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Antivirus software for the Macintosh

VirusScan for Mac, as part of McAfee Security for Mac, is the preferred method of virus protection on the Macintosh and its use is covered by a site licence for the University of Cambridge.

VirusScan (aka McAfee Security)

OS X 10.6.x and later

Using your Web Browser download the correct version of McAfee:

Download for OS X 10.7 or later

Download for OS X 10.6.x and required hotfix


  1. If the disk image hasn’t already been mounted, locate the file in your Downloads location and double click it.
  2. From the mounted disk image double click the installer package.
  3. You will be asked to authenticate and McAfee Security will be installed in the Applications folder.
  4. In order to install the current DAT file open McAfee Security and select Start Anti-malware Update from the Activity menu. Upon completion it will display the current date for DAT creation and Last Update Status: Successful.


Reset the default preferences for McAfee Security for Mac
1. In the McAfee Security Preferences select Anti-malware from the toolbar.
2. Click on the padlock and authenticate.
3. Click on the Reset button and click OK in reply to resetting all personalised preferences to factory defaults.
This will provide the following setting for On Access Scanning:
On Access Scanning - ON
Scan files while: Write
When a virus is found: Clean
If clean fails: Quarantine

Schedule a task to scan your Home folder every evening
It is recommend that you set up a Scan task to check all your files in your Home for viruses during the night as follows:

1. From the Activity menu select New Activity and enter the following:
Scan Name: eg Scan My Home and click on Create

2. In the Scan My Home window select the following:

  • What to Scan: Select your Home folder.
  • When to scan: Select Daily for the dropdown box and select and enter the required time, when your Mac will be on (eg 2.15am)
    Make sure No end date is select
  • Click OK

Schedule a task to eUpdate VirusScan every evening
It is recommended that you ensure that there is a daily Anti-malware update set to run each night as follows:

1. In the McAfee Security Preferences select Update from the toolbar and then the Schedule tab
2. Click on the padlock to authenticate
3. Select Daily for the dropdown box and select and enter the required time when your Mac will be on (eg 1.15am)
4. Click Apply


MacOS X 10.2.6 or later

Using your Web Browser download ClamXav which is available as an unsupported free alternative to McAfee VirusScan for OS X 10.5 and earlier.

  • Make sure that you download the correct version for your OS
  • It is advisable to set up scheduled tasks for both scanning your home directory and downloading the latest DATs
  • See ClamXav documentation for more information

NB If you run Windows on your Mac using eg Parallels, VMWare Fusion you MUST also install a relevant PC version of antivirus software.