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8.2 Disinfectant (What's the best antivirus package for the Macintosh?)




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This article is from the Viruses and the Mac FAQ, by David Harley D.Harley@icrf.icnet.uk with numerous contributions by others.

8.2 Disinfectant (What's the best antivirus package for the Macintosh?)

[On May 6th 1998, John Norstad, author of this widely-used freeware
package announced that it was to be retired. 3.7.1 is the latest
and last version, and it won't be updated to detect AutoStart 9805
or any subsequent Macintosh malware. The main reason for this is
that he doesn't have the resources to extend its capabilities to
detect macro viruses, which have become by far the most significant
virus problem for most Macintosh users.

This is probably a wise decision, given the number of people who
still overestimate the effectiveness of the package in the face of
the macro virus threat. However, the entire Macintosh community
owes John Norstad a debt of gratitude for making it freely
available for so long, an act of altruism which has probably
contributed very significantly to the comparative rarity of native
Macintosh viruses.]

Disinfectant was an excellent anti-virus package with exemplary
documentation, and didn't cost a penny: however, it didn't detect
all the forms of malware that a commercial package usually does,
including HyperCard infectors, most Trojans, jokes or macro
viruses. Unlike some commercial packages, it didn't scan compressed
files, either: compressed files had to be expanded before scanning.
Self-extracting archives were probably best scanned before
unpacking, then again when unpacked.

Disinfectant has been available up to now from the following
sources, but this may not continue to be the case.:
<ftp://ftp.acns.nwu.edu/pub/disinfectant/>
CompuServe
GEnie
America Online
Calvacom
Delphi
BIX
Info-Mac mirrors in the ../vir/ directory

The Disinfectant README was updated to README-IMPORTANT on 6 May
1998, with the message, "because of the widespread and dangerous
Microsoft macro virus problem," "...All Disinfectant users should
switch..." to another program. README-IMPORTANT was updated again
on 11 October 1998, adding, "In addition to the Autostart worm and
the Microsoft macro viruses, several other new Mac viruses have
appeared since Disinfectant's retirement in May. This makes it even
more important that Disinfectant users switch..." to one of the
commercial products.
<ftp://ftp.nwu.edu/pub/disinfectant/>
There is a copy of the retirement announcement on the Web:
<http://charlotte.acns.nwu.edu/jln/d-retire.ssi>

 

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