Hands on with Norton iAntivirus 1.0
Viruses on the Mac — self replicating and spreading malware — are nonexistent, though there seems to be no shortage of trojans, such as the infamous FlashBack Trojan which infected hundreds of thousands of Macs. Whether the current threat is menacing or existential can be argued, yet an increasing number of Mac users have rightly gotten religion about security and that means antivirus software, which has in turn sparked vendor interest.
Enter Norton and its launch of iAntivirus 1.0, a revival of an older brand that now brings an interesting (useful?) spin on security to the Mac:
• Award-winning technology blocks threats before they damage your Mac, iPhoto pictures, iTunes media and other important Stuff
• Innovative “carousel” interfaces lets you use two fingers to swipe between your home folder and full system and other scanning options
• Lets you quickly and easily scan files by simply dragging and dropping them onto iAntivirus
• Built for speed from the ground up, so it won’t get in the way of your Mac experience
• Works against Windows threats too, to make sure the docs you share are safe for everyone
• Updates available regularly through the App Store to help detect the latest breaking threats
And, carousel? I think they should call that feature “lazy Susan.”
Not among the bullet points is the ability to scan your Facebook wall for links that could pose a security threat, think phishing, known driveby websites (i.e. Flashback) and scams — yes, you will need to provide your FB login information.
As of press time, Norton’s “Web Safe” Facebook app, which you must activate and give permission to scan your wall (and monitor most everything you do on Facebook), generates errors when I tried opening it either in Safari 5.1.7 or Firefox 12.
A brief hands on
That said, I performed a home directory (11.6GB) scan and it completed in about four minutes and unsurprisingly found nothing as I’m ClamXav user that keeps a tight lid on security. RAM usage remained relatively constant at a modest 360MB, though CPU usage regularly spiked above 70 percent, leading to noticeable lag in Safari webpage loading.
So, if you have a huge home directory, your Mac could become sluggish and annoying to use.
With that in mind, Norton iAntivirus only scans when you tell it to and won’t watch/sentry your Download, Desktop, Mail, etc. folders for threats, which is rather the point of having antivirus software. Likewise, you can’t schedule iAntivirus to run, for example, in the middle night, obviating the performance hit.
This free app is the gateway drug for Norton Antivirus 12 ($49.99) for Mac and Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac ($69.99), which can be set up to sentry specific folders, perform scheduled scans of your hardware and, in the case of the latter, monitor your online activities.
Norton iAntivirus 1.0 is free and available on the Mac App Store.
Death and renewal. PC Tools created the original iAntiVirus (note the cap “V”) and sold it through the first few months of this year, though updates stopped several years ago.