Do Macs Get Viruses? Anti-Virus for OS X?

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Michael sent me a video question via YouTube. He just bought his first Mac, and wonders if he needs an AntiVirus, and if so… what should he use? In short, the answer is YES!

It doesn’t matter what Operating System you use, it’s just plain smart to use an Anti-Virus program, and a Firewall. Yes… even for a Mac, people. Even though there may currently not be many exploits with OS X, that doesn’t mean there will never be. It doesn’t mean you are 100% safe. You need to be smart, and protect yourself.

I recommend Clam X AV for a Mac. It’s an open-source application. They also have a Windows alternative, called ClamWin. From Clam X themselves:

Back in the days before OS X, the number of viruses which attacked Macintosh users totalled somewhere between about 60 and 80. Today, the number of viruses actively attacking OS X users is…NONE! However, this doesn’t mean we should get complacent about checking incoming email attachments or web downloads, for two reasons. Firstly, there’s no guarantee that we Mac users will continue to enjoy the status quo, but more importantly, the majority of the computing world use machines running MS Windows, for which an enormous quantity of viruses exist, so we must be vigilant in checking the files we pass on to our friends and colleagues etc. For example, if you’re a wise person and you’ve turned MS Office’s macro support off then you’re not going to notice that virus which is hiding inside this month’s edition of Extreme Ironing.doc which your friend sent you. If you then forward that document to a less wise person who has not turned off the macro support, then you have most likely just sent him a shiny new Pandora’s Box with a sign saying “Open this end”!

Just be smart. Compute safe. Protect your machine, your data, and yourself.

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