Viruses and antivirus software…we get asked about these a lot. A perfect subject to address in our oh-so-helpful blog. In our opinion, unless you’re always diligent and cautious about what sites you visit and what files you download, you should have antivirus software running on your computer. This is a high priority for Windows users, but other platforms aren’t totally off the hook.
You may have noticed some recent uproar about an infection spreading to a fair number of Mac OS X systems. Quite a few people found this news rather shocking due to the long perpetuated and widely accepted myth that Mac systems are simply immune to viruses. In truth, saying you have a operating system that can’t get viruses is like saying you have a lock that can’t be picked, a ship that can’t be sunk or a Death Star that can’t be exploded. No system can be perfect and if a weakness exists there’s always some clever person out there who can figure out how to exploit it.
That being said, Macs have been and still are dramatically less likely to contract infections in comparison to Windows systems. In part, this can be attributed to the fairly robust security measures built in to the current generation of Mac operating systems. But it’s important to note that as popular as Apple products are, the vast majority of computers in the world still run Windows. Creating a successful virus can be hard, time-consuming work and requires a lot of specialized knowledge and skill. If you were a malicious and highly-skilled nerd out for profit, thrills or just fighting for the forces of darkness, wouldn’t you put most of your time and energy into targeting the most widely used system? Well, they do. This means that as Macs become more popular, they also become more tempting as targets for these nefarious types. This goes for Linux too, of course.
The good news is that there are those who would defend you from these threats and there are numerous good antivirus suites available, even for free! Saying which is “best” tends to be rather subjective, but our recommendation is avast!. We’ve found it to be both highly reliable and fairly unobtrusive without consuming excess resources (slowing your system down). The free version is adequate protection for the majority of home users. They also offer paid versions with added layers of protection and business licenses at very reasonable prices. They currently have versions for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and even Android. We’re not affiliated with avast! in anyway, we’ve just come to trust it through many years of use and we’ve installed it for myriads of happy users.
This is not to say you need to switch from your current antivirus suite, if you have one. If you’re happy and feel secure with the software you currently use, you may as well stick with it. Just make sure it’s not expired…even free antivirus suites generally require you to subscribe for updates (which are critical as new viruses appear every day).
One caveat though, our experience has led us to suggest that you stay away from the Norton line of security products. Despite being very well known, we’ve seen various versions of this software cause problems time and time again. They tend to be bloated and slow, get in your face and sometimes cause totally inexplicable problems that are only solved once all traces of Norton are removed. If you’ve got Norton and are happy with it, more power to you, but we simply can’t recommend it to anyone at this time.
Keep in mind that the “nothing is perfect” rule applies here and no antivirus suite is full-proof. You can still be infected, even with good antivirus software installed and updated. Lucky for you, we at Clear Marble happen to be experts in virus removal and would be happy to tend to your sickly system and get it back on its feet. Trying to remove a virus yourself can be tricky and you can potentially make things worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you suspect you’ve got an infection or want assistance with your computer’s security, contact us and we’ll get you straightened out!