infected, you may be able to eliminate the infection by using three or four products (there isn’t one that does a an effective removal job by itself.) You can try AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy and Microsoft Anti-Spyware beta for free, then add Webroot’s Spy Sweeper and perhaps PestPatrol. A skilled professional can be required to get rid of some infections. And some infections require a complete erasure of the PC and reinstallation of the operating system and everything on it.”

Derk reports, “Again, Macs are mostly immune from spyware and pop-up issues,” Derk reports.

Full article here.

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Microsoft has been promising better security for years with each successive Windows packaging change. If you think Windows Vista is going to magically fix the problems, good luck to you.

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52 Comments

  1. I just spent over an hour with a tech from my company trying to install the 8 Windows Security Updates my computer says I need to install, but I don’t have the priviledges to install, though I am an “Administrator”. Finally after much swearing, and turning off my firewall, virus scanner, and running Ad Aware they got installed.

    He just made jokes about how computers just need maintenance some times. I chimed in that my Linux and OS X boxes don’t. He said he’d go bring me a Mac next time, like that was some joke. I hope he does!

    MDN word: power

  2. My Mac is virus free!

    Hooray!!!

    Just a thought, when Apple gets into the dual-core Intel chips and the thought of running both OS’s has been tossed around…what OS’s will it be Leopard and Vista? Who would want XP SP2 running on their Mac? It’s like saying, I want to share a room with someone who has leprosy.

  3. I have been using Apple computers since 1979, the Mac since June 1984 and I have never, NEVER had any issues related to virus, adware, spyware or anything of the like. No one hacking or cracking into my net or Macs. Never, ever.
    This is half of the Mac experience, the other being an insanely great user experience.
    I’m proud to be a Mac user and ACT.

  4. This is such a foreign idea to Windows users. My brother was shocked to hear that I had no anti-virus software and only used the software-based firewall that ships with the OS. I’ve been using Macs since 1984 and I’ve only ever had one virus, and that was on OS 8.

  5. Actually, I should specify that the one virus I did have was not on my home machine but at work. I can’t remember the name of it now, but it ate JPEGs and spread through many printers and service bureaus which is where we picked it up.

  6. It is so nice to troubleshoot Macs. My computer was randomly typing characters a week ago. If it were a WinBox I would have immediatly ran anti-virus and spyware removers. Since it was a Mac I looked at the OS and the hardware. It took me a total of five minutes to narrow it down to my keyboard shorting out.

    Just a proper antivirus scan can take 30 minutes.

    Long live Mac’s and helping with productivity.

    MW: simply “It simply works”

  7. I must be missing something: Didn’t McAfake and $ymantec recently announce to the world that Macintosh computers running OS X were “vulnerable to virus and coming under more hacker attacks” and general malware?

    So why do you Macintosh fanboys and Mac-centric journalist keep saying “their are no Mac virus in the wild”?

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  8. Remember, McAfke and $ymantec make their living on scaring people with viruses and malware. They would go bankrupt if everyone suddenly switched to Macs They want you to go buy your D(h)ell. Then you buy their software. After a year, they hit you with a $30 fee to continue to get the latest definitions. So they now get $30 a year from john-q-uninformed-sheep mentality-public for the life of the machine. Then you have to buy another machine and the cycle repeats itself.

    MDN Word: “probably” as in OS X runs on UNIX. Probably not what you want to hear if you are an Anti-virus software maker.

  9. MDN Take is missing something. No “security by obscurity” arguments here. Give the guy a little more credit — you’re always harping about those who use that myth, so give a shout out to those who point out the true reasons!

    MW: design, as in Mac OS X is virus-free by design.

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