I had a short-lived experience using anti-virus on my Mac. Why don’t I use it anymore?
Mac anti-virus has always been a talking point amongst Mac users. We sit smug behind our ‘secure’ Apple computers, poking fun at Windows users and their constant battle with anti-virus suites and malware protection.
The number of Windows computers I get asked to look at because they are running slow and the culprit are viruses and junk-ware programs that hog system resources and take over their browser is ridiculous.
In early 2014, I briefly tried out Sophos Home Edition for Mac and had every intention of keeping it installed ‘just in case’. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. But after a few weeks, I removed it. Apart from a the test eicar virus, it detected nothing on my Mac nor any drive I plugged in to it.
I had in the early days of OS X also tried ClamXav, but I didn’t continue with this either.
There is something unnatural about having anti-virus protection on OS X. I don’t want a background process taking up system resources – however small it is. Some suites on Windows can choke a machine and bombard you with pop-ups, notifications, and updates, and that would drive me insane.
Mac users are very complacent regarding the safety of their computer. Deep down we all know our beloved machines aren’t impenetrable – but we also know that OS X with its Unix/BSD base is built in such a way that makes it very hard to get to.
Linux users are in the same boat. Their *nix base and minority operating system means most will sit with the same attitude as Mac users and use no protection even though there are a few Linux infections around.
Most of the issues surrounding OS X in the past few years have been about security, Java, or Flash – and this is handled by Apple and Adobe releasing a patch.
2012 saw 600,000 Macs worldwide infected with the Flashback Trojan – although personally I don’t know anyone who was infected by it. This is the most well known attack I am aware of.
There are dangers for OS X out there in the wild, and any Mac user with an ounce of knowledge knows this. However, until there is a real risk of my machine being seriously infected by something extremely nasty, I am going to continue to sit here without any protection – just a bit of common sense what sites and places I visit and which links I click on in emails.
The major reason for using anti-virus on a Mac is to prevent a Windows infection being spread around.
Keeping your computer clean is your responsibility – not mine. If you choose to use an operating system that requires constant looking after, that is your problem. Yes, this may seem arrogant and selfish, and it could come back to bite me when OS X gets taken by surprise, but I’m willing to take that risk.
What’s your opinion? Perhaps you are a Mac user wondering what to do, or maybe you are a Windows user looking in.
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