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What Are the Different Types of Antivirus Software for Macintosh®?

Article Details
  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Though Macintosh® computers are not as vulnerable to computer viruses as Windows® computers are, there are still a number of threats from which antivirus software for Macintosh® computers can help protect. There are a variety of different types of antivirus software for Macintosh®, and these programs come with all the same features as their Windows® counterparts. Aside from this virus protection, most of the major antivirus software companies also offer firewalls and protection from identity theft.

Many companies that create antivirus software for Macintosh® computers offer several levels of service. The most basic type of antivirus software protects against new and existing threats from Internet browsers, e-mail, downloads, and other sources. These programs usually run automatically in the background while the user performs other tasks. Basic varieties of antivirus software for Macintosh® computers are generally effective at isolating and eliminating spyware, malware, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, and bots.

Other types of antivirus software for Macintosh® can provide greater control over the features of the program and protection from some types of identity theft. These programs allow a user to customize when to run a virus scan, what to do with identified threats, and even how much of the computer’s processing power to allocate to the scanning software. In addition, more advanced versions of antivirus software can check the authenticity of certain Internet sites so that personal information is not entered onto an untrustworthy site.

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Some antivirus software also includes a firewall. This feature prevents unauthorized parties from accessing the computer and stealing information or installing viruses. Firewalls check the information packets that come into the Macintosh® as well as those going out to the Internet to make sure that there is no suspicious activity going in either direction. It can slow down connection speeds, however, so most of the antivirus software for Macintosh® has an option to temporarily disable the firewall.

There are many different brands of Macintosh® antivirus software, though all of them perform the same task. Differences in the look and interface of the programs can be quite apparent, but these cosmetic features do not change the functioning of the programs. Most are also reasonably priced, though some of the lesser known brands, developed specifically for Macintosh® and not adapted from personal computer programs, may be offered at significantly lower prices.

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