Best AV for a Mac

If perhaps you're looking for an AV program for your Mac, the following article from Macworld provides a review of several anti-virus programs:

Some might feel an AV program isn't necessary on a Mac, but if an AV program is effective, free, and has a minimal impact on a computer's performance, I don't see any downside to using one. Why not run one, I ask myself? It doesn't hurt, and it might help. 

In this particular article the free version of Avast is recommended. Avast usually comes out well in AV tests, and I've used Avast for years.

Jim Hamm

Kaspersky Free AV

For your possible interest, Kaspersky has just announced a free version of their antivirus program. Comments from Eugene Kaspersky can be read here. If you want to try it, the free download is here. It is available for both a PC and Mac.

I've downloaded it, but haven't installed it yet, but probably will soon. Over the years Kaspersky has gotten good reviews as being an effective AV program. For example, read here. And you've probably read recently about whether Kaspersky could be spying for Russia. Eugene, of course, soundly denies this allegation and has offered to make his program code available for review.

Being on the curious side I'll give Kaspersky AV a try for both my Mac and PC. Will be interesting to see what I think about it. Presently I run both Avast AV and Avira AV, and have been pleased with both. I do get a popup ad occasionally wanting me to upgrade to their paid version. Can't blame them for that.

Jim Hamm

Kaspersky Anti-Virus (AV)

You quite possibly use an AV program on your computer, as I do. Recently there's been lots of news about the possible hacking of our Presidential voting system by the Russians, which they deny. But this got me to thinking about a popular AV program, which is Russian-based: Kaspersky Lab.

I've not used Kaspersky AV, but it has a good reputation, especially in AV tests. I did a little research into whether one should/should not use a Russian-based AV program. Here is one article I found, which has a definite opinion on the question. And here is one more article, from NPR, which uses Kaspersky programs, and noted that Kaspersky is a sponsor of some NPR programs. 

Internet research on this question will turn up many other articles discussing the subject. My take so far: given the relationship between Kaspersky Lab and the Russian government, it is recognized that the possibility of a nefarious collusion exists, but nothing indicates that one now exists.

My intent was not to stir up any negative thoughts about Kaspersky AV, but just to get a feeling for people's opinions on the question. Just food for thought.

Jim Hamm

There is a NEW Sophos for Mac

Sophos Home includes all the features of Free Mac AV with a sleek new user interface that allows you to protect all computers in your home (Mac and Windows) from a single interface. And yes, it’s still free. When downloaded and installed, this new interface, called Sophos Home, replaces the existing Sophos Antivirus application.

There is a totally new interface, in fact, two new interfaces. One is an app that runs on the computer and the other is a web interface accessed at for which you are required to create a free account. Both will allow you to run a scan on the computer, but the web app is where you define or configure how Sophos checks for trouble.

From the computer app, you can only scan the computer or turn on or off a protection. From the Web interface, you have complete control of how each of your computers are protected.

There are three kinds of protection. These are Automatic Virus Protection and Web Protection. The virus protection can also check for Potentially Unwanted Applications in real time and prevent them from being installed - and you an override this if you really want to install an app that you are sure will cause your computer no harm.

In the web protection, there are three categories. These are General InterestSocial Networking & Computing, and Adult & Potentially Inappropriate. For each category there are numerous items to select one of three levels of protection for each item. These are AllowWarn, and Block.

It is still recommended to do a full scan after installing just to let Sophos know it has done that at least once. Thereafter, it may not be needed to do another full scan since the system is being protected in real time.

The only caveat that I might mention here is that blocking some items can result in your not being able to view attached images that someone sends you. Tinkering is allowed.

John Carter

Helpful for Mac and PCs

Your PC friends will find this useful, too, according to Jim Hamm.  He begins with, "Here is a good article on antivirus programs. I've used the free version of Avast for years, both on PCs and Macs, and it's worked well for me." (Full article here.)        Jim adds,  "All the info in the article would apply to the Mac as well. Here is the link to a free download for the Mac."  

That Adware!

        Here's something to consider, sent from Ward Stanke.  He quotes Randy B. Singer, "By far the easiest, quickest, and most complete way to remove adware from one's Macintosh is by using this free product:  AdwareMedic (free)
        "However, if for some reason you don't care to run Adware Medic, there is a very detailed article on how to manually remove adware, here:
        "Note that most of the anti-virus software companies don't consider adware to be malicious, so their products don't look for adware."  

        Randy B. Singer is the co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions.)

Where is Your AV Program Made?

        "Here is an interesting article that discusses where AV (anti-virus) programs are developed.  I hadn't gave this much thought before reading this article. I use Avast, which comes from the Czech Republic," Jim Hamm gets our attention.  
        "Now, this isn't something that most of us are going to worry about. But, having said that, I think I would avoid any programs coming from China or Russia. I don't trust either of those countries, and they are definitely not our friends. Lots of recent articles about hackers from China and Russia attempting to spy on us.
        "Just a thoughtful, philosophical article for your contemplation...(grin)…" Jim.

Anti-Virus Software Trouble

         Commenting, "Folks using the Avast! anti-virus software might be interested in reading this," Jim Hays attaches this, "An article posted on The Safe Mac website states, 'The security community is ablaze with news of Superfish being pre-installed on some Lenovo computers. The primary issue concerning experts is that Superfish replaced SSL certificates, used for ensuring secure connections on the internet, with its own certificates. It turns out that the same behavior is being exhibited by software that many people are inclined to trust: Avast’s anti-virus software!'
     Read all about it here:

Being Careful to Avoid Viruses

        John Carter knows what he's talking about.  He writes, "In my experience, there are NO Mac viruses that Apple hasn’t taken care of, and that the only threats found anywhere are in some email message or in an application that is not blessed by Apple; in the latter case, it won’t be found in the App Store.

        "If you have downloaded and installed an app from the Internet, such as Firefox or Chrome, that app may contain something that Sophos doesn’t like the looks of and declare it as suspicious or a threat. However, if you get the app from the source (e.g., Mozilla or Google), then you should not have any problems with that app. However, avoid links that claim to be the source or that offers extra features."
        And John goes into detail in a report to be posted at the Prescott Mac User Group's website, so you'll learn more about Sophos ( and how to use it. 

Learn Via Video, etc.

        Helpful PMUG leader John Carter scores big with this link,  and you'll want to take a look at this website.  Turns out they have more than 900 FREE video tutorials on how to use your Mac, iPad, iPhone and other Apple Technology.  
        And here's some very welcome news: They never sell, rent or share your email address.  Read details at Policies. 
       No, we're not listing all 900 of their video tutorials.  But look at some of these other helpful categories.  

Here's another list of pages you'll want to check out. 
And this concludes the August PMUG meeting handout that's not getting handed out tomorrow, August 16; it's just posted here for your convenience.  Thanks again to John Carter who keeps an eye out for useful info for us.  
by Elaine Hardt. 

Antivirus Program Described

        "I use the free Avast antivirus (AV) program on both my Macs and Windows computers," Jim Hamm begins.   "I like it, and it is light on computer resources. In case you might an interest in Avast,  here is a comprehensive article about this AV program. The article happens to cover installation on a Windows computer, but the process is basically the same for a Mac.
        "Some might question whether an AV program is needed on a Mac. Rather than ponder this philosophical question, I just go ahead and use Avast. I see no downside to doing this, and a possibility of an upside."
        Read  this info and note the chart comparing Avast with seven other well-known antivirus programs.  And there's that word:  FREE. 

Anti-Virus App Does Its Job

       "I opened my mail this morning and Sophos (my only Anti-Virus app on my Mac) presented me with this notice: 

        So John Carter has now gotten everyone's attention!  (You do remember to click to enlarge the pasted graphics.)  Read on, "I opened the Quarantine manager.

Then I clicked on the link for the threat to see the details.  Not to worry, it only infects a Windows machine.   But anyway, I let Sophos clean it up:

And here's the happy conclusion from John,  "Having Sophos check my email for viruses and threats does help me avoid opening suspicious email, even if the threat can’t hurt my Mac."
        Note on this page  that Sophos is FREE,  and it's for Mac OS X 10.6 or later.  Their website also has a forum for discussions. 

Macs Are Safer

        David Passell starts off his New Year with, "Here is an article that should make Mac users happy or unhappy depending on which OS they are running:).  
        Some controversial comments provide food for thought. One person said, “A 10 year old Mac should be safer than the latest Windows 8 with all securty patches, the best anti-virus and malware fighter installed.” 

        Another informs, “the main vulnerability on Mac is the user. . . “

Some FREE AntiVirus Programs for Mac

        Jim Hamm started off with a link about AVG AntiVirus protection,  but that raised a few questions.  Have you used this?  Will it run on Mac running an earlier system?  Jim obliged with more info,  "I haven't used AVG, but it's been around for a long time and has a good reputation. It will run on Mavericks and Mountain Lion. Here's some more info on AVG."  
        But Jim, what antivirus program are you now using?  "I use Avast AV, which is also free."
        So, there you have it.  Any more questions from anybody?  Any recommendations?  Let's keep up on what works! 

Malware Locks Your File, Unless You Pay Ransom

        Startling new information comes to light in this article from Today Moneydated today.  A new, nasty piece of malicious software, CryptoLocker,  is infecting computers around the world — encrypting important files, even your photos —and demanding a ransom to unlock them.  It says a typical extortion payment is $300.  One business received an email attachment that looked like a shipping invoice from U.S. Postal Service. 
        Anti-virus software can not undo the damage, according to the NBC news writer.  Backing up is the only way to reduce the risk of losing your files forever, however he also warns your backup device should be disconnected from your computer until the next time you need to access it.  The article gives more details.  

How to Securely Set Up Your New Mac

       Jim Hamm has found an article for you or your friend who's getting a new Mac.  He says, " Here's an article from Intego with some useful hints on setting up a new Mac. 
        One of the suggestions is to install an anti-virus program, which I think is a good idea. Naturally the article recommends VirusBarrier, which costs money. I use Avast, which is free and a decent anti-virus program. I realize Macs haven't been hit by malware frequently in the past, but I don't see a downside to using a free AV program such as Avast. Maybe it will help me someday.

      "Another tip mentioned — particularly for laptops — is install a program, such as GadgetTrak, to try and track your laptop should it be stolen. Here is a review of other such programs."  

Anti-Virus Programs Examined

        Jim Hamm tells us more about AV , Anti-Virus programs, "There are several companies or persons that test various antivirus programs and publish the results. Which AV program is the best? Well, that depends on the type of test, when the test was done, how current is the AV program on loading virus signatures, and other variables. The results vary, and many question (perhaps rightly so) whether to run an AV program on a Mac at all? 

        "Out of curiosity, I enjoy reading about these tests just to see what the testers have to say. I may learn something useful. Following is an AV test performed by a Thomas Reed. The test results are shown in a PDF file, which can be downloaded and viewed from the link  and see
        Jim reviews his decision, "As I've written previously, I use the free Avast AV program on my Macs and a PC. Avast has worked fine for me, and I'll stick with it. It came out first in the above test, but it doesn't always do so. Determining the 'best' AV program is a nebulous project at best, it seems to me."

Comparing Anti-Virus Programs

        It's important to have the latest info on anti-virus programs.  Here, Jim Hamm discusses what's new.   
        "The current issue of the 'Ask Bob Rankin' newsletter discusses lab tests of various anti-virus programs by a German company, AV-Test. On the summary page, you can click the three lists of rankings to make them larger and readable. The program I use -- Avast -- comes in about the middle of the rankings. 
        "It's interesting to note the OS most likely to be attacked by a virus (Windows), Microsoft's own program -- Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) -- comes in last in average protection. Microsoft doesn't agree (naturally) with the findings of AV-Test. Click here for more details. 
        "I'm running Avast on my Macs and MSE on my Windows 8 PC. Rankin provides a list of free anti-virus programs here. I don't get too excited by the ratings and rankings, because they can change. I do like to read, though, about the various test results and opinions of the various anti-virus programs. I think it's wise to use an anti-virus program -- at least it is for me -- because someday it might just help.
      And Jim closes with, "One program not listed or tested -- Malwarebytes -- I've read and heard good reports about. It's not tested because it's more of a malware detection and removal tool instead of virus protection. There is a free and paid version. I've not used this yet, and I think it may only be for PCs and not Macs."

Need Another Reason to Switch from Windows?

         Whether you use Windows— or not — there's some helpful info here for all of us!  Don't miss the suggestions about thumb drives and external drives.  Thanks to John Carter for the following detailed report!   He starts with the news article.  Feds: Infected USB drive idled power plant 3 weeks

       " There are four ways to protect yourself from a virus: 
        1) Keep an hourly updated anti-virus app running continuously. Since any new virus won't be detected and a cure found for up to 24 hours, this isn't any kind of guarantee that a Windows OS won't get a virus.
        2) Switch from Windows to any one of the dozens of Linux distributions. Linux is probably the most secure OS on the market simply because hackers know their return on investment isn't big enough to warrant going after it. There's just not that many Linux computers in use compared to the vast number of Windows computers. Still, installing an anti-virus app on Linux will give added peace of mind.
        3) Switch from Windows to a Mac. Because Mac is based on Unix, it has the same low-profile for hackers as Linux. There have been recent viruses found on Macs in the past couple of years — maybe two or three — so an anti-virus app is now recommended for Macs for added peace of mind.
        4) Stop using computers. (Now we know John is smiling when he says this!  Read on for more of his report.)
       "LInux and Mac are no longer safe now that hackers have discovered a way to infect any computer with a Java virus. But if the browser has Java turned off, or if you don't even install Java on your computer (and this does not include Javascript, which is still safe — for the moment), you're pretty secure when it comes to Java viruses that come in through email or a website. 
        "Still, this doesn't protect a computer when the virus is embedded in a brand new thumb drive or external hard drive that you just bought. So, another step in purchasing any thumb drive or external hard drive is to reformat it before using it.
        "Is Linux or the Mac really free from attack? Many companies using Unix as their primary operating system get attacked daily, but mostly by hackers trying to find a way into the computer through some unguarded port. Hackers don't go after personal computers in this way, simply because there's no assurance that their efforts will return as much of a reward, but this doesn't mean they won't try. 
        "Any computer, regardless of the operating system type, needs to be secured with a firewall for protection against attacks from the Internet, and that firewall needs to be monitored constantly and updated frequently — which almost no personal computer owner knows anything about."
        Well, it's time to come to the conclusion — for now — and John winds up with, "If everyone switched from Windows to Linux or Mac, the hackers will start going after them and we'll be back to grabbing at straws to figure out how best to protect our computers. But for now, either one is a better solution than using Windows."