Just say no to Mac anti virus programs

Mac virus, trojan horse and worm issues are like unicorns – everyone says they’ve seen one, no one can prove it.

It’s long been a myth that Macs are immune to the evils of the internet. Viruses, worms and Trojan horses all can adversely affect your Mac experience, but to date, there has never been a widespread (I’ve never heard of any) attack involving any of these three in the wild. Plenty of proof of concepts by bored hackers, but nothing that will affect your average Mac user. Mac anti virus programs aren’t necessary.

This does NOT mean you are immune, but it also doesn’t mean it’s time to rush out and buy or download the latest mac anti virus protection software. Education is your absolute best defense against anything bad online, so here’s what you need to know about the big three:

1. Viruses won’t spread or hurt your computer unless you let them
Easily the most common of the aforementioned three, viruses are usually an executable file (application or script, so a program that DOES something) that spread by attaching themselves to another file like an email. They cannot be spread, nor can they work, without YOUR help. Don’t send people attachments if you don’t know what they are and don’t open, install and give your password to files you didn’t specifically download. Pretty simple, eh?

Mr. T is the fool this time.
2. Worms really, really suck
Worms are all of the bad parts of a virus without any of the human-interaction parts. They can spread on their own, essentially taking over your email system and sending themselves to your entire address book. I still haven’t seen or heard of a Mac worm in the wild, so like before, be wary of weird attachments. Using a webmail system like gmail is also a great way to catch these ahead of time and way before they’re even on your computer.

3. Trojan horses are just mean
Trojan horses look like normal computer files but do something totally unexpected once activated. They almost always require a password to install or activate. Don’t download or install weird programs. Problem solved.

Viruses, worms and trojan horses are a huge problem because far too many computer users rely solely on anti virus software to warn them of any threats. Because Windows computer make up the vast majority of PCs, and many of those are used at work where the user may not have the level of control or know how to prevent these problems, we have become over reliant on software to do our jobs for us.

This would be akin to leaving your doors unlocked and installing an alarm system on your house and setting it to call you when someone breaks in, instead of having the alarm go off. I hope that sounds just as stupid to you as it does to me.

So join me in saying no to unnecessary, memory-hogging, confusing anti virus software that does more harm than good to your computer. Practice smart computing and Macs will never have to worry about viruses, worms and trojan horses like Windows users do.

Don’t trust software to protect you from everything.