Got a Mac? How about a virus?

Mac OS X may not be as vulnerable to nefarious worms, trojans and viruses as a Windows-based PC. 

Nevertheless, the popular operating system can hardly be characterized as 100% secure.

And that is why Sophos has launched a free, business-class anti-virus product for Macs.

So, what does the anti-virus program do?

Well, the app is designed to protect your Mac by running in the background and scanning every downloaded program, file and inserted USB stick.

“I’m really pleased about this, because I love Macs. But just like I make regular backups of my valuable data – some of which is irreplaceable and is priceless in sentimental terms – I also run Sophos Anti-Virus,” explained senior Sophos security expert Graham Cluley.

“I’m [very] aware that there are a growing number of bad guys out there who might consider OS X users a ‘soft target’ and deliberately set out to infect Apple Macs, in the hope of stealing login details to banks and social networks, commandeer your MacBook to send spam or install irritating pop-ups, or simply commit identity theft.”

Cluley also emphasized that cybercriminals weren’t just kids “messing around” in back bedrooms any longer.

“Rather, they’re organized and professional. And unfortunately, many Mac users may have been too blasé about securing their computers, making the growing Apple userbase an attractive one to target.”

According to Cluley, past threats to Mac users have included:

  • Websites that pose as legitimate-looking software vendor’s sites, but whose downloads are really Mac malicious code.
  • Malware disguised as pirated software available for download from P2P file-sharing networks.
  • Sexy online video links that urge you to install a plug-in to view the content, but really infect your computer with a Mac Trojan horse.
  • Popular Twitter accounts, such as that belonging to former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, who have tweeted out links to websites designed to infect Mac computers.
  • Windows viruses and other malware, which can come in via email, web or USB drive, either being passed on to Windows-using friends or colleagues, or infecting virtual installations of Windows installed on a Mac.

“[So, yes] wise Mac users will secure their computers now, outwitting malware authors.

“[Because] if we make their jobs of infecting Macs damn difficult, they will go elsewhere to make a quick buck,” he added.