Now that OS X has built-in malware support, what does that mean for Mac users? Apple’s integration of an anti-malware system could be seen as an admission that Mac OS X is far from immune to malicious software, but it’s more of a responsible precaution than a reaction to an encroaching tide of evil software.

However, it doesn’t mean that Mac users can go about downloading files willy-nilly. There are precautions that every computer user should take, regardless of platform: download files from trusted sources; don’t open email attachments from unknown senders; and make sure you have strong passwords.

Nor does Apple’s inclusion of anti-malware systems in Mac OS X mean that third-party antivirus software makers such as Symantec and Intego will go out of business. Following the launch of Snow Leopard, Apple said: “The feature isn’t intended to replace or supplant antivirus software, but affords a measure of protection against the handful of known Trojan horse applications that exist for the Mac today.”

So what other options for enhanced security are there?

Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition
Sophos, www.sophos.com
Price: Free

Sophos’ antivirus software promises protection against viruses, Trojans, and more. It launched in November 2010.

Anti-Virus 2011 for Mac
Kaspersky, www.kaspersky.com
Price: £39.99 (one-year subscription)

Kaspersky offers protection against viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, bots and phishing scams. It uses cloud technology to compare suspicious files against Kaspersky Labs’ constantly updated global threats database and includes a URL Advisor to inform users about suspicious and dangerous websites. This version launched in November 2010.

ESET Cybersecurity for Mac
ESET, www.eset.com
Price: £29.95 (one-year subscription)
ESET’s Mac client delivers real-time protection from spyware, viruses, and other security attacks using a small amount of memory and CPU resources. It includes an education tool to help users keep computer data and personal information safe. This version launched in November 2010.

Norton AntiVirus 11
Symantec, uk.norton.com
Price: £39.99 (one-year subscription)
Norton automatically detects and removes viruses, and offers automatic protection against the latest threats. It scans and cleans downloaded files and email attachments, and protects against attacks that target software vulnerabilities. Version 11 launched in 2008.

Antivirus for Mac
BitDefender, www.bitdefender.co.uk
Price: £29.99 (one-year subscription)
Automatically detects and blocks Mac viruses, detects and removes malware targeting other operating systems, and has a low impact on your computers speed. This version launched in April 2010, but a new version will launch soon.

VirusBarrier X6
Intego, www.intego.co.uk
Price: £39.99 (one-year subscription)
VirusBarrier X6 includes threat-detection techniques, improved methods of detection, combined detection protocols, proactive behavioural analysis, and a full range of defensive functions. It was the first anti-malware program to scan iPhones and iPod touches and is now the first to scan the iPad. Launched in January 2010.