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Macintosh Anti-Virus

A couple of weeks ago my one year subscription to Virusbarrier X5 expired. The software had been part of the MacUpdate December 2008 software bundle, and while I had been quite happy with ClamXav it seemed a waste not to use Virusbarrier. It’s worked fine for the year, even though it hasn’t detected a single thing. This isn’t a reflection on Virusbarrier’s ability to do it’s job, more that as a Mac user who observes safe internet use there wasn’t anything for it to detect. There are still very few risks in the wild for Mac users, and unless you make a habit of installing pirated software your chances of becoming infected are virtually zero. This could all change tomorrow, but for now the Mac remains a safe computing platform.

I received notification from Virusbarrier of the imminent end of updates, and was offered a chance to renew my subscription. At  £19.95 for a year and £29.95 for two it’s not cheap, and if I decided to buy the software (now at version X6) to cover all my Mac/Hackintosh’s it would be an expensive option. Especially for a threat that doesn’t (currently) exist.

On the Windows platform it’s a very different story, where connecting to the internet without comprehensive virus/spyware protection is silicon suicide. This isn’t a dig at Windows, just a recognised fact that required protection is part of the deal. Since it’s so widely accepted and used, Windows security software is also a lot cheaper. McAfee Internet Security 2009 OEM for one computer is £4.10 from Aria.co.uk. Using this to protect five computers works out at a little over £20, certainly not much for a years cover. On the Macintosh a five license version of Intego’s Internet Security Barrier X6 costs £119.54, almost six times as much. I realise the Mac has a much smaller market share so the same economies of scale don’t apply, but it’s a huge price increase for a massively smaller risk.

I’m now back to using the donationware ClamXav. Version 2.0.5 beta has been doing excellent work monitoring my home folder without fault over the past week. It updates itself and does scheduled scans, so unless an Anti-Virus package is included in the upcoming Macheist 4 or Macupdate bundles, I’m back to the cheap option.

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Categories: security, software
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  1. October 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

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