Mac computers are less vulnerable to malware and viruses than Windows-based computers, but that doesn't mean you can be lax about security. Your computer can be infected if you run the Windows operating system on a Mac, and you could unwittingly pass malware along to your PC friends. Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac is one free solution that is recommended by experts. Reviewers like it because the free version is based on Sophos' paid enterprise-level software, and it scans for both Mac and Windows malware. The software is easy to install, and experts say it does a very good job of protecting against Internet threats. Unlike other free antivirus products, Sophos doesn't contain ads for the paid versions of the software. In addition, the interface fits in with the Mac aesthetic. The biggest downside is that Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac doesn't come with any sort of technical support; you're stuck with how-to videos or user forums if you run into problems. For PC computers, reviewers recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 (*Est. $25).
Mac antivirus software attracts fewer reviews than its PC-based counterparts. There are several hands-on reviews at Mac enthusiast sites such as SecureMac.com and CultofMac.com. The review at About.com is also helpful because the software is compared and rated against other programs, although many of those are obsolete.
SecureMac.com gives Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac a 5-out-of-5 rating. Israel Torres likes the various customization options and says the software is easy to install and effectively detects malware threats.
Review: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition, Israel Torres, Nov. 8, 2010
This independent lab tests eight antivirus programs on a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion. Testers try to load 20 Mac malware samples (not blocked by Mountain Lion) via USB. All but one program block them all. Testers then try 500 Windows malware samples; several programs (including Sophos Version 8) detect all of those, too.
Review: Mac Security Review, Editors of AV-Comparatives.org, Revised Aug. 19, 2013
Mary Landesman, the antivirus software guide at About.com, gives Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac a perfect 5-star rating. Landesman likes the various scan options, including automatic and on-demand scans. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition, Mary Landesman
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac beats the other Mac antivirus programs tested here (ClamXav 2, Avast and Avira) because it detects both Mac and Windows malware and it's easy to use. Alan Henry says it's also "pretty resource light" in his tests, but he doesn't explain his test methods.
Review: The Best Antivirus App for Mac, Alan Henry, May 3, 2013
5. Tech Talk
Philip Sellers says Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac meets all of his expectations. The interface fits in well with the Mac aesthetic, and installation is relatively easy. Overall, he says he "can't seem to find a downside."
Review: Sophos Introduces Free Antivirus for Mac, Philip Sellers, Nov. 2, 2010
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac earns an Excellent rating (4 out of 5 stars) from experts at CNET's Download.com. Editors do test the software, but discussion is very brief. Sophos gets mixed reviews from Mac owners, but only a few have rated the current version.
Review: Sophos Antivirus for Mac Home Edition, Editors of and contributors to Download.com, Nov. 3, 2012
Giles Turnbull, who tests Sophos Anti-Virus for CultofMac.com, says the software has no noticeable impact on his computer's performance and runs unobtrusively in the background. A full system scan takes roughly three hours.
Review: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac [Review], Giles Turnbull, Nov. 10, 2010
8. The Safe Mac
This website, dedicated to security on Macs, tests 16 antivirus programs on a Mac running OS X 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion). Sophos wins, detecting 90 percent of the 51 malware samples.
Review: Mac Anti-virus Detection Rates, Thomas Reed, Nov. 14, 2012
PCMag.com experts haven't tested Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac, but this preview gives a good overview of Version 9's functions and features.
Review: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition Version 9 Preview, Neil J. Rubenking and Abigail Wang, July 24, 2013