It's pretty rare that you'll see a virus or any malware pop up on a Mac, but it can happen. That said, we don't feel you need to be using any antivirus software to protect yourself because your diligent mind should be sufficient. Here's why, and also a few antivirus software options that are worth a look should you want a little more protection than you can provide yourself.
- Fastest installation process ever
- Very lightweight
- It's like nothing is even installed (because that's actually the case)
- Surprisingly effective
- User-friendly (unless you're not very friendly)
Macs don't get many viruses. It's incorrect to say they don't exist, but they are so hard to come by that we believe antivirus software isn't worth your money, effort or the added slowness it brings to your Mac. While this may not always be the case, currently all you really need is a tiny bit of diligence. If you're just cautious about what you download and open on your machine, you should be just fine. Paying attention and being prudent is one of the best ways to protect yourself (like this) on any platform in the first place. Do it on a Mac and you shouldn't have any issues.
Using no antivirus software is, in a way, like using the rhythm method -- it's surprisingly effective if you don't mess up. Problems start to arise when you don't pay attention and accidentally download a bad file. The thing is, even if you make an effort you're going to have a hard time finding a virus for a Mac. With the exception of MacDefender, there really isn't that much out there that's an actual threat. That said, there's always a risk with using no protection at all. When it comes to Macs we think the risk is so small that it's not worth using any anti-virus software, but there is still a risk. Although there is still a risk even if you use antivirus software, you assuming more risk by relying on yourself as the barrier for any possible infection.
If nothing won't cut it for you and you want some help, Mac Antivirus software does exist. Here are some of your options. Unlike a lot of software for the Mac, most options are free.
ClamXav (free) is a very simple application designed to check files for possible threats. It's not automatic software, so it's really worth downloading as a supplement if you prefer using no antivirus software at all. If you download a file and not sure if it's safe, just test it with ClamXav and find out.
Sophos Antivirus For Mac Home Edition (free) is a more traditional antivirus solution for Mac. It has many features with plenty of video help. If you're paranoid and cheap, or you have a less-tech-savvy friend or family member that could use some protection, you'll want to check out Sophos.
iAntiVirus ($US30/year) is also pretty standard antivirus software, but for a cost (which may make it even more traditional). It provides numerous scanning options, scans quickly, doesn't eat up too many resources and isn't terribly expensive for antivirus software. Of course, you're potentially paying for something you don't need in this case so you may be more inclined to put that $US30 towards something else each year.
Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.