Virus scanning for Macintosh

A falcon out hunting.

A falcon out hunting.

Even though you have a Mac, you may still want to investigate some  virus scanning software for your system. There are quite a few safety features built in to your modern web browsers and email applications, but are you still safe? Can you be completely protected from malware or a computer virus? How much do you really have to worry about it?

Do you even have virus protection software on your Mac? When was the last time you scanned your Mac for a virus? Are you sure you’re iPhone and iPads are free of virus rif raf?

ClamXav - Mark AllanClamXav is virus protection software with a clean and simple interface for scrubbing your files and protecting your Mac. Download it from their website or through the Mac App Store.

Before you do, there’s an important difference between the two sources that you should understand.

Use the version from their website if you want more of a “set it up and forget it” experience, which, of course is not how you are supposed to live your paranoid digital life.

If you use the Mac App Store version, you should note that you will not be able to use the Sentry feature which will actively scan folders for you like your Downloads folder or attachments from emails. This is typically the virus protection most people think they are getting when they install any virus protection software.

The benefit of using the Mac App Store version is that you are more likely to update and think about this program more often as you visit the store for new applications and see it in your Updates list. You can set up the software to scan folders on a schedule, but scanning for a virus once a day during your lunch break or overnight is not nearly as thorough as an active agent scanning as you go, but the later may feel like it’s slowing you down. Spend a moment to consider which level of speed and performance you think you require and have at it.

If you want to read more about viruses and virus protection software for the Mac, there’s a section at MacWorld.com that, as of this posting, hasn’t been updated since 2008. Does that tell you anything? Enjoy. Stay safe.