Mac Malware Attacks Prompt Security Vendors to Rush Out Antivirus Tools

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Mac Malware Attacks Prompt Security Vendors to Rush Out Antivirus Tools

by Fahmida Y Rashid

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Sophos Antivirus for Mac detects both Mac and Windows malware. If the Mac navigates to a compromised Website that tries to download a Windows virus, the software will detect it and shut it down before it can wreak havoc on the network. Sophos is offering home users a free download of the antivirus tool.

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Expected in November, ESET's Cybersecurity for Mac offers cross-platform protection against threats targeting the Macintosh, Windows and Linux platforms. It can block threats that enter via USB and other removable media, as well.

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Panda Security

Panda Security launched Panda Antivirus for Mac in October. Designed to defend Mac OS and OS X users against viruses, spyware, adware and other forms of malware, the antivirus tool will also scan iPhones, iPads and iPods. It scans both e-mail and local files, so users won't accidentally send infected files to others.

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Kaspersky Lab

As part of its newly launched Anti-Malware Protection System, Kaspersky Lab updated its antivirus engine for the Mac. Information about protection status and any necessary user actions is presented in a graphic format that is easy to understand. The antivirus software can run in automated mode and not bother users with repeated requests. It can work with versions of OS from 10.4.11 and later.

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One of the older Mac antivirus software programs available, McAfee VirusScan for Mac was formerly known as Virex. It supports Mac OS X 10.4.6 and later, and can be installed on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

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Symantec, another security vendor that has been selling anti-malware kits for the Mac for years, has several products in its Mac-based Norton lineup. Depending on the exact product, Symantec offers the following capabilities: antivirus, vulnerability protection, worm detection and removal, identity protection, anti-phishing, and two-way firewall.

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At one point, Apple recommended that Mac users install antivirus software, even though it soon backpedaled on that recommendation when it went back to touting the Mac's innate security. OS X comes with built-in security features, such as the adaptive firewall, system-level security alerts and application sandboxing. As malware gets more sophisticated, relying on just the operating system might be a mistake.

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Trend Micro

Trend Micro promises "total" protection for personal data with its antivirus offering. In addition to detecting worms, viruses, Trojans and spyware, Trend Smart Surfing for Mac protects against phishing attempts by blocking links to dangerous sites within instant messages and e-mails. It also prevents sites from downloading and installing software. Parental controls are also available.

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While the link is buried on the site, AVG does offer a free version of its LinkScanner tool for Macs. Free LinkScanner for Mac checks all search results in Google, Bing and Yahoo to make sure they aren't going to malicious sites. Users get a color-coded icon indicating if the link is safe, potentially unsafe, gray content or known to be malicious.

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No list would be complete without at least one open-source offering. Based on the ClamAV engine, ClamXav offers real-time virus scanning and some e-mail scanning. An add-on, ClamXav Sentry offers real-time malware monitoring on folders. While there is limited support for older OS X versions, ClamXav will run on both PowerPC and Intel Macs.

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