Apple Won't Give Mac Users Free Virus Protection, So Sophos Decides To
November 4, 2010 12:10 PM
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Apple doesn't offer its customers free security protections like Microsoft, so Sophos is offering them instead.
Sophos' antivirus protects Mac users from many common threats.
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 (
); 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,
, "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
11/4/2010 2:46:54 PM
All someone needs to do to compromise an Apple machine is want to. Whereas Microsoft builds dynamic security features into its software and updates it frequently, Apple is counting on there being little interest in Mac malware (counting on it, and telling their worshippers to count on it too). After all, how much mayhem can a cyber-vandal cause by attacking a minuscule portion of the overall market?
Cyberbaddies like to see evidence of their work, and writing a Mac virus would result in very little devastation, like duct-taping a cherry bomb to the side of a battleship. They want headlines, news broadcast stories and visible mayhem...and compromising Apple systems won't cause that (even assuming Jobs doesn't pay everyone to bury the story).
The cyber-infrastructure of the world at large is built on something other than Apple products. Probably because doing otherwise would result in huge security gaps, compromised systems worldwide, and a Sad Mac face that you could see from Mars.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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