Giveaway: McAfee Internet Security 2012 for Mac [Update with winners!]

News of the Flashback attack impacting over half a million Mac OS X machines rocked the Internet last week. While attacks on Apple's operating system have traditionally been lower than Windows machines, the numbers are growing as more and more people start using them. While in the past it may have been fine to say, "I don't need AV software," times are changing and it's prudent to stay protected.

To that end, McAfee has provided us with three free copies of Internet Security 2012 for the Mac that we can provide to our readers. Macworld.com recently gave the software product a rating of 4/5, and had the following to say about the product:

It’s a hard sell to tell someone who has had no problems and expects none to pony up hard-earned cash for a product that seems unnecessary. But I find the prophylactic effects of McAfee Internet Security aren’t as interesting as the amount of information and control the software provides over the routine function of your system and network connections.

Not only does the software detect and eliminate viruses (both for the Mac and ones that could infect your PC friends), but it also has extras like a bidirectional firewall, a plug-in for Firefox that informs you of the safety of sites returned from an Internet search, anti-phishing/spyware, and online identity protection.

There are three main ways to enter, and each of the first two methods can be done once per day:

  1. Make a comment about security in this thread
  2. Re-tweet this post with the above Tweet button and add @McAfee_Labs to the end of the tweet.
  3. You can also gain an additional entry by "liking" us on Facebook if you haven't already done so (one entry only).

The contest ends on Monday, April 16th, at 11:59pm EST and the three winners will be announced sometime on Tuesday. Winners will be given a download code and a URL to obtain the software.

Update: Congrats to sider, Brian Toponak, and saxondale for winning the McAfee anti-virus suite for Mac!

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49 Comments

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warwagon said,
Why do I feel sorry for the winners?

Especially after the bad dat file yesterday afternoon. Halted Exchange for us. Second bad dat file in like 5 years.....

warwagon said,
Why do I feel sorry for the winners?

Wasn't it McAfee that nuked World of Warcraft a year or two ago because it thought some files that were part of the game were malicious?

warwagon said,
Why do I feel sorry for the winners?

Just about exactly what I thought as soon as I saw the title.

Even a bad AV is better than nothing. I guess!

Congrats(?) to the winners.

I would try this security software. I usually don't run any AV seecurity software on my Windows or Mac PCs. I will definately compare it with MS' offerings.

Would certainly like to try this, was using McAfee for years before switching to Mac. Never had the idea to install antivirus on the Mac however

It's time for Mac to feel the effects of being a popular operating system. When no one used Mac, why would anyone write malicious code for it. Welcome to the big time!

omgben said,
But doesn't, "no one used Mac," still? What's the magic market share number that an OS must hit before people start writing malicious code for it? Is it 6.54%? That's where the Mac is sitting at as of March 2012 ( http://news.cnet.com/8301-1357...share-continues-to-inch-up/ )

I always thought that malicious code writers didn't target OSs because of market share, but because of the vulnerabilities needed to be successful. Meh.

Um, they also target the path of least resistance. This is why Linux routers have been being hit in the last couple of years, because they are often not updated or checked.

Right now, Windows is locked pretty tight, hitting security ratings besting any mainstream OS, including even beating OpenBSD in server environments.
*(PS OpenBSD has NOTHING to do with OS X.)

So right now the least secure desktop OSes rank in this order from least secure to most secure: Linux, OS X, FreeBSD, Windows 7

There are more Windows 7 users than all the Macs that Apple has EVER sold in the history of the company; however, getting malware on Windows 7 significantly harder, as even social engineering is even being halted with IE's smartscreen protection (like the McAfee feature they tout for Firefox users in this article.)

Which brings us back to least resistance and absorption rate. If you write malware for Windows, you have a 0.001% chance of getting past the OS's inherent protections that bypass user interaction (usually Java), and you have about 0.01% chance of using social engineering to get the user to install your malware.

So even combining these numbers a malware creator is going to affect about 55,000 users. Now take OS X, where your OS security failure rate is significantly higher, just it alone is enough to grab about 5,000,000 users, and add in social engineering and that number jumps to about 50,000,000 users.

So it no longer is about 'popularity', but exposure, absorption and basically the path of least resistance for the great net gain.

The other factor is the capability of detection, due to how OS X's kernel is designed, it is easier to hide root level malware than Windows NT. Add in the fact that OS X users have been led to believe that OS X is much more secure and malware proof, and the discovery level goes down even further. This creates a great opportunity for botted systems that can be triggered, without the user even knowing their system is infected and handing over information and/or being used in other nefarious ways.

When Anonymous and the other hacking groups were hitting Sony and finding exploits, they didn't use their own systems for the attacks. Instead they had laced a bunch of systems and servers and then triggered them to find and utilize the exploits. They mainly were using Linux and FreeBSD servers, but I would bet they also had an array of Macs and Linux routers and other devices that they were able to easily gain access.

There are a few dirty secrets in the hacking world, and one of them being that Unix based systems are notorious for carrying over exploits that have been present in the system and system tools for years and years, with some exploits going back to the late 80s still left wide open.

This is why 'firewalls' became a quick dirty fix to secure UNIX systems. A non-UNIX example can be seen when Microsoft was battling security with XP after leaving users running as 'root'. The first thing they did was throw in a better firewall technology in the security revamp known as SP2 which was a first step to control the problems during the full security review of the NT code base. It helped put out the fires and gave them time to create new security testing models and programming technologies that is what Vista was built using, and why Vista, even though not well liked, was highly secure compared to XP.


Apple has not taken security serious, they have had the 'sheep' model, which is where they watch Windows get hit with a new exploit concept, and then patch OS X accordingly.

This works well when your OS is not on the front line, but when it does become the front line (popular or path of least resistance), using the 'sheep' security model no longer works, as the OS has to stand on its own security technology and model and take the hits.

The world would be 'safer' if Window was still the front line, as it is truly has a better security model and technically always did. (Sadly XP turned off a lot of this technology for Win9x Application compatibility, creating a nightmare for a few years.) If you are a student of security technology and review how NT was designed and the security technologies from the strict ACLs to even the kernel level API communication layers that have redundant security checks requiring object based security tokens, it is far beyond the OS X kernel and Linux.

Apple has a second problem, and that is iOS, as it is still getting a fair share security hits. Apple's strategy was to control the App screening as the primary line of defense; however, their App review process can be fooled and malware can be slipped by their screening process rather easily. (Example, just look at what Google was able to do with the Safari security bypass they are facing fines for now.)

Side Note: iOS is highly secure when compared to Android which is virtually void of security.


Apple right now needs Microsoft's help, and have even been reaching out for help to Microsoft behind closed doors on a few issues, and is why they choose them for handling parts of their iCloud, and getting away from their previous authentication partnership with Amazon.. (Another dirty secret that Apple doesn't like for people to know.)


I hope Apple continues to not buy their own 'superiority image', and continues to use and seek advice, or the Mac Malware we are seeing now will be just the start of a much bigger problem that could hurt the iPad and iPhone which is their primary products now.

With Mac becoming a little more popular, the virus writers are stepping up to the plate.
But...but...but...Mac's don't get stuff like that LOL.

Interesting that we're finally starting to see more and more security threats to the Apple OSX platform now that its gaining popularity and numbers. Hmmm, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, that's right.....everyone with a brain was saying this would inevitably happen once the numbers of Mac systems grew and that ridiculous belief that Mac's were secure and not suffer the same malware problems as Windows would be finally proven to be inaccurate. It was inevitable.

Guys, please consider this is a giveaway... if you don't like the product or find it useless that is fine, but please give due consideration for others that are interested in the giveaway, and to Chris for arranging copies to be given away. Ciao!

Clever of them to do this in light of the Mac Malware fiasco.

I can already hear the clients calling me next week who have installed this on their Mac and now the system is running like a dog, yay!

I haven't had positive experiences with McAfee's software going back to the 90's when I first had their AV on my computer and it would detect viruses but not clean them. Since then I've had multiple occasions of McAfee being on a machine and totally missing trojans and viruses that other AV would pick up. Admittedly, I haven't tried a McAfee product in many years due to so many bad experiences but I would consider trying them out again to see if anything has improved.

Tim Dawg said,
I haven't had positive experiences with McAfee's software going back to the 90's when I first had their AV on my computer and it would detect viruses but not clean them. Since then I've had multiple occasions of McAfee being on a machine and totally missing trojans and viruses that other AV would pick up. Admittedly, I haven't tried a McAfee product in many years due to so many bad experiences but I would consider trying them out again to see if anything has improved.

It hasn't changed any. I get computers in all the time with McAfee installed and it's just sitting there twiddling it's thumbs as I clean loads of viruses off. It does a great job of deleting the tools I use though.

I am currently on Symantec on my Mac. On Windows 7 I use MSE and Windows 8 I use the build in one. I would really like a chance to try Mcafee "just because". I have an old 2006 Macbook running Lion used mainly for syncing my iPhone, listening to music/videos, and web browsing at coffee shops.

Here is an easier solution - don't install Java on 10.7 when you're requested to do so and delete the plugin for Java on other versions of Mac OS X.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
Here is an easier solution - don't install Java on 10.7 when you're requested to do so and delete the plugin for Java on other versions of Mac OS X.

Can you run Photoshop without Java?

warwagon said,
lol, last time i checked, Photoshop wasn't written in java

Photoshop CS5 requires Java to be installed.

protocol7 said,
Can you run Photoshop without Java?

Unfortunately you have to have Java installed but IMHO what end users should start doing is pressuring Adobe to make any dependency on Java only where it is absolutely necessary rather than on every single application. If enough end users and businesses put pressure, raised hell and kicked up a stink Adobe would provide an update so that you as a Photoshop user can run it without the need for Java to be installed.

SonicSam said,
I would guess considering the Windows PC nature of this site they simply had no machines to use it on.

No, I actually talked with a McAfee rep while at a conference and asked if he had any copies I could give away. I'm always trying to get stuff to give to our readers.