Sophos has today announced the world's first free business-strength anti-virus program for Macs.
In a pretty exciting move, we're making a version of our Mac anti-virus product (used by big companies around the world) available for free download to home consumers.
That means your home Macs can be protected automatically in-the-background with the latest anti-virus protection, checking every program you run, every file you download, every USB stick you insert, completely free. Is there a catch you're wondering? Well, nope! There isn't!
I'm really pleased about this, because I love Macs. Back at Cluley Towers we only use Macs at home - they're great for messing around with family photographs, making movies, storing music, the list goes on..
But just like I make regular backups of my valuable data (some of which is irreplaceable and is priceless in sentimental terms to me and my wife), I also run Sophos Anti-Virus on my Macs.
And it's not just to protect my movies and music collection. I'm also aware that there are a growing number of bad guys out there who might consider Mac users a "soft target" and deliberately set out to infect Apple Macs, in the hope of stealing login details to banks and social networks, commandeer your MacBook to send spam or install irritating pop-ups, or simply commit identity theft.
The cybercriminals aren't kids messing around in back bedrooms any longer, they're organised and professional. And - unfortunately - many Mac users may have been too blasé about securing their computers, making the growing Apple userbase an attractive one to target.
Don't believe me? Well, it's already started. Past threats to Mac users have included:
– Websites that pose as legitimate-looking software vendor's sites, but whose downloads are really Mac malicious code.
– Malware disguised as pirated software available for download from P2P file-sharing networks.
– Sexy online video links that urge you to install a plug-in to view the content, but really infect your computer with a Mac Trojan horse.
– Popular Twitter accounts, such as that belonging to former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, who have tweeted out links to websites designed to infect Mac computers.
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– Windows viruses and other malware, which can come in via email, web or USB drive, either being passed on to Windows-using friends or colleagues, or infecting virtual installations of Windows installed on a Mac.
Most people don't know that Apple acknowledged the malware problem by integrating rudimentary protection against a handful of Mac Trojans in Snow Leopard. But 95% of those Mac users we surveyed recently are convinced that more attacks are on the way.
Wise Mac users will secure their computers now, outwitting malware authors – if we make their jobs of infecting Macs damn difficult, they will go elsewhere to make a quick buck.
So, what are you waiting for?
This time you really do have nothing to lose as we've made it free :-) Download Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition for Mac.Follow @gcluley
Do you agree that Mac users need to protect their computers? Do you believe that actually they don't need to take any extra precautions to look after their data? Whatever your view, leave a message in the comments below.