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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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RE: not surprised by apple
By xpax on 11/4/2010 2:11:10 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sure this comes as no big shock to anyone, but you're wrong, again.

Macs do get malware, and as more people use them, it'll only get worse. It is well known (amongst people who aren't stupid) that OS X is the least secure OS available today. Once the bad guys start taking advantage of this, it'll be the beginning of the end for this current phase of Macsurdity. Back down to 3% market share you go.

RE: not surprised by apple
By Tony Swash on 11/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: not surprised by apple
By Gio6518 on 11/4/2010 2:40:19 PM , Rating: 5
(although Macs are already over that if you factor out corporate Window sales).

Factor MAC's out of our school systems and Mac would be down to 1 maybe 2%

RE: not surprised by apple
By Tony Swash on 11/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: not surprised by apple
By JakLee on 11/4/2010 6:46:34 PM , Rating: 3
In the real world it is extremely unlikely that there is going to be a magic moment, magic event or turning point which will somehow demolish the brand reputation Apple has.

Actually that is an easy one to change. 1 nasty virus that is Apple only & is very hard to update/find-remove and also does something very bad (like bot-net your computer & steal your personal info with a keylogger) that hits quickly but takes quite awhile to find out would do it.

RE: not surprised by apple
By satory on 11/4/2010 8:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
In the real world Mac's have a firmly entrenched reputation for security, mostly because actual existing malicious security problems occur on another platform.

existing? well thats nearly obvious isn't it?

Now I'm not an expert, but most of the EXISTING malicious security problems would of been made to target the more wide spread platform, and more than likely due to the differences in the OS's they would affect Macs in the way that they affected Windows machines. But MS are learning, little by little and have made some progress in their AV software, but now its Apples turn. They shouldn't be blind to the fact that the need to be more responsive to possible threats the more market share they get.

In the real world it is extremely unlikely that there is going to be a magic moment, magic event or turning point which will somehow demolish the brand reputation Apple has.

Yeah I cant imagine there would be a turning point that would damage Apple, but that really because there are a lot of Apple users that are in denial of any negative things that Apple do, (and yes there's a few blind MS people around as well)

RE: not surprised by apple
By Tony Swash on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: not surprised by apple
By Luticus on 11/5/2010 8:30:40 AM , Rating: 2

you whine about lack of knowledge... allow me to point out why this article is the stupidest thing i've ever read... i feel as though it's planted a virus in my brain!

No one can have missed the commotion caused by Microsoft Windows of late. It began with the announcement by Google that they'd been hacked by China. Then the revelation that way too many Google computers were running Windows and way too many of them were running the intergalactically shunned IE6 web browser, bane of web designers and security consultants everywhere.
this fist paragraph shows a COMPLETE bias and basically screams "this is not an article but a windows bash fest.

Here's what's important to understand: if a Windows system bottoms out in a BSOD, then there's something very wrong at kernel level.
WRONG: a windows system can bsod's because of driver issues, major system crashes, bad hardware and many other reasons and usually doesn't involve the kernel (as the source of the problem). A windows bsod is a catch mechanism which renders the computer locked down (hence your only recourse is to reboot) due to the crash to prevent things like hardware/software system damage. If i remember correctly it's the mac systems that have "kernel panics".

Windows programmers like to talk about processor ring levels. Intel processors have different so-called rings. The Intel processors run code at different levels and keep track of where they are at all times. Apple computers of today use Intel processors too, so the concept is applicable on Mac OS X as well.
Only if the software takes advantage of it. Doesn't mean crap if it isn't used. Even if this is available on mac's, what does it matter? It's not a minus on the windows side of things...

Mac OS X is a variation on a vanilla Unix theme. All the important system files are locked away and out of bounds to ordinary users. Take a look yourself.

How old is this article? I'll spell it out for you... U A C !
UAC completely invalidates this argument because it does EXACTLY THE SAME THING!

So take the time now to pay a visit to the other side of town. See how the poor unfortunate live. The recent issues with Windows BSODs have to do with a rootkit that seems to have spread to a lot of computers. What's a rootkit?
This is an issue where these were installed on Sony machines from the factory. Talk to Sony... and by the way, they aren't doing this anymore (as far as i know).

The most powerful file attribute in MS-DOS is the 'read-only' attribute. With this attribute set, applications can't write to files. But because MS-DOS is a single user system, anyone - any process - can remove this attribute on a whim.
Again, how unbelievably old is this garbage, ms-dos died with windows 9x/ME. The windows command prompt is NOT ms-dos. The command prompt (especially that of vista/7 and their server equivalents respect permission settings). By the way, if you think "read only" is the most powerful permission setting in windows you're a crack head...

Unix systems have several ways to achieve this, such as su ('substitute user') and the even more effective sudo ('substitute user and do'). Users need not log in to Unix systems with the root account but can temporarily escalate to root status provided they are able to supply the proper credentials.
windows uses "run as user/administrator".

Windows doesn't have a good way to do this. Windows doesn't have a secure way to do this. Windows doesn't have a viable counterpart at all.
AGAIN: windows uses "run as user/administrator". This emulates to "sudo" functionality perfectly.

Watching those Windows fools panic everytime there's a catastrophe can be infuriating or frustrating or enervating. But sitting on a secure system where none of this ever applies has to elicit a smile. Slashdot had a huge thread on the topic the other day. Some of the quotes there are precious. Precious few contain any helpful insights. But they're all extraordinarily amusing.
Utter, total Bull shit... This article is garbage and is not only comparing the newest mac technology to windows tech that's 10+ years old, but it's even wrong about the old stuff......

No wonder you're crazy Tony, if this is the garbage you've been reading into... WOW, just... WOW...

It is my true and honest hope that you are an exception and that not all mac users are this stupid... I have more faith in my techy counterparts than this and hopefully someone from the mac "side" will back up my statment here when i say that this article and the fact you you DARE to reference it here shows your garbage, biased point of view in its true color and only serves to make you look like i total fool. I am now dumber having read that!


RE: not surprised by apple
By Luticus on 11/5/2010 8:57:51 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't see this at the very bottom (past what looked to be comments but were in-fact only "quotes":


In past jobs I left my workstation on 24/7 and would always find it at the login screen after a set of updates along with the stupid balloon about how Windows happily restarted itself for me once I was logged in. My user account was centrally managed with limited privileges of course. And since the company had no IT person pushing out updates, MS was doing all of the work.

So yes EVEN IF you're only logged in as a LUA, Windows will still perform the updates and reboot itself. If you decide to shut down, Windows will apply the updates without any privilege escalation, even as a limited user (and you'll get the 'do not turn off or unplug your computer' warnings).

windows xp: control panel -> automatic updates. Here you can turn off automatic updates.

windows vista/7: control panel (icon view) -> windows update -> change settings. Here you can turn off automatic updates.

Whoever wrote this article is a complete tool, has no idea how to operate windows, is NOT a computer tech (obviously) and probably works at a mac "genius bar". And i say "genius" with utter sarcasm because this guy is an idiot.

RE: not surprised by apple
By Tony Swash on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: not surprised by apple
By Luticus on 11/5/2010 12:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
Mac osx 10.6:
system preferences -> software update, check "check for updates" and set a schedule, check download updates automatically. It might not "install" them with out your authorization but it will download them and put them on your machine meaning the same exploit is technically "possible".

I've never heard of any virus/hacker exploiting the windows update system. in a corporate environment (and at home) i use wsus which is used to update all my windows machines (they sync with that server which in turn syncs with windows update and then my server filters things i don't want, and from there my machines grab their windows updates). In a standard user environment your given the CHOICE to enable automatic updates. You don't have to. Your also given the CHOICE to automatically install downloaded updates, but you do not HAVE to.

All the world has gone Unix except the boys in Seattle and there is a reason for that.

that's funny, because windows is still the operating system with the largest install base, and windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system of all time seconded by... wait for it... windows xp! unix/linux based environments aren't bad, i actually am a huge fan and really like them. What you're doing here though is promoting complete lies and BS. if you're going to knock windows at least come up with REAL flaws. What you've done here is show a complete lack of knowledge of the operating system and nothing more.

RE: not surprised by apple
By Tony Swash on 11/6/2010 3:25:14 PM , Rating: 1
system preferences -> software update, check "check for updates" and set a schedule, check download updates automatically. It might not "install" them with out your authorization ".

Exactly. In MacOSX nothing can get installed with out explicit use authorisation, in Windows it can. The difference is an indicator of fundamentally different security architecture. If it's possible to install software and make changes to the system without used permission then it is inherently less secure.

I've never heard of any virus/hacker exploiting the windows update system.

You know as well as I do that that that is not was is being argued. If it is structurally possible in an OS to escalate permissions to the level where software can be actively installed and run on your system without your permission then that OS is inherently less secure than one where such a thing is impossible.

In the end you don't have to do this sort of analysis to discover that Windows is the world's most insecure OS. Just use empirical evidence. Just count the number of real world exploits per OS. That's one area where Windows really does excel :)

RE: not surprised by apple
By Luticus on 11/8/2010 4:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
If it is structurally possible in an OS to escalate permissions to the level where software can be actively installed and run on your system without your permission

First of all you're talking about system UPDATES, second these updates do not have to be installed automatically. The user can choose to install them manually if he/she wants... You're splitting hairs.

By the way, convenient dodge to the REST of my post prior. Your article is still garbage even if this one simple fact is or is not true. All this arguing is irrelevant because of the fact that the article spends about 90% of it's duration comparing leopard/snow leopard to the days of MS-DOS/pre windows 2000, 10+ years in the past. That article is ridiculous and so are you for referencing it or even suggesting it as a viable argument. This is a pathetic attempt and I will go out of my way to call you on any further like it. I feel sorry for people who buy into garbage like this. You have to be the most biased individual I've ever met. I've met some crazy "mac fans" before but this garbage tips the scale. A computer is a computer, get over yourself. The product you happen to like is NOT the end-all, be-all, best thing ever! Every product has it's pluses and minuses and for someone so bent on pointing out all of Windows minuses you have managed to show none. I use Mac, Windows, and Linux (among others) every single day, and am very skilled and well versed in all of them. You CAN'T sell me a BS argument! If you're going to argue with me about the quality of a computer product you'd better know your stuff and you'd better be 100% right. No half baked crack head article will convince me otherwise. Unless you really know your stuff and are also 100% correct, I will call you on it... You can't win. This whole trick you do where you skim a post for it's "weak point", the spot you think you can exploit to make your next wild, insane claim... will not work, I will also call you on that! Very convenient, read a whole post and ignore all the good comments that shut down every thing you've said, then find the one thing you can build a case against and push that and only that... yea that's not going to work on me... If you're going to reply, reply in-full!

RE: not surprised by apple
By dark matter on 11/6/2010 8:24:42 PM , Rating: 1
You really a funny guy dude, you remind me of one of those guys of God TV, you know, the crazy ones that believe their own bullshit.

RE: not surprised by apple
By INeedCache on 11/8/2010 9:30:17 AM , Rating: 1
You need to lay off the crack pipe. Is Apple giving them away with Macs instead of AV software?

RE: not surprised by apple
By themaster08 on 11/5/2010 3:18:55 AM , Rating: 1
In the real world Macs are more popular than they have ever been in the last 25 years.
Probably because there are more people in the world than there were 25 years ago.

Guess what? PC's are also more popular than they have ever been in the past 25 years.

Yet OS X's market share still hangs around the 5% mark. OS X saw a decline in market share over the past 12 months.

To put that into proportion, that means that Macs are still selling at the same rate as they've always been if you factor in population and PC sales.

RE: not surprised by apple
By Helbore on 11/5/2010 10:40:56 AM , Rating: 1
What the heck are you doing on a tech site?

RE: not surprised by apple
By Gio6518 on 11/4/2010 2:54:49 PM , Rating: 4
Much of Apple's focus has been on the new mobile market where they appear to be doing rather well.

Apple has no idea about its probabally better that they dont offer a security suite, even in their mobile area, an app must pass Apple so called rigorous inspection, and they let something likee this get through...

RE: not surprised by apple
By Luticus on 11/4/2010 3:12:36 PM , Rating: 5
On a side note... (regarding the "get a mac" picture above) i'd like to see an altered version of that commercial:

mac: boy it's nice to be out here alone...
UAC guy: Mac attempting communication on port 1121, confirm or deny?
PC: Deny...

UAC turns to mac, kicks him in the balls and says to the pc "Port closed... threat neutralized"

Mac falls over vomiting all over himself.

words flash on screen: The best defense is a good offense... UAC kicks balls!

:) much better :P

RE: not surprised by apple
By Luticus on 11/4/2010 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the image of the Mac as being safer will change and I don't think the sales of Macs will decrease, Mac sales have outgrown the market for 18 quarters in a row so there is a bit of a trend there :)

Windows has had 90+% of the pc market for years and years.... so there's a bit of a trend there...

All in all these "oh my god Macs get viruses" stories make some folks get very over excited but in the real world the impact is zero.
The worst part is that you're probably right here... That's the bad thing. Idiots will continue believing they are invulnerable and apple will continue doing very little because they want to maintain their "image" and so much of their user-base will be highly screwed when $hit does inevitably hit the fan.

Much of Apple's focus has been on the new mobile market where they appear to be doing rather well.
true, they have done rather well here, even in the face of large competition. while i think this is great i do hope someone steps up and offers some "more capable" devices because i hate how locked down apples are and i'm not touching android ever.

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