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Apple doesn't offer its customers free security protections like Microsoft, so Sophos is offering them instead.  (Source: YouTube/Apple)

Sophos' antivirus protects Mac users from many common threats.  (Source: Sophos/YouTube)
AV company steps up to the plate when Apple refuses to provide its users equivalent protections to Microsoft's

Sophos is offering Mac users a great deal.  As Apple has thus far refused to protect its users with free antivirus software, Sophos is stepping up to the plate, launching Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition for Macs which will protect Mac users against "today’s and tomorrow’s Mac threats".

For all Apple's years of "Get a Mac" ads belittle the "virus"-plagued PC, it is Macs today that are relatively unguarded.  While their tiny market share has protected them in the past, a growing number of cross platform attacks are letting Mac users get infected, just like your average PC.

But the key difference is where Microsoft is very keen on protecting its users, offering free antivirus software (Microsoft Security Essentials) for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7; one of the internet's best online vulnerability databases (Knowledge Base); and a wealth of malware removal tools.

Apple, by contrast, doesn't seem very concerned at all about safeguarding its loyal customers.  It has a glacial patching time and has basically pretended that Mac viruses don't exist, which has led many of its loyal fans to do likewise. 

But Mac viruses do indeed exist in the wild as some users can attest, and they are growing in number.  After all coding for the Mac is not inherently different from coding Windows apps -- and many security researchers argue that Apple's OS-level security is actually weaker than Windows'.

Apple has quietly advised its users to get an antivirus program, but has declined to offer them one for free like Microsoft does.

Chris Kraft, product management vice president at Sophos, comments to EWeek, "While most businesses recognize the importance of protecting their Mac computers from malware threats, most home users do not."

Sophos security expert Richard Wang adds, "Mac users must remember that less targeted is not the same as invulnerable."

The new suite will protect against the new trojan-worm Mac-Koobface variant, among other malicious programs.

The company sells a number of packages for businesses with Macs.  The cheapest is a 3-user, one year license priced at $136.50 USD.  That product competes with similar offerings from Norton and AVG.  It also competes with smaller third party offerings like iAntiVirus.

Any Mac users who commonly use OS X are strongly advised to grab Sophos' new freeware, if you don't already have antivirus protection.  The install will take approximately 150 MB of disk space.

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By ltcommanderdata on 11/4/2010 12:33:30 PM , Rating: -1
Apple doesn't develop or bundle antivirus software so you ding them for that. But if they did, people would ding them for overreaching into the third-party ecosystem, question their "closed" or monopoly tactics for bundling it like they complain about Apple bundling Safari, and question the effectiveness of their solution just like Microsoft's antivirus isn't necessarily the best solution. As it stands, Apple recommending Mac users get antivirus software and third-party developers offering such solutions, in this case for free, seems like a better solution than Apple developing an internal one themselves.

Although with $50 billion in cash, Apple could probably buy any antivirus company they want.

By amanojaku on 11/4/2010 12:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
No one would complain if Apple wrote an anti-virus program. We certainly would shout from the rooftops that Apple has finally admitted to being vulnerable. Actually, Apple already has:
Security Advice
The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, antivirus software may offer additional protection.

And MSE is just fine. I've replaced all my Norton/Symmantec and McAfee installations with it. It seems to be faster and offers just as much protection. And MS did not bundle it; you download it and install it if you want to. I may not use it five years from now, same as Norton and McAfee, but I like it today.

By Luticus on 11/4/2010 12:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
People only said something about safari's bundle after the eu/opera and others gave ms crap for ie...

Microsoft's antivirus isn't necessarily the best solution.
Yea, if you're corporate and even then only because it doesn't have a server/client deployment. (that's what MS Forefront is for). Otherwise yes, yes it is! You show me any free or paid for antivirus solution that's better than Microsoft's for the common folk... go right ahead. Granted this is all opinionated and you can't show me one because i've used all the common/mainstream virus scanners (avg, kapersky, norton, mccafee, etc...) none of those or any others i've tried can touch ms security essentials.

Although with $50 billion in cash, Apple could probably buy any antivirus company they want.
that'll be the day... and even if they did they'd only do it if it were profitable to them, when has apple ever given anything away?

By Anoxanmore on 11/4/2010 1:36:46 PM , Rating: 2
Eset does better than security essentials. :)

That is the only one I'd reccomend if someone wanted to pay for an A/V.

They always have, and always will(probably).

By Luticus on 11/4/2010 2:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'll have to read up on that one and try it out, haven't really played with that. nothing a virtual machine, some free time, and the trial version can't solve.

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