Although still a good idea, Norton’s new version of AntiVirus 7.0 represents a relatively small step up from last year’s 6.0. Considering the activity on the Macintosh virus scene – or lack thereof – compared to the rampant plague affecting our PC brethren, that shouldn’t be all that surprising. AntiVirus 7.0 has more or less reached the level where refining features, and not necessarily adding them, is adequate for the Mac community.
Essentially, this program does exactly what it says on the tin. AntiVirus finds and eliminates a wide range of viruses – including macro-viruses, which tend to be the most common types found lurking on Mac systems. These are often spread via Microsoft Office files transferred between PCs and Macs.
Norton AntiVirus features SafeZones that can easily be configured through the application. A SafeZone is a folder where files are scanned automatically when they are copied or moved to that location. By default, the Desktop is a safe zone, and the Downloads folder specified in the Internet control panel can also be selected as a SafeZone with one click.
AntiVirus will alert you of any suspicious activity before it takes place and offers comprehensive features for scanning, repairing, and detecting viruses. New features in version 7.0 include automatic scanning of email attachments during downloading, simplified preferences that allow you to change multiple settings with a single click, the ability to update virus definitions without restarting the program, and the ability to turn AutoProtect on from the Control Strip.
AntiVirus 7.0 uses LiveUpdate for quick-and-easy program updates online, and the latest version provides http and proxy support for LiveUpdate.
AntiVirus 7.0 is obviously a competent product that’s easy to set up and easy to use. The only question that remains is whether or not you should bother to buy it or not. I know people who’ve had six to ten years of serious Mac use and have never witnessed or experienced a virus. And that includes people managing networks of over 400 Macs. The reality is, Mac users don’t come close to facing the number of viruses that PC users do, and whenever a virus appears, good Mac samaritans have always been there with a free utility to check and repair your drive.
There are more new features in AntiVirus 7.0 than there are in Norton Utilities 6.0, and I’m sure this is one of those programs that is good to have if you’re paranoid. But whether or not you need it, or can justify spending money on it, has to be a matter of personal choice.
If you spend a lot of time downloading stuff from the Net, then maybe it’s better to be safe then sorry. However, given the Mac’s track-record with viruses, I probably wouldn’t bother.