At a Glance
- A slick, free and subtle antivirus experience
- Advanced and business users should consider a paid option
While a full system scan can take a while – a couple of hours on our 1TB drive – you can set up custom scans to protect specific areas of your system. Sophos’ antivirus solution is full-featured, flexible and completely free. That’s hard to beat.
Mac users often claim that Macs don’t get viruses, which is by-and-large true – they don’t. At least not the self replicating kind that has all but made working with Windows a miserable experience.
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However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other types of malicious attacks out there, such as Trojans, malware, phishing attacks and pharming websites. And, of course, if you work with people using Windows PCs its considered bad form to pass viruses (often attached to emails) on to them; even if it doesn’t affect your Mac. So, security should be important to every Mac user, but that doesn’t mean you have to fork out a lot of money for it, or, indeed, any money at all.
Sophos offers a free security package,
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition. Frankly, there’s no reason not to try it as it provides precisely the protection a home user needs without the added bells and whistles that often serve to slow down your system. It’s simple to install and use and needs just a few megabytes of disk space. Running quietly in the background, it’s hard to tell that the software is active at all, aside from a small icon in your menu bar.
Sophos can keep a free eye on your system. It can even e-mail you warnings.
This icon is the key to your security, if it’s black then all is well but should a nasty piece of software – be it malware, Trojan or phishing scam – arrive you’ll be notified immediately. Unlike more aggressive options, Sophos simply quarantines suspect files for your review and, in most cases, can clean them up for you without having to delete the file itself.
Should you wish to disinfect your computer more thoroughly, you can opt to scan local drives for threats. You can then choose to deal with anything you discover in a number of ways using the Quarantine Manager. This allows you to see when the file was created and view the type of threat it poses. We were surprised to find several suspect files on what we believed to be a clean system; fortunately most of them were harmless