Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Virus Checking on My Mac

Although I haven't used a virus checker on my Macs for some time, I do constantly monitor the computer security sites to see what's going on out there in the world. It really looks like there are some Bad Guys intent on messing up my playground. Usually, however, the warnings and reports come from people that don't share my agenda. If a company that sells virus checkers warns Mac users that things are going to be bad, I'm a little suspicious of their motives. Likewise, if an unknown 'security consultant' lays out a plan of attack on Macs, I tend to suspect that they're out there trying to drum up business, rather than trying to keep Macs secure.

However, given all that, there have been enough reports by reputable people that I thought it might be worthwhile to check out the state of the software for Macs. Unfortunately, it's pretty bleak. The big names have done a poor job on antivirus software for the Macs. Even when Apple tried giving away Virex some time back it was an abortive effort because the software was flawed and cost many people some data. The risk of AV software was much greater than the risk of the non-existent viruses.

But I kept hearing about Clamav. This is one of these open source programs and someone wrapped it up in a pretty gui for Mac users as ClamXav. I downloaded the free software (donationware) and gave it a spin.

It seems my mail from back in 2000 when I was at Motorola had a couple of un-caught viruses in them. Since I was one of the hold-out Mac users, they never activated on my machine, but I'm not in the research business, so I have no need for them. A little cleanup and they're gone.

ClamXav seems like a nice program. I'll give it a workout on all my Macs and at least have one tool on hand for that inevitable day when the Bad Guys get one step ahead of Apple's Security Patches.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In order for there to be an effective anti-virus application, there first has to be a virus. So far there are absolutely zero viruses for the Mac OS X. Zero, nada, nothing. All the stories you are reading are about possibilities, not realities. Just enjoy the fact that you have the best OS on the planet and leave the worries to those who have been persuaded that the most installed OS is the best. Hogwash.