Major security threats to the Mac are pretty thin on the ground, but you might want to stop infections before passing them to PCs in your office or to clients beyond. F-Secure’s Anti-Virus for Mac offers protection against viruses and spyware.
The program appears only in the menu bar, so you won’t accidentally quit it from the Dock. Even the main window lacks such an option. Of concern, though, is that protection runs as a single user-owned process, which doesn’t automatically restart after an unexpected termination. You’ll have to do that manually to reinstate background scanning. The ease with which it can be disabled doesn’t inspire faith in readiness to protect against Mac malware should anything truly dangerous emerge.
When something is detected, a clear warning appears in the corner of the desktop. You’re told which file was infected, what with and how it was handled. Typically it ends up in the Trash, since OS X prevents binned files being opened. When we dragged a few files back out, the infected ones were silently binned again.
Disappointingly, named infections aren’t linked to an online threat assessment. You’ll find descriptions under Security Threats on F-Secure’s website, but making you track down an entry isn’t the best response when alarm bells are ringing.
Features are shown in an uncomplicated manner that won’t make Mac users feel intimidated by an abundance of settings
Manual scans can be performed on your Home folder or a specific volume or folder, which is useful when you receive removable media. There’s no way to scan multiple volumes in a single sweep, though, and no scheduling options for comprehensive periodic checks of every Mac and drive you own.
We tested the program in Lion in addition to Snow Leopard, and while we experienced no obvious problems, F-Secure doesn’t yet officially support the new OS. It plans to, but the company couldn’t provide a date when it expects to do so.
F-Secure’s Anti-Virus for Mac is unobtrusive until it counts. It’s also very straightforward to use, though that’s in part because the features are lean. It lacks some basics, such as scheduling, which are found in equivalent Windows products. However its robustness and readiness for real Mac threats, or lack thereof, are a bigger concern.