By Kaitlyn Steffenhagan
What’s yellow, round and flops around on your dock? No, it’s not some bizarre radiation-ridden fish that floated in from Japan. It’s Symantec’s pride and joy, “LiveUpdate.”
Every time I open my laptop, I’m confronted with LiveUpdate. From what I can tell so far, LiveUpdate’s main goal is to annoy the heck out of me by updating me on the same four points every 10 or 15 minutes. There’s no way to turn it off, no way to hide it, no way to scream “I REALLY DON’T CARE.” It will constantly be there, ever-annoying and ever-present.
Why? Why do I need anti-virus protection at all? Like many students, I own a Mac. Like many students and the world in general, I know that the chance of contracting a virus on my Mac is very slim. So slim that numerous Mac magazines, websites and forums actually advise not getting virus protection at all, as it eats up RAM speed and hard drive space.
“The Windows world is so rife with viruses, adware, spyware, and other varieties of malware, it’s a commonly held belief that all computers are susceptible to these kind of cooties,” says MacWorld.com. “On the Mac, it’s just not.”
Most (you could argue all) students these days are pretty tech savvy. If they use a PC, they understand that anti-virus software is important. In fact, all Windows operating systems come with software pre-installed. It’s safe to say that all PC owners already had anti-virus software previous to the mandate. It seems, then, that this policy could be directed at Mac users.
The school may have had good intentions when requiring all students and faculty to operate an anti-virus software suite, but in reality, it’s unnecessary for those operating with the Mac system.
First, viruses just aren’t made for the Mac operating system. Eight-five percent of the world operates on Windows OS, compared to a mere seven percent for Mac OS. Therefore, hackers and pirates aren’t interested in infecting such a small number of mostly personal computers. They are much more interested in larger business and corporate networks, which are far more likely to run Windows OS. Thus, there just isn’t a market or reason for hacking into Macs.
Second, there have historically been no issues of Mac viruses at the College in the past. Why now? What prompted the administration to require anti-virus software? To my knowledge, there are no new immediate threats to computer users that would necessitate all students to have anti-virus software. It’s arbitrary and unnecessary, not to mention a questionable way to spend school dollars.
Third, Symantec Endpoint Protection isn’t even a highly recommended security suite. Price-wise, it’s comparable to McAffee or Norton, which are both widely used, consistently receive high reviews and have been in the market longer. The school basically offered Mac users no choice, forcing them to settle for this sub-par software that was originally intended for PCs.
Finally, LiveUpdate is just plain obnoxious. I understand that there are more important things to fret over, like nuclear disasters or tsunamis, but I can’t help but die a little bit inside every time that obnoxious yellow bubble pops up.