I’m a naughty Mac user. I check Macs for viruses. What? Viruses on a Mac?
There must be a reason all those Windows PC anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware software companies have Mac versions of their scanning and scrubbing apps, right? Macs need security, too, and they just want to help us achieve serenity and peace of mind. So, why do I check for viruses?
The Neighborhood Switchers
We live in a quiet neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac. Thanks to my evangelizing efforts, half the neighborhood uses a Mac, and the other half are still on Windows PCs.
That means half the neighborhood has no viruses or malware.
Guess which half? Interestingly, nearly every Mac or PC user up and down the street scans for malware from time to time. Windows PC users do it because they have to.
Why do Mac users scan their Macs for viruses when, well, there just aren’t any viruses in the wild for them to scan? That’s the part where I’m the naughty neighbor.
Scan For Mac Viruses For Free
It all started a few years ago after I’d converted my nearest neighbor. At my recommendation, she switched from a Windows Vista PC to a Mac. A few weeks later she called me to say she wanted to check for viruses.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.
Mrs. Gonzalez, there are no viruses for the Mac. You don’t need to buy anything to scan your Mac. It’s clean. Trust me.
She persisted and said her Mac had been “acting funny” so I dropped by to check it out. All seemed OK to me after checking out a few apps, so I downloaded an anti-virus utility and ran it on her Mac. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
When I reported my findings to my now relieved neighbor, she positively beamed. I told her to run the utility once a week or so, just to be sure that their old PC (gathering dust and unplugged in the garage) hadn’t infected her Mac. She was happy. I was naughty.
Naughty? Yeah. I downloaded the free ClamXav to check her Mac for all those viruses that don’t exist on Macs.
Since then I’ve done the same with other neighbors who’ve switched from Windows PCs to Macs. They were all deathly afraid their Macs were unprotected and would get infected by all those PC “bots” on the internet—as if they knew what those were.
For each I’ve downloaded ClamXav, gave it a spin, uh, er, scan, and collected a dozen heartfelt “thank you, thank you, thank you” from our neighbors. Their thanks also included coffee and cake, and an occasional free babysitting job.
Thank you, ClamXav.
So, if you’re worried about viruses that might be lurking on your Mac, ClamXav might be a good place to start. It’s free. Who knows? You might find something interesting. If you get email and attachments from Windows PC users, your Mac could be a virus carrier.
It’s unlikely that your Mac is infected, of course.
But, if you forward an infected email message to another Windows PC user, their computer could get infected by the virus that was lying in wait on your Mac.
If you scan your Mac using ClamXav (or any other decent malware utility) you could be doing them a big favor. ClamXav comes from ClamAV (the AV is for anti-virus), a free and well-respected anti-virus toolkit for UNIX systems.
If you feel left out of those malware malady conversations your friends have about their Windows problems, now you can join in and tell them you scan your Mac for viruses, too.