The anti-virus software can itself cause problems. It isn't like there isn't any anti-virus protection in the operating system.
I know a lot of people are installing anti-malware software from Sophos.
This is true. Norton is famous (or infamous) for this reason. Like Windows users, it's important to do some research on these products rather than blindly install them just because your ISP has made them freely available. The free offering from Sophos is actually getting some good reviews from Mac users over at MacUpdate.
However, if one of your parents or grandparents found themselves on a site that told you your machine was infected - click here to rid yourself of this digital gonorrhea for FREE! - would you trust them to know it was a scam? Knowing this, would you still advise against installing some sort of AV or anti-malware software?
If you don't trust them to know, you should set up their account as "standard" so they can't install anything.
Mac usage has continued to rise, quarter after quarter, offering an ever larger fresh, juicy target...
This is true, and all of these users are coming from... yep, you guessed it. And with them, they bring along a limited knowledge of the Mac platform as well as all of their old Windows bad habits. Sooner or later, its going to hit the fan. Those of us who frequent tech sites, blogs and forums tend to have a difficult time stepping out of our "tech minds" for a moment and thinking like average users. Sure, we all know how to avoid malware infestations (both on Mac and on Windows). However, if one of your parents or grandparents found themselves on a site that told you your machine was infected - click here to rid yourself of this digital gonorrhea for FREE! - would you trust them to know it was a scam? Knowing this, would you still advise against installing some sort of AV or anti-malware software?
There's nothing inherently more secure about OS X or Linux, or any of the other flavors of *nix from say Windows 7. Each has their own security mechanisms and pretty often they are the same ones, if with slight variations. The only truly secure system is one with no users and no access. Of course, such a system is not very useful.
If it's a lone outbreak and nothing new follows it, I'd agree with you. But I don't think it will be. Yes, there have been others in the past, but all were very low volume and didn't get much attention except in a very limited way in the technical community. The malware slimers are very much "me too" types, if they see something that worked for their buddy, they will try it also. Mac usage has continued to rise, quarter after quarter, offering an ever larger fresh, juicy target...
Trojan, yes, but that doesn't seem to have put a damper on its spread. All it needs is gullible users and there's no shortage of those folks around the Internet. And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I've been one of the those who never bothered with a virus scanner for my Mac before, figuring it was mostly a pointless waste of time and resources. I'm still not convinced that it's necessary quite yet, but I think it's coming and sooner rather than later.
I think the days of there being no creditable malware threat to the Mac platform are officially over. This same story is making the rounds everywhere, and I agree, the more people see it, the better informed they are. This whole MacDefender issue is making the legions of anti-Apple-Mac Windoze fanboys drool with anticipation...