Sophos releases industry's first free AV package for the Apple Mac

According to the vendor, Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition for Mac is capable of detecting malware on both the Mac and Windows domain – an interesting feature, Infosecurity notes, especially now that a growing number of Mac users are dual-booting their Macs with Windows.

Announcing the software, Chris Kraft, Sophos' vice president said that, whilst most businesses recognise the importance of protecting their Mac computers from malware threats, most home users do not.

"By offering free industrial-strength security to home users, we aim to protect Mac users against today's and tomorrow's Mac threats. Everyone knows that Macs are beautiful computers. Sophos wants to lend a hand to keep them that way", he said.

Kraft's comments were echoed by Graham Cluley, who noted in his security blog that there have been quite a few infections on the Mac.

He also noted that most people don't know that Apple acknowledged the malware problem by integrating rudimentary protection against a handful of Mac Trojans in Snow Leopard.

"Wise Mac users will secure their computers now, outwitting malware authors if we make their jobs of infecting Macs damn difficult, they will go elsewhere to make a quick buck", he said.

Early indications on the security forums suggest that a large number of educational users of the Mac will be going for the software, as Apple Macs are a rising force in the educational sector in the UK, even though funds for software are scarce, Infosecurity notes.

Sophos says it has also launched a dedicated Mac support forum to allow users to interact with others in their community and get any questions answered about the product or Mac security.

The slightly disappointing news is that only the latest Mac operating system versions are supported by the software – OSX 10.4 (Tiger - April 2005 onwards), 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard), although the application is billed as supporting all current Apple Mac hardware including iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air.

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