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Avira becomes latest vendor to offer Mac antivirus software

The company also released free a remote management application for Android phones

German security company Avira has released free antivirus software for Apple Macs, joining a host of security software providers offering protection for OS X.

Avira said Apple's market share for computers has increased, which has been followed by an increase in malicious software programs. The company said the product will not contain advertising or marketing pop-up ads.

Many of the top security software companies offer security software for Macs, with some for free. Kaspersky Lab, Intego, PC Tools, Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro all offer paid security software, while Sophos offers its Mac product for free.

Apple has marketed itself as inherently more secure than Windows. Security experts have said its platform is just as prone to software vulnerabilities as other operating systems, but Windows is targeted more due to its high market share. In a sign of the increasing prevalence of Mac malware, Apple rolled out an antimalware tool called XProtect in 2009, which is periodically updated to detect new malware.

Avira also released an application for Android phones that can remotely lock or locate a device as well as erase its data. Using a web-based interface, the phone's owner can display a "call owner" message on the device with a number.

A missing Android device can be plotted on Google Maps. It can also be commanded to make a loud sound for 20 seconds, Avira said. Up to five phones can be managed remotely. The application is free and works with Android 2.2, known as Froyo, and 2.3, nicknamed Gingerbread.

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