written by: Hollan•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 9/25/2009
Macs might not be as vulnerable as PCs when it comes to viruses, but spyware can be a problem. Nip it in the bud with MacScan, or so they claim.
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MacScan is anti-spyware software for Mac OS X. According to the MacScan website: "MacScan can detect, isolate and remove the program which could allow your privacy to be violated." Hmm, okay. I believe them. MacScan may be able to remove any threat to my privacy, but the question is are there that many threats to my privacy lurking around the internet? MacScan makes it sound like I'm in a dark alley and about to step on a exposed hypodermic needle. I know there are plenty of threats out there on the internet, but how badly do Macs need protecting from them? I gave it a whirl to find out.
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Download and Install
This was very easy (when isn't it with a Mac?) The cost of MacScan is $29.99, but they do have a thirty day free demo. The free demo comes with almost everything the purchased version has, besides the Custom Scan feature. After the quick download and install, MacScan is ready to de-spy my Mac.
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You have to provide your Mac user password in order to run MacScan. The menu is simple and easy to understand. It is in a little window with a number of options at the top. There is: Status, Scan, Web Files and Info. I hit scan and have the option to run either a Quick Scan (Home folder of a selected user), a Full Scan (all files on the computer) or a Custom Scan (you get to choose which files are scanned). I choose Full Scan and let it run.
It makes the fan start up on my MacBook, but otherwise it lets me carry on with my work as usual with no interruptions.
It can take a while to run, almost an hour, depending on how many files you have on your computer. MacScan has a blacklist of over 8000 cookies (according to their website). It tracks down the spyware on your computer and gives you the option to get rid of it or not once the scan is complete. I'm not sure who would choose to keep it, but I guess if you want to the choice is yours.
Also, MacScan can be scheduled to run at certain times. If you don't want to run it manually every week or so, just schedule it to do it for you. It's very handy.
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This Mac is clean. The first time I ran it (a few months ago) I had a whopping 61 pieces of spyware and tracking cookies found on my Mac. I'm not the safest person (downloading wise) either, so that might explain it. However, every time I have run MacScan since I haven't had any spyware or tracking cookies on my Mac. Go figure! But for finding and removing them, MacScan is grade A in my book.
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Spyware is real and a trojan horse and throw your system for a loop. Be careful what you download and you won't have any need for products like MacScan. But if you want software to help you sleep better at night, go ahead and download it. The program is actually good, and it will make you feel better to know your privacy is protected. It might even make you be more careful when you're out there on the internet (like me!).