Buy McAfee?

Well, I’ve been running Windows XP on my Mac mini here and there for awhile now. I downloaded and installed the latest McAfee virus protection, and it’s been working OK for me (seeing as I don’t appear to have gotten any viruses).

Here’s the thing though: it’s apparently time to pony up the dough and pay $30 for a 1-year subscription to their anti-virus software. My trial has run out, and they’re going to remove their protection from me, much like the mob might pull back protection from a non-paying dissident in their neighborhood. They’re sending me emails, popping up reminders, and generally urging me to give them money.

As a Mac user, I don’t know what to do. Do I actually need to pay $30 a year to subscribe to a properly working computer? Do you PC users actually do this? Is there a free alternative that still allows me to really use my computer without fear? I just don’t know how to react at this point, since I don’t have to subscribe to security as a Mac user. I just have it. It came in the box. So I don’t know what to do.

Your opinions? Your experiences?

9 Comments

  1. Posted June 21, 2006 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I feel duty bound to recommend the Norton line of av products. There is a free one that comes up whenever norton is mentioned on slashdot too, you might check that out. If you decide you want norton let me know and I can get you the family and friends discount.

  2. Posted June 21, 2006 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s probably worth pointing out that Macs don’t just have security. They may be more secure than PCs, but they aren’t invincible, as recent Mac-targeted viruses have shown.

    You can subscribe for the same kind of virus protection as you can with a PC, and it even comes with .Mac. Which says to me that Macs aren’t perfectly secure out of the box, as you suggest.

    I love my Mac and have enjoyed it being virus free, but you can’t expect that to last forever.

  3. Posted June 21, 2006 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Kevin, please show us what viruses have recently targeted the Mac. That’s news to me and the rest of the Mac-using world.

    I never made any claim that Macs are 100% invincible, so please be careful not to put words in my mouth. No computer is literally invincible. I said that the security Mac users need comes “in the box”, by which I mean it’s free. That’s true. The free stuff is all I use.

    Also note I’m not talking about trojan horses, I’m talking about viruses specifically. They’re fundamentally different animals. I don’t need to buy protection from trojan horses. I need to buy protection from viruses.

    Whether or not there may ever be viruses on the Mac is a completely different topic, and speculating on it is pretty much useless.

    Finally, if I owned an elephant gun, that would not mean that stampeding elephants regularly rampaged my garden. It would mean that someone had convinced me to purchase the gun. Please show me the elephants.

  4. Posted June 21, 2006 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    i run windows without virus protection. but from the sounds of it, you shouldn’t. look into avg anti-virus. there’s a free for non-commercial version if you are able to find it on their purposefully hard to navigate site. Prepare for the ugliest UI design evar. But it’s free.

    Or just keep getting new trial versions of mcafee or norton.

    Oh, and above all, make sure you’ve got the windows update stuff set to autoupdate and actually force installs whenever there are new updates from microsoft.

  5. Posted June 21, 2006 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    As a new Windows user (I installed Windows via Boot Camp to play games) my first roommate suggested AVG anti-virus, as a free solution that works well. All I know is I haven’t had a problem yet, and the spyware tool I installed only found 2 cookies in firefox (it’s pretty anal) so I’m happy.

  6. Posted June 21, 2006 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I actually set Windows to not automatically update installs but rather notify me when a new one is available. Why? Because I’m, uh, *cough* not using a paid version of Windows. So by doing it this way I was able to tell Windows “no, please do not install the Genuine Advantage update” and thus I’m not pestered by alerts telling me to go pay for my copy of Windows. Plus, I don’t like installing stuff on my computer without knowing about it first, even if it is a critical security update for Windows.

  7. Posted June 22, 2006 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Excellent advice, all! I installed the free version of AVG (because I’m an idealistic cheapskate). Hopefully it’ll keep me secure.

  8. Posted June 24, 2006 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I do remember hearing something about the first and only known virus found to target Mac OS X. I don’t remeber hearing anything about what it affects on the system and how. I went looking and found it on Norton’s website. It is called “OSX.Exploit.MetaData”. When reading a little more about it I found that it is considered a Trojan Horse. This was talked about in Apple Security Updates 2006-001.

    I want to say that I remember Virex being free for Mac OS X users for awhile after it was released. I know I installed it onto a few machines when I worked for the U of MN…I remember now…Virex was free because .mac accounts were free at the time. Correct me if I am wrong Josh, but I thought Virex was included with Macs.

    Either way I thought I there were a bunch of rampaging elephants, but in the end, all I can come up with is that I was hearing things.

  9. Posted June 25, 2006 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    AVG is free. Use that.