Is the Mac still safe online?

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This is more of a cry for help than a blog post. As Apple computers become more and more widespread, is it still safe to take the line that viruses and malware are a PC problem, or is it time to ramp up the defences on my Mac?

I am aware that Norton and all the other anti-virus software providers sell Mac versions of their software, but in the past Mac users seem to have taken the view that they just weren't necessary due to the relative lack of anything nasty circulated the Mac OS world. I can't make out if that's still true or not - does anyone have a definitive answer or opinion on the matter?

About Nigel Harris

Nigel Harris

I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.

I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!

 

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By anthonymellor
14th Feb 2012 15:32

Interesting question as I use macs too. Currently I am using "little snitch" to monitor what's going in and out of my network and I am closely monitoring my router firewall logs (Zywall 2WG) for nefarious activity. All of this in response to exactly your question in my own mind.

I also run one pc and that's up to the hilt in defences from McAfee and I do not use it online except for updates for things like Iris and Windows itself.

I have not found a definitive answer, but then if there were a virus out there doing mac damage, I think we would know about it fast enough. That's not the issue, it's whether we hear about it before it finds us, if/when it's out there. My email is crammed with malware, all of which splats against my mac windscreen, so to speak. Having said that I exercise great care when clicking on links etc - phishing etc can catch us regardless of operating system.

I have tried that bank software, Rapport, but it hogs my resources and is very persistent in not being switched off, so I deleted it - and continue to examine URLs very carefully.

I think we'll know when it's time.

Just hope we are not the reason why every one else knows!

Anthony

 

 

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By Anne Fairpo
01st Mar 2012 10:49

I use Sophos - it's cheap, they're a good company, so why not.

Right now, there's little out there battering at Macs specifically - and Unix (the underlying guts of OS X) is a bit more inherently secure than some other systems.  That said, as you note, security through obscurity might not last forever.

Can't comment on Norton/McAfee because I don't use them on my computers (Norton had a lot of Mac problems some years ago, and my experiences with both on Windows weren't unalloyed wonder).  I do use anti-virus software - Sophos (http://www.sophos.com/en-us/your-needs/company-size/small-business.aspx and http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac... - the latter version is free, but the user licence states that it is for home use only. Sort of; I have some lawyer nitpicks about the wording).  The only irritation with Sophos is that getting a single-user licence is a pain in the neck; their small business suite assumes 3 people minimum in the business. Single-user licences are available through resellers, but you actually have to contact them and deal with "sales people", you can't just buy them online.

ETA: just realised I didn't really explain why I run anti-virus software! I'm going down the 'better safe than sorry' route, basically. I'd rather not have to explain to a client/insurer/Bar Council that I missed a deadline because a virus had screwed up my machine at the worst possible moment. As there is software out there that doesn't cost the earth, is from a reputable company, gets updated regularly, and doesn't hold my computer/work, I might as well use it if there doesn't seem to be a specific need for it right now. I use a firewall and do all that as well, but still. Why not?

I backup my computers three different ways for the same reason.

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By Jamspartson
27th May 2012 10:03

I don't think so ,windows is safer than Mac,

so I suggest you install Norton Security for Mac.

by the way ,you can Norton for Mac cheap here:

http://www.antivirusprice.co.uk

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