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List of Free (and Paid) Antivirus and Spyware Removal Options for Mac

written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/11/2010

There are only a few options for a "free" antivirus and spyware removal for Mac, but Mac users must not be too alarmed as their systems have built-in security features (more on that will follow). Read on.

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    Mac Users: Security Threats

    In the past, it was rare to see or know of viruses targeting Mac computers; PC users claim this is true for the simple fact that there are less Mac users. Regardless of the claim being true or not, today, Mac users too fall victim of viruses and spyware threats. For this reason (Mac viruses becoming more prevalent), Mac users should be aware of the latest security threats. Otherwise, check out Mac Virus, a Web site devoted to tracking viruses on the Mac, or read Macintouch.

    Not knowing what to do to prevent or remove malicious code threats (like a virus or spyware) increases the chances of being a victim, susceptible (and vulnerable) to a system attack. With Mac OS X, the Mac users' system is self-protected from malicious applications.

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    Mac OS X Has Built-In Security

    Compared to PC users, Mac users are not as vulnerable to viruses and spyware attacks since Mac OS X has built-in defenses that help to shield against such malicious threats.

    Note: Even though the Mac OS X has built-in security features, users need to still setup a firewall.

    Also, Mac OS X is secure because it uses a technique called “sandboxing.” Mac OS X is always working to safeguard and protect its users' data and communications. For instance, it is constantly launching security alerts and sweeps. Mac OS X also screens applications, uses digital signatures, and applies encryption and antiphishing technologies. Furthermore, Mac OS X provides software updates and security enhancements to its users – to be downloaded and installed via Software Update preferences, or from Apple Downloads.

    However, since the Mac OS X may not prevent every malicious threat, antivirus and spyware software may offer additional protection. A few of Mac's security freeware options are covered next.

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    Free Antivirus and Spyware Removal for Mac

    Being able to obtain "free" antivirus and spyware removal for Mac is very valuable. Not only do Mac users pay nothing, but it allows users the opportunity to download a utility online that may help remove, if not prevent, viruses and spyware.

    Here are a few "free" options for Mac users.

    • PC Tools iAntiVirus - is an excellent utility that scans the Mac to ensure it remains safe and virus free.
    • ClamXav - is a great virus checker for Mac users.
    • iWorkServices Trojan Removal Tool - is available to download (at CNET) for free to remove the iWorkServices Trojan horse from infected Macintosh computers running Mac OS X.

    Note: Mac Trojan horse OSX.Trojan.iServices.A is launched as soon as a user begins the installation of iWork.

    Mac Trojan Horse OSX.Trojan.iServices.B is found bundled with copies of Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Mac.

    * Both security alerts (OSX.Trojan.iServices.A/B) are found in pirated software distributed via BitTorrent trackers and other sites containing links to pirated software. (News > Press Releases) has more info and details about them.

    Alternatively, there's the option of buying a product, like:

    • Virus Barrier X5 - is a complete virus and spyware scanner. Price: $69.95 (for the full version).

    - New: Intego VirusBarrier X6 (30-day free trial). For Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6.

    - New: Internet Security Barrier X6 (30-day free trial). For Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6.

    • ProtectMac - is a good virus protection program. Price: $44.99.

    - Note: To try ProtectMac, download the demo to enjoy a 30-day free trial.

    • MacScan - is a cost-effective anti-spyware solution for Mac OS X. Price: $29.99.

    - Note: To try MacScan, download the demo to enjoy a 30-day free trial.

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    Mac Security Tips

    Even though Mac OS X has its own built-in defenses to prevent most security threats, it's recommended by Apple for Mac users to update their system with the Mac OS X v10.6.3 v1.1 Update.

    In addition, here are 4 articles that provide tips for Macintosh users:

    Do-it-yourself Tips: Download software only from trusted sites; open only those e-mail attachments that you know who they're from; and use, always, a secure password.

    How-to Tips:

    How to Remove iBotnet from your Mac

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    Awareness of Malicious Code Threats for Mac Users

    There are millions of malicious code threats each year; and, regardless of owning a PC or a Mac, users must be aware of the fact that it's likely for a virus or a spyware event to pass-by, if not infect the system, without having a proper antivirus and/or spyware removal program in use. Therefore, it's of utmost importance to know what is available for your system (for free, and for a price).

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    Useful Web Sites

    Apple Mac OS X Home Page:

    Mac Security News:

    Mac Security Antivirus: