updated 06:00 pm EDT, Wed March 28, 2012
Helps stop accidental passing of PC viruses
Windows anti-virus software maker Avira has released a free version of the software for Macs, called Avira Free Mac Security. It is available for consumers and businesses alike who may wish to guard against malware downloads and the accidental acquisition and passing on of Windows viruses. While Mac OS X is not affected by viruses and malware aimed at Windows, Mac users can inadvertently e-mail or otherwise share infected files.
Though there aren't any known Mac viruses for OS X, malware and other security threats such as "phishing" e-mails and bogus pop-up ads designed to scare Mac users into believing there is a security issue have been on the rise, attempting to trick users into installing fake programs. Malicious code that is primarily designed to obtain identity information or passwords and financial data has been discovered in fake "video codecs" and pirated Mac applications.
The Avira software is designed to be used by novices and those concerned about their vulnerability to such threats. It features a scheduler that can be set to perform system scans, real-time protection, and is able to detect and remove Windows-based malware and viruses before they are inadvertently shared. Users can opt to scan specific folders only (such as the Downloads folder) or the entire system, and can remotely manage the software via a web browser from non-Mac machines (the company is working on a Mac-compatible management console).
Apple already provides automatically-updated anti-malware protection to Macs running Snow Leopard and later, though the silent updates are hard to detect and are not announced, meaning the company could rhefhttp://www.macnn.com/articles/11/10/19/could.open.affected.macs.to.other.attacks/fall behind on addressing a new threat if it is not vigilant. Reports of successful malware installations have dropped precipitously since Apple began the anti-malware protection in 2010, indicating that threats are largely being neutralized even when the user attempts to download bad software.
The program is routinely updated through automatic updates, and requires OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) or higher. It's available in both English and German, and businesses that would like to centrally manage multiple installs on the Mac will have a paid business edition available soon.