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Avira launches free Mac Security anti-malware app

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.











by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. facebook_Michael

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2012

    +5

    Wrong name ...

    It should be called "Windows Security Courtesy of a Mac" as it has nothing to do with Mac security.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    And I should trust...

    ... that this isn't itself malware because...?

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Why do I need this?

    Is it my job to protect Windows users? I think not.

    You can't protect against PEBCAK.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    definitions...

    Though there aren't any known Mac viruses for OS X,

    There are few viruses out there for any platform. A virus is defined as a malicious piece of code attached to a file that spreads itself. What most people want to claim to be a virus (attacking a system remotely and infecting it) is technically a worm.

    Viruses used to be big in the 80s/90s, but it is easier to attack via worm, and far easier through trojan, that few people waste their time with viruses any more.

    Plus, the mac community tends to dismiss any piece of malware as a threat if it requires user interaction to install (ignoring the same requirement when talking of windows viruses) or doesn't get access to the operating system (runs at the user level, not the root level). Apparently being able to delete all your files is OK.

    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.

    Recent malware has been seen in the wild that don't require the user to perform any action for it to install (except go to a web site that downloads the offending file, which could just as easily be a web site that itself has been attacked and broken). But, oddly, you don't hear much about these malware on this site (which is odd, since MacNN loves those kinds of stories).

    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.

    That is, trojan horses exist as well on the Mac side.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Re: Why do I need this?

    Is it my job to protect Windows users? I think not.

    It is if you work in a company with Windows users.

    You can't protect against PEBCAK.

    Right, which is where most of the windows (and Mac) malware comes from. But you can protect against it. That's why they make such software to begin with.

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