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Old Mar 28, 2011, 12:31 AM   #1
KarlJay
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new to OSX, does Mac need virus protection?

Just getting started with Mac OSX, I've heard in the past that Mac really doesn't need virus protection. I'm almost done setting up my system and don't want any problems.

Do I need virus protection and if so, do the standard McAfee / NOD32 work on Mac.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 12:51 AM   #2
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 01:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlJay View Post
Just getting started with Mac OSX, I've heard in the past that Mac really doesn't need virus protection. I'm almost done setting up my system and don't want any problems.

Do I need virus protection and if so, do the standard McAfee / NOD32 work on Mac.
Virus protection isn't really worth it on the Mac. None of my home Macs have virus protection.

Quite often virus protection software can cause problems. On Windows, it's worth it because getting a virus is worse. But on the Mac? Not really.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 02:01 AM   #4
toxic
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the only virus protection necessary is to make sure you aren't passing on malware to Windows computers, if you need to do that (say for a business environment). that functionality isn't worth paying for. just download ClamXAV or Sophos Home edition for free.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 04:30 AM   #5
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ALL computers are vulnerable to viruses. Yes, you need antivirus protection software.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 10:42 AM   #6
GGJstudios
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ALL computers are vulnerable to viruses. Yes, you need antivirus protection software.
False. You don't need antivirus software on a Mac. There has never been a virus in the wild that runs on Mac OS X. The handful of trojans that exist can be easily avoided with some education and common sense and care in what software you install:
Mac Virus/Malware Info
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 11:29 AM   #7
20eman
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You don't necessarily even "need" antivirus protection on a Vista or Windows 7 machine either (if it's a home computer not connected to a "dirty" corporate network). But you really need to know what you're doing. That means setting your settings correctly (autorun, file extensions, UAC), using a good email client and web browser (not IE or Outlook), and most importantly, using the internet exceedingly carefully and never downloading anything or opening any attachments if you aren't sure they are safe.

Antivirus is nothing more than an additional layer of security. It's no more "necessary" than any other security precaution. I don't use an antivirus program on my home computer because in my opinion the potential additional protection isn't worth the guaranteed loss in system performance.

A good way to protect yourself from most browser-based attacks is to use a hardware firewall (most routers include one) and Firefox+NoScript. This works for both Mac and PC. For email, you need a client that doesn't automatically open attachments or run HTML code. Mail.app seems to be pretty good in this respect.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 11:30 AM   #8
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you don't need it....

i don't use virus software on my workstation, but i do use it on my Macbook Pro and three other computers in the house where a lot of web surfing is done. i use Intego VirusBarrier X6, and i'm actually really impressed with it. it does not slow down my computer or cause any problems, it uninstalls very easily an clean, and its well built. IF you decide to get virus software, i recommend VirusBarrier.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:23 AM   #9
DD4
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Don't be foolish.
Virus protection is necessary for every computer.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:28 AM   #10
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by DD4 View Post
Don't be foolish.
Virus protection is necessary for every computer.
False. Read the link I posted in post#6, and educate yourself.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DD4 View Post
Don't be foolish.
Virus protection is necessary for every computer.
Try again... There currently is no need to use AV on a Mac. Windows viruses don't actually affect OSx and there are no known virsus for Mac so what would be the point?

It would simply eat resouces that you can use elsewhere. I have been running my Mac for 3 plus years without AV and never had a problem.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DD4 View Post
Don't be foolish.
Virus protection is necessary for every computer.
Don't be foolish and listen to people that don't understand what they are talking about. There has never, ever, not one single instance been a documented mac OSX virus in the wild that has been prevented by an A/V program.

All A/V does on a mac is slow down the machine and give you pointless false positives about cookies (which are privacy related and have nothing to do with viruses) and other such nonsense.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DD4 View Post
Don't be foolish.
Virus protection is necessary for every computer.
Hello 300D.
It seems a lot of replies have been deleted, including mine, and you have been banned. I missed you.
Now go on.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 01:59 PM   #14
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A lot of people who share files with PC's use it on Macs. Just because there are currently no viruses for Mac OSX doesn't mean you cant spread them to PC's.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 02:38 PM   #15
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by mjsmke View Post
A lot of people who share files with PC's use it on Macs. Just because there are currently no viruses for Mac OSX doesn't mean you cant spread them to PC's.
Read the link in post #6.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 02:56 PM   #16
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The fact that macs don't get viruses is not that relevant anymore. The biggest threat now is malware (i.e. trojans) that steal data, passwords, account numbers, etc. and macs are not immune to this. Yes, this threat can be minimized but many computer users, mac and PC alike, can and will fall prey to social engineering strategies to click on a link or open an email attachment.

I'm not saying you must have malware protection on a mac right now, just don't propagate a false sense of security since the threats to OS X are only going to increase with mac's growing market share.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 03:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutterman View Post
The fact that macs don't get viruses is not that relevant anymore. The biggest threat now is malware (i.e. trojans) that steal data, passwords, account numbers, etc. and macs are not immune to this. Yes, this threat can be minimized but many computer users, mac and PC alike, can and will fall prey to social engineering strategies to click on a link or open an email attachment.
You can't install a trojan on a Mac simply by clicking on a link or opening an email attachment. You have to actively install the trojan, entering your admin password. The handful of Mac trojans that exist are easily avoided by using common sense and some discretion about where you get the software you install. Read the link in post #6. No one is saying you shouldn't be careful. We're saying you don't need AV apps to keep your Mac malware-free.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutterman View Post
... the threats to OS X are only going to increase with mac's growing market share.
The market share myth has been debunked more times than I can count. Read up on it. It's not true.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 03:54 PM   #18
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I couldn't agree with GGJstudios more.

The "low market share" myth is total b.s. The vulnerabilities exploited by trojans & viruses are due to Windows' defective software architecture vs. the UNIX®/FreeBSD/Mach underpinnings of Mac OS X. If OS X and Windows swapped market share tomorrow, it wouldn't make one iota of difference.

I am on The SANS™ Institute's mailing list. Here is the beginning of their latest security alert:

Code:
________________________________________________________________

       @RISK: The Consensus Security Vulnerability Alert

                         Week 12 2011

________________________________________________________________

Summary of Updates and Vulnerabilities in this Consensus

Platform                        Number of Updates and Vulnerabilities
------------------------	-------------------------------------

Other Microsoft Products                         1 (#2)
Third Party Windows Apps                         1
Linux                                            3
Cross Platform                                  14 (#1,#3)
Web Application - Cross Site Scripting           5
Web Application                                  2
Network Device                                   1
Not a single mention of Mac OS X. Cross-platform vulnerabilities (mostly in Web browsers/services) are far more of a threat - to any platform - than OS X-specific trojans or viruses.

Anyone that buys an OS X anti-virus product needs to Google P.T. Barnum.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 03:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
You can't install a trojan on a Mac simply by clicking on a link or opening an email attachment.
And from your Post #6:
"For a Trojan horse to spread, you must invite these programs onto your computers; for example, by opening an email attachment or downloading and running a file from the Internet."

I think you are confused and naive to espouse that OS X, safari, mail, address book, etc are immune to security holes or exploits that can't be "easily avoided". No OS is free of potential security exploits. I also don't understand how the "market share myth" has been "debunked" since OS X share is now at it's highest level (over 10% in N America and Europe). What is the basis for comparison?
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:03 PM   #20
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Don't bother, odds are, you will NEVER have an issue. Plus if you use Time Machine, rolling back is SUPER easy. I've been using OSX for 10 years and NEVER had an issue. (Including gigs and gigs and gigs of not-legal DLing).
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:05 PM   #21
Vylen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
Read the link in post #6.
As much as it is true that other Windows users should have their own AV, not all AV programs are perfect - they do have a failure rate.

So while I'm not saying Mac users should have an AV to prevent the transmission of Windows viruses, it doesn't hurt to have one if you have frequent file transfers to and from Windows users. Since, again, their AV may not catch a particular virus while yours might.

Anyway, that's up to an individual users discretion.

I personally don't use an AV on my Mac

As for your point of installing a trojan requiring a password - while also true, there's nothing stopping me or anyone else from making an installer for a popular application and piggybacking malicious code into the bundle, then hosting it up on on some download site. Usually this doesn't occur so much since people do find downloads available on the website that provides the application, however, it doesn't mean it can't happen!

Just something to be wary of.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:08 PM   #22
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutterman View Post
And from your Post #6:
"For a Trojan horse to spread, you must invite these programs onto your computers; for example, by opening an email attachment or downloading and running a file from the Internet."
Note the bold text. You still have to install it for it to do anything. Otherwise, it simply sits as a file on your hard drive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutterman View Post
I think you are confused and naive to espouse that OS X, safari, mail, address book, etc are immune to security holes or exploits
I never said they're free from security holes or exploits. I said they're free from viruses and that the trojans that exist are easily avoided. No OS is completely secure. If you read all of that post, you'll see:
Quote:
Since no OS, including Mac OS X, is immune to malware threats, this situation could change at any time, but if a new virus is discovered, the news media, forums, blogs, etc. will be instantly buzzing with the news.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutterman View Post
I also don't understand how the "market share myth" has been "debunked" since OS X share is now at it's highest level (over 10% in N America and Europe). What is the basis for comparison?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
The "market share" theory suggests:
larger market share = more visibility = more malware
This is not proven by actual events. Ten years ago, when Macs represented a much smaller market share and a much smaller installed base, there were a handful of viruses that could affect Mac OS 9 and earlier. Today, Macs have a much larger market share and much larger installed base with Mac OS X (and growing at a rate of over a million Macs per month), but the number of viruses has not increased proportionately.... or at all... in fact, the number has decreased to zero. The market share theory doesn't work. Period.
The Mac Malware Myth
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vylen View Post
So while I'm not saying Mac users should have an AV to prevent the transmission of Windows viruses, it doesn't hurt to have one if you have frequent file transfers to and from Windows users. Since, again, their AV may not catch a particular virus while yours might.
No AV app that runs on Mac will detect a Windows virus better than a Windows AV app. If AV on a Mac detects it, then AV on Windows will do the same. Having AV running on a Mac is not adding any additional security for a Windows user than they can have running their own AV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vylen View Post
Anyway, that's up to an individual users discretion.
Yes, it is. If someone wants to run AV, that's their choice. It's just not necessary to protect Macs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vylen View Post
As for your point of installing a trojan requiring a password - while also true, there's nothing stopping me or anyone else from making an installer for a popular application and piggybacking malicious code into the bundle, then hosting it up on on some download site.
That's exactly what's meant by being careful where you get the software you install. Apps downloaded from porn sites or pirated apps from torrent sites have a higher risk of infection. AV software isn't needed to avoid downloading and installing apps from such sites. No AV app can protect a user from their own foolishness. As it says in the Virus/Malware Info post:
Quote:
Trojans can easily be avoided by the user exercising common sense and caution when installing applications. A common source of trojans is pirated software, typically downloaded from bit torrent sites.

Last edited by GGJstudios; Mar 31, 2011 at 04:19 PM.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:20 PM   #23
Vylen
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Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
No AV app that runs on Mac will detect a Windows virus better than a Windows AV app. If AV on a Mac detects it, then AV on Windows will do the same. Having AV running on a Mac is not adding any additional security for a Windows user than they can have running their own AV.
There's no proof of that. Just like how some Windows AV programs can detect some viruses and while others can't.

Until someone performs proper tests to detect the efficiency of Mac AV applications versus properly Windows applications, this will always be up to contention and I'd prefer to err on the side of caution because complacency can lead to disaster for a person!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
That's exactly what's meant by being careful where you get the software you install. Installing apps from porn sites or pirated apps from torrent sites have a higher risk of infection. AV software isn't needed to avoid downloading and installing apps from such sites. No AV app can protect a user from their own foolishness.
The malicious installer does NOT have to be on high risk sites. There is a precedence for these types of downloads to pop-up on legitimate (like MacUpdate for an example of "legitmate") places and catch people out.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:26 PM   #24
GGJstudios
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There's no proof of that. Just like how some Windows AV programs can detect some viruses and while others can't.
Each AV app has a virus definitions list that states what it's designed to detect. It's a tedious but simple process of comparing the lists. You can do the work of comparing them, as I don't need to. If you do, you'll only prove my statement is true. Here's some info to get you started:
http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vylen View Post
The malicious installer does NOT have to be on high risk sites. There is a precedence for these types of downloads to pop-up on legitimate (like MacUpdate for an example of "legitmate") places and catch people out.
Evidence? Plus, while anything is possible, the presence of malware in an app on a reputable site would be quickly reported, the app removed, and the public alerted. MacRumors would be buzzing with info about it, as would other forums and Mac-related sites. We can play "what if" games all day long, but the fact remains that in today's world (not a hypothetical world), a user can maintain a malware-free Mac in day-to-day use without the need for antivirus software of any kind.

Last edited by GGJstudios; Mar 31, 2011 at 04:34 PM.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:43 PM   #25
Vylen
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Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
Each AV app has a virus definitions list that states what it's designed to detect. It's a tedious but simple process of comparing the lists. You can do the work of comparing them, as I don't need to. If you do, you'll only prove my statement is true. Here's some info to get you started:
http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Except there's a beautiful thing called genetic programming.

While the golden days of awesome virus makers have passed, there can exist a breed of rare but potent virus. There are obvious methods for people to circumvent virus definition lists - of which assume a virus always has the same signature. Genetic programming is the solution to this "problem" faced by virus makers - have a well engineered virus that can spread by whatever means on Windows and each one changes their signature in some way and keep on transmitting. It's an uncommon but serious threat that AV developers have to face.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
Evidence? Plus, while anything is possible, the presence of malware in an app on a reputable site would be quickly reported, the app removed, and the public alerted. MacRumors would be buzzing with info about it, as would other forums and Mac-related sites. We can play "what if" games all day long, but the fact remains that in today's world (not a hypothetical world), a user can maintain a malware-free Mac in day-to-day use without the need for antivirus software of any kind.
In the real world, a user can maintain a malware-free Mac.

Just in the same way a user can maintain a malware-free Windows machine... and yet, look at how things are.

As for evidence - I could've sworn there was a recent news story about something happening, but I think I'm mistaken on that part.

P.S I'm at work right now and meant to be doing work I'll stop this here for now haha. We obviously have differing opinions but I'm sure spectators here are having fun!
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