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Checking your Mac for viruses -- wait, what?

Jeffery Battersby | May 28, 2015
As we talked about in last week's Working Mac, you may have been led to believe that you don't have to worry about computer viruses on your Mac. And, to some extent, there's truth to that. While your Mac can definitely be infected with malware, Apple's built-in malware detection and file quarantine capabilities are meant to make it less likely that you'll download and run malicious software.

Why ClamXav? Because it has one job and it does it very well. It's not too intrusive. It doesn't try to do too much. If you're using Apple's Server app to host your email, it's what Apple uses to scan incoming mail for viruses.

ClamXav is, like AdWare Medic, donationware and it is fantastic. You'll find it at the Mac App Store or you can download it directly from the ClamXav Website, where you can also make a donation.

Once you've downloaded and opened the app you'll want to set the app's preferences, as the default behavior is to scan for viruses but not delete or quarantine them. ClamXav offers five configuration options:

  • General: For setting up alerts and whether or not to scan for malware and phishing in your email messages (which is where the app found infected files on my Mac)
  • Quarantine: For defining where you want to quarantine malicious files
  • Exclude Files: To specify file types you don't want scanned
  • Log Files: For setting whether or not you want log files stored and for viewing them
  • Schedule: For defining when you want the latest virus definitions downloaded and when you want scheduled scans to take place

Once you've finished your setup, click the Start Scan button and go grab some milk and cookies. Scanning may take awhile, but when it's done you'll know for sure your Mac is clean.


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