Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Mac security software? Yes, you need it

September 29, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

Longtime readers know how I've felt for years about antivirus software for the Mac. The only viruses they catch, I've said many times, are Windows viruses. In other words, you are supposed to install an AV program on your Mac to be a good neighbor.

I said phooey to that. Bah, humbug. Tell your Windows-using neighbors to run their own antivirus software.

But I've softened. Not because I suddenly think you ought to pay your neighbor's auto insurance and gas bill.

No, because I realized I was wrong. Period.

I was thinking the wrong way. Antivirus software is supposed to catch computer viruses. And there are practically no Mac viruses. So that means it's crazy to run AV software on a Mac.


Sorry, that's wrong.

The problem is the term all of us Mac snobs have been using. We've been speaking about viruses, as if that's all there is out there in the badlands. But it's not viruses that matter. It's all the bad stuff, viruses and everything else. All that stuff is called "malware." Mac users need just as much protection against malware as anybody else.

Some malware slips into your computer by taking advantage of doors that are left open. Every computer, regardless of who makes it, has an open door here and there. This happens because programmers are human and they make mistakes.

Other malware leaps into your computer by taking advantage of a much bigger problem -- you.

You see a link that looks legit and you click on it. BAM! Your browser gets injected with a snooping bug.

You leave your computer on at night and a spyware worm wiggles its way out of hiding and starts sending spam from your email address. While you are sleeping, unaware of anything.

You try to do the right thing and send a return email to a spammer to get yourself off a mailing list. All you end up doing is confirming your real name and address. So you get captured. You're hooked.

Malware protection software is vital for all of us. My recommendation for excellent malware protection isn't cheap, but it's very, very good. It's ESET Cyber Security Pro, from http://www.eset.com/us/home/products/cyber-security-pro.

Unlike Mac software that seems rushed to market, ESET Cyber Security Pro is top notch, obviously written to the standards of ESET's Windows malware protection. You can get a free, 30-day trial.

A one-year subscription costs $60 -- a lot, compared to free malware software, but less than 14 cents a day if you consider the real cost.

If you'd like to see a report on other anti-malware programs, go to www.av-comparatives.org/mac-security-reviews.