Its Time for Mac Owners to Invest in Antivirus Software

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-10-26 Print this article Print

  But malware doesn't need to be delivered in an app to infect your device. As is the case in Windows machines, malware can be delivered in email attachments, images from the Web and anyplace else where binary content is opened in a device. If your BlackBerry malware arrives in an infected attachment, it's still malware, and your device is still infected.

But the Mac isn't the only soft target out there. In fact, given the success of the iOS platform, the relatively small amount of attention is a little surprising. Even more surprising is the fact that until recently, Apple resisted allowing AV vendors to sell anti-malware apps through the App Store. That's changed, but the view of owners that they're somehow immune hasn't.

So the time has come for a reality check. If you have an unprotected platform of any kind, you're subject to attack. As Windows machines get better and better protection, and as Windows users finally get a clue about avoiding malware, the bad guys will focus on easier targets. That means you.

This also means that you will need to start taking the precautions that people with Windows computers have been taking for years. Those precautions include being careful what Websites you visit, being careful about opening email attachments and being careful about viewing images where you don't know the source.

At this point, you have time. Relatively few malware creators have focused on the mobile environment just yet, and relatively few are targeting Linux and Macintosh platforms, but they will. Those platforms are currently really easy pickings, and that's what the bad guys love. As the relative market share (compared with Windows computers) increases, the amount of malware targeting those platforms will also increase.

This means, among other things, that it's time for you to start investigating security software for all of your platforms, not just the ones running Windows. This is actually pretty easy to do just by searching for "Security" in whatever app market you use. In the enterprise, it's even easier since many enterprise security packages already cover mobile devices either as part of the basic package or as an option.

But the bottom line, Mac users, is that your free ride is over. The bad guys of malware have you in their sights, and you can find out just how frustrating it is to have your machine taken away from you and made part of a botnet. Fortunately, it's only one really bad Trojan so far. But there will be more.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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