“We don’t need no stinking anti-virus/spyware/malware software!”
The original quote “We don’t need no stinking badges” was from the 1948 film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” with Humphrey Bogart, in which the bandit leader arrogantly justifies their need not to have said badges. But I think it works in our context as well.
Mac users have forever scoffed at the idea of installing anti-virus software on their Macs. After all, in all the years that Mac OS X has been out on the wild (ten years and counting) there has not been one credible Mac virus that caused any sort of damage. Nor any malware or spyware. In fact, if the online data reporting is to believed, the vast majority of Mac users do not run any protection software at all. And we brag on that fact to our PC using friends.
Most security software makers that support the Mac tell us that it’s only a matter of time before Mac users start seeing the same problems with malware and spyware as do PC users. Mac pundits like to point out that these security experts are simply using scare tactics to sell unneeded software to gullible Mac users.
Could the truth lay somewhere in the middle?
Consider the faux-story of Johnny Miller. Johnny wanted to work from home, so he copied his Microsoft Word and Excel work files from his office PC to a thumb drive, and transferred those files to his iMac. There, we worked for hours, laboring at home to get his work done. Proudly copying those same files back to the thumb drive, Johnny returned to work on a Monday, loaded the files back on his PC, and was fired by lunch after infecting the entire office with a virus that had been dormant on his iMac, but ran rampant over the corporate network once it found itself on the work Windows PC.
Do you think Johnny Miller would have been better served to pick up a copy of Intego VirusBarrier?
And lest you think the above scenario could not happen, the official term of Mac users unknowingly passing on PC viruses is called “Downstream”. In this case, the Word Macro virus would have been detected and dealt with on the Mac weeks before Johnny worked from home. But, alas, that was not the case and Johnny was fired.
So while I personally do not know of any “in the wild” Macintosh specific virus, malware, or spyware that you need concern yourself about, I do think that if you want to be a responsible online computer user, you have to take into consideration those PC users who you could infect through pure neglect or ignorance on your part. If you trade in files with PC users, personal or business related, you should have some way of making sure you don’t inadvertently infect their computer.
Nothing says “Do business with me!” as a graphic designer than infecting your prospective clients with spyware.
Protect the Weak
We would like to think that all Window PC users are running anti-virus software to protect both themselves and others who are susceptible to nasty software viruses, malware, and spyware. The truth, according to polls I have read, is that while many Window users do in fact have anti-virus software on their machines, many do not keep the software as up-to-date as they should. This is a big problem, as new malware and spyware is introduced on a daily basis, and out of date protection software can be ill-equipped to handle it.
This is why, for those Mac users who really need good protection not as much for themselves, but for the PC users in their lives, Intego VirusBarrier is such a good solution. Not only can you manually check when the software updates with the latest information, you can also let it auto-update itself on whatever schedule you prefer.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The other problem Window PC users have with running protection software is how intrusive the software can be. The “Crying Wolf” syndrome is when the protection software is constantly in the users face, getting in between the user and the task they are trying to accomplish, by asking unnecessary question all the time. When a user is constantly bombarded with the same sorts of inquiries from protection software, users will usually (a) ignore the program after a while, or (b) turn the software off.
With Intego VirusBarrier you will barely know the program is even there, let alone running in the background. The only time you will see any dialog from VirusBarrier is when it actually detects a nasty piece of software, which is when you want to know what’s going on.
Every IT department I know of forces every PC in their network to be protected. This can mean, if you are a Mac user in a corporate environment, that you too must run protection software. Not to protect yourself, but to protect the Window PCs out there you are interacting with on a daily basis.
And least you forget, if you are running Windows emulation or virtualization software, you need to protect yourself as well.
Think of yourself as doing a good deed. If you cannot convince your friends or coworkers to make the switch to the Mac, then think of Mac Anti-Virus software as protection for Windows PC users in your life. We don’t knowingly give other people our colds when we are sick, why would we not do the same with our computers?