It’s taken them several years to finally get to this point, but Apple has acknowledged that Mac users are not immune from viruses. During WWDC, their Mac OS security page was updated with the following text:

mac_virus_notice

There has been a warning about viruses and malware on their website before, but it was buried in their support pages, and it was quickly removed once it caught attention in the media last year. To see this warning in such a prominent place can mean either of two things: Apple has finally realized Mac OS X has become so popular it’s becoming an attractive target for cybercriminals, or their legal department was worried Apple might find itself on the receiving end of one or more lawsuits once someone was infected and lost important data.

Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor welcomes Apple to this new reality:

I would now welcome Apple to join the industry communities like SafeCode to work jointly on getting products more secure or initiatives like2CENTRE to train law enforcement. I am a big supporter of industry/government collaboration but when it comes to Law Enforcement, there are often not too many companies at the table. Security to me is not only products and processes. It is about partnerships!

The first security vendors are already taking advantage of this change; for example, securemac.com is promoting their MacScan product through a press release that immediately followed the change on Apple’s website.

If you are looking for a virus scanner for your mac, here are some suggestions:

  • ClamXav is a port of ClamAV for Mac OS
  • PC Tools offers a free download of iAntiVirus
  • Avast! has a Mac version
  • McAfee offers Virex for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs
  • Norton has a Mac version of their antivirus product
  • Sophos offers a similar solution

This is by no means a complete list; if you have other suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments below!