Is it worth getting an antivirus these days?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Zackonmac, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Zackonmac, Jul 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    #1
    Hey guys.

    I'm a programmer and am becoming increasingly concerned with hackers, keylogging and malware these days.

    The recent attack on the apple developer site sent alarm bells ringing in my head. So i'm wondering if it's finally time to get an anti-virus on my mac. Do you guys think it is? and if so, which one?

    Even if it's still not essential to get one, I wouldn't mind having one even just for the peace of mind... But I don't want something that is going to eat up my cpu and make my day to day work sluggish as a result.

    Opinions/Recommendations please :)
     
  2. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    You're better off performing safe computing habits, then installing a piece of software that will make your computer behave slower, and less stable.

    Antivirus software does not protect you against hacking, and if you're careful of what you install/download you'll not have to worry about malware. Phishing can be avoided by being smart about emails, i.e., not clicking on the links in them
     
  3. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the lens, UK
    #3
    I'm with Maflynn on this. One of the things that attracted me to Macs in the first place was not having to use antivirus software. It's not just the money. Everyday my Norton programme would tell me my definitions were out of date or I should run a full system scan. By being cautious about links and emails etc, none of these things are possible. And because no live viruses exist, the worst you can pick up is a bit of Malware.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    #4
    Hey Mike, thanks for your response.

    I am pretty careful in my day to day activities. I don't use torrents nor visit any illegal software sites, never click any links in any spurious emails etc. So I guess I'm doing everything I can already by the sounds of it :)
     
  5. macrumors G5

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #5
    Hardly... even my Windows PC works fine without an Anti-Virus. Obviously, I stay out of shady web sties and delete all shady emails.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    #6
    Antivirus for OS X

    :confused:

    Saw this article and I was wondering what is the best antivirus for Mac OSX?

    Free antivirus would be nice :)
     
  7. Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    #7
    You really do not need AV for OS X. Practice safe computing habits and don't install any software you didn't go looking for or install pirated software and you will be fine.

    Mac Virus/Malware Info
     
  8. macrumors demi-god

    Shrink

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #8
    If you really want an "anti virus", ClamX is OK (it is not really an anti virus). You can run a scan that will identify and quarantine any nasty stuff it finds. It doesn't use any resources since it only runs on demand...I use it once a month and get a bunch of (probably Windows) junk and then dump it.
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    #9
    Thanks Shrink, I am new to Mac. Windows is where I really operate, I just bought a macbook pro a while back and not having antivirus makes me nervous. Especially when you see stuff like that yahoo article:

    Humbled Apple Admits Hacking After Releasing Removal Tool

    That’s a high number from a company that touts the invulnerability of its OS. Now Apple is disclosing more chinks in its armor. Once Forbes went on record to say Apple is the most valuable company in human history, Apple has done its best to retain that reputation and avoiding any mention of weakness. But it looks like reality is trumping reputation for the tech juggernaut...


    I was checking this out:
    http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-mac
     
  10. macrumors demi-god

    Shrink

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #10
    Thus far, there have been no viruses in the wild that infect OS X. Not that it can't be infected, it just never has been infected. As I understand it, anti viruses are unnecessary, and installing them uses resources with no return. There is other malware that could conceivably be installed, but that is avoided by safe computing practices.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    #11
    Ok, what precautions, if any, should I take if using vmware with/without unity mode? Are there any risks?
     
  12. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #12
    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 12 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). 3rd party antivirus apps are not necessary to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as a user practices safe computing, as described in the following link.
    Read the What security steps should I take? section of the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ for tips on practicing safe computing.

    You're confusing hacking with malware. Apple's site was hacked, not the subject of a malware attack. Antivirus apps provide no protection against hacking. The fact is that the average Mac user will never be targeted in a hacking attack. In over 5 years of reading "My Mac was hacked!" claims in this forum, not a single one ever was hacked.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    #13
    I was looking at this too:
    "Owning an Apple doesn’t mean being impervious to the viruses that plague PCs. No matter how respected Apple is, being the best doesn’t mean being invincible. Even Superman had kryptonite."
     
  14. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    The viruses that run on Windows PCs cannot run on OS X, so Macs are impervious to that kind of malware. There are trojans that run on OS X, but no viruses.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #15
    There are no viruses for OS X. Period. There never has been. Don't believe the FUD that so many people like to spread.

    If you are worried about "virues that plague PCs", install anti-virus software on your bootcamp partition. OS X doesn't need any.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Thraun

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Abbotsford, BC
    #16
    That is definitely not true. While certainly significantly more rare than PC viruses, they have existed. As other people have said though, as long as you practice smart downloading then you should never have an issue. My 7-year-old iMac has never had any antivirus software at all, I download stuff all the time, including torrents, and I've never had an issue.
     
  17. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #17
    It is certainly true. There has never been an OS X virus in the wild. There were viruses on OS 9 and earlier, and there have been trojans on OS X, but no viruses. If you're counting proof-of-concept viruses that only exist in a lab, those don't count, as they present zero threat, since Mac users cannot encounter them. Read post #12, including the links, to educate yourself about OS X malware.
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #18
    You are wrong. There has never been any viruses for OS X.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Thraun

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Abbotsford, BC
    #19
    Sorry, I suppose I should have used the more general term 'malware' rather than 'virus'. I guess I didn't expect this many nitpickers.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #20
    Surely there are trojans/malware. But no anti-virus program can protect you from your own stupidity if you enter your password when trying to install stuff acquired from questionable sources or decide to wire some cash to a prince so they can send you your inheritance from a relative you do not have.
     
  21. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #21
    Safe computing (not visiting dodgy sites) is not necessarily enough.

    It is a start, but it does NOT protect you from being infected by a legitimate site that you visit that has been hacked. Essentially you are trusting the admin of the sites you visit to keep their system secure.


    - stay current with system updates (including Java, Flash, etc if installed)
    - do not log into your computer day to day with an administrative account
    - if you choose not to run a virus scanner on your machine full time, I'd still recommend periodically scanning your machine as a bit of a sanity check.
     
  22. macrumors 68020

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #22
    What will you be scanning for?
     
  23. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #23
    No OS X malware exists in the wild that cannot be successfully avoided by practicing safe computing. 3rd party antivirus apps provide no additional protection beyond that provided by safe computing practices.
     
  24. throAU, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013

    macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #24
    To ensure what you THINK is true (i.e. you are not infected with anything) is actually the reality of the situation.

    Irrelevant.

    If a zero day was released tomorrow for OS X and infected users by say, a malicious HTML page on this forum, due to the web server software being hacked on the macrumors site, a huge number of you guys would get infected (Macrumors isn't a shady site, right?).

    Apple security is much better than Windows in general, sure. But if you think the above could never happen, it DID in the Windows world and is how Nimda spread like wildfire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimda ).

    If you want to place your trust in Apple's ability to write 100% defect free code for the rest of time, go ahead.

    Me? I don't trust any programmer on the planet to write 100% defect free code. Doing so is a lot harder than you might suspect, and programmers are human. The fact that the iDevices keep getting jailbroken is confirmation that Apple can not write 100% defect free code. And iOS is locked down a lot more comprehensively than OS X.


    edit:
    cliffnotes regarding nimda.

    Boldfaced - many legit sites were hacked and didn't even know about it until many of their users were infected.

    The cadre of "You'll pry snow leopard out of my cold dead hands" users are likely to be an infection vector once Apple drops security fix support for it.
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #25
    I don't need an anti-virus app to tell me I'm not infected by a virus that doesn't exist. I don't take antibiotics regularly either.

    Until virus definitions are updated, you will be vulnerable to a zero day virus even if you have anti-virus software installed. Since there are no viruses for OS X, why install anti-virus? The second a true self replicating virus hits OS X, it will be on every news agency and odds are you will learn how to defend yourself before any virus definitions get updated.
     

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