Considerable "flack" was generated recently when reports surfaced that Apple had unofficially softened its position regarding the immunity of the Mac OS to malware.
The security blog, Naked Security, claimed that the copy on the "Why You'll Love a Mac" section of Apple's website was quietly replaced. The section no longer states that a Mac "doesn't get PC viruses." Instead, it claims the Mac OS is "built to be safe."
Apple's critics view the change as a long overdue admission, but the company really had no choice. Reports that over half a million Macs were infected with the Flashback Trojan this year quickly put an end to the notion that iMacs and MacBooks were somehow immune from Internet threats.
(Note: A free Flashback detection tool is available here. See also Apple Support Article HT5247, "About the security content of Java for OS X 2012-003 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8," which includes removal instructions.)
With the popularity of Apple's notebooks and desktops on the rise, hackers are now taking the time to scan the Mac OS for vulnerabilities. Macs have become worthwhile targets.
Most malware today still targets Windows computers, but it's foolish to operate your Mac without some form of anti-malware protection, particularly when many options are free. Three examples are:
- Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition is free and easy to install and use.
- Avira Antivirus for Mac is free for everyone, not just for personal use, and is devoid of advertising or annoying upgrade pitches.
- Comodo Antivirus for Mac is also free for personal or commercial use and is low-impact.