Kaspersky Lab releases antivirus app

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If you want make a Mac user mad, just sidle up and whisper the words, “Mac security software.” Then step back as the incensed sputtering ensues.

Well, get your sputterer ready: Following in the footsteps of McAfee and Open Door Networks, Kaspersky Lab has announced its first Mac security software. (There, I said it.)

To Kaspersky’s credit, the company is pitching Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac primarily as a prophylactic to prevent Macs from spreading malware to Windows PCs via e-mail, file-sharing, and other networked activities. With 85 percent of Mac users also owning a Windows PC, that pitch isn’t entirely implausible.

At the same time, Kaspersky Lab argues that the Mac platform isn’t inherently invulnerable and that, as Macs gain market share, malicious hackers could begin to see it as a juicier target. So Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac will protect against Mac-specific malware, too, should such a thing ever exist in significant quantity.

Kaspersky Lab says the software scans and disinfects files—including e-mail attachments and Web downloads—in real-time. It also claims that it’ll take up just one-percent of your CPU’s resources when idle. (Though if the program is scanning every file you receive or download, how often will that be? And how many of your CPU’s cycles will it suck up when it’s scanning? We’ll have to get back to you on those questions.)

Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher and an Intel processor. A 1-year license for a single Mac is $40; for three Macs, the 1-year license is $60. A 30-day free trial version (which can be upgraded to the licensed version) is available for download from the Kaspersky e-store.

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