Mac Convert Question - Virus Software

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Carpediem68, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Carpediem68 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    #1
    Hi Gang,

    I did it. I used to want a mac back in college (20 years ago) when it had a built in handle and would say "hello" to you when you turned it on. But.. alas.. I was broke. Then I became a lawyer. An industry dominated by M$. I finally got a look at Windows Vista and decided "Thats it .. I'm done". I found myself that afternoon in the Applestore putting a sizeable dent in my bank account for a macbook pro 17" and I love it. I love it more than is rational. Anyway, I'm now set up with Parallels (for 2 programs I MUST use once in awhile), M$ office on mac and a few other programs. I'm still learning but love the mac. Love the reliability, the stability, and the "fun" of it. I've already got the family chistmas dvd done and iDVD blows away anything I ever used on the PC. I do, however, have a few questions ....

    Virus software

    Do I need it? The Apple store says no but I've read a few articles that say I do. Can you please share you experience with this one week mac newby?

    Thanks,
    David
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
  3. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
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    Kirkland, WA
    #3
    I would recommend it if only because if you sent stuff to pcs, and any virus that doesn't affect still resides in the file and can be destructive for PCs. I use ClamXAV, mainly because it is free.
     
  4. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    May 16, 2006
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    London
    #4
    Make sure your PCs are protected...antivirus slows your mac down
     
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    You'll still need virus software for the windows partition, but no need to worry about the OS X.
     
  6. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #6
    Welcome to the world of Macs. I would like to read the articles you spoke of. Would you please post the links? I would appreciate it. Thanks.
     
  7. smueboy macrumors 6502a

    smueboy

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Oz
    #7
    I have Norton antivirus on my MBP (and for years on my PB), only beacause it is free through my work, but it has never detected anything resembling a virus. [i know i get them in emails, but they don't open dammit :rolleyes: ]
    One does wonder how long that will last though....
     
  8. grafikat macrumors 6502a

    grafikat

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    #8
    I've been using macs for 15+ years. Only had one virus, a trojan horse, really... the famous Autostart Worm of 1999.

    Famous? Because it was the Only one!
     
  9. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #9
    do a search with google for "mac virus" u get some ideas. sure mac has relatively much fewer viruses, and so far, i didn't hear any ppl reporting getting infected. But, can't blame ppl for wanting total safety.
     
  10. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #10
    Get rid of it - free doesn't equal good, especially in the case of Norton. It's just wasting processor cycles sitting there on your HDD.

    PC users need to protect themselves from nasties.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #11
    There are no wild viruses for OSX. There are a few wild Trojans, keyloggers, etc. I'm not aware of any wild worms, though it's certainly possible to (a) write viral code (there are zoo viruses,) (b) spread malware to a Mac through overflows (look at Quicktime's update history!)

    At this point there's not enough risk for a target of opportunity (ToO) attack to really justify the software. Most AV software for OSX doesn't look at generic vectors for Trojans- which is where the target of choice (ToC) attacks are most likely to succeed. The only widespread wild ToO Trojans seem to have happened via peer-to-peer file sharing networks though it's certainly possible in the future we'll see attacks in software packages from compromised Web servers. Some limited local Trojan outbreaks have come though falsely flagged software packages, but such attacks tend to have a pretty limited lifetime.

    On the Parallels side, even though you can backup the Windows disk easily, you're probably better off using some sort of AV and Spyware scanning.

    All-told, I doubt anyone has an OSX virus zoo with more than 80 or so samples.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12
    That's totally untrue. There have been at least dozens of Trojans for the Mac (and most *nix ones will work with a recompile.) There have historically been about 40 in the wild (ITW) viruses (pre-OSX.) I haven't got a count on worms, but there have been some. That doesn't count all the macro viruses that MS Office brought to the platform. That's also not counting all the PHP malware out there.

    While there's nowhere near the level of Windows malcode, it exists, and some of it has gone wild, though viral stuff is mostly a historical OS9 issue other than perhaps Esperanto, which reportedly had an OSX component- but didn't go wild on the platform.

    Apple's not as fast as I'd like to see in fixing security bugs- some have taken months from report to fix-- that's way too slow. They also seem to have lots of security bugs in things like Quicktime, a sign of a lack of security review. Over time, if they don't fix those things we will have a good-sized incident in a community that's totally unused to dealing with it. I really hope we get the rest of the TrustedBSD layer in and enabled by default before those circumstances collide, but I wouldn't stake unbacked-up data on it.
     
  13. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #13
    I have been running Macs on the internet since 1995 (even before they were so "secure"). I have yet to use an anti-virus program. I hope I never have to. I have yet to have any trouble and I run my computer 24/7 on a broadband connection without a firewall (other than the one built into the router). MacAfee has caused nothing but headaches on my in-laws' PC. Try to create a simple network between a Mac and a PC with anti-virus software. It is not so easy (especially for a Mac guy). What SHOULD be straight forward stuff turns out not to be. Step by step guides simply don't work because the anti-virus software has changed something which makes the attempt to network moot and the step-by-steps don't explain how to go around the problem while still protecting the PC. Also having various web sites blocked as I try to surf the net annoys the piss out of me.

    Back to your question. No, you don't need any anti-virus software. Simply don't open any email attachments unless you know what they are. Also, limit downloading files that you not sure about (peer to peer is a good place to avoid).

    Another reason I am not worried? I keep a duplicate hard drive on my system that is strictly used to backup my main hard drive. If something ever corrupted my system I could simply tell Startup Disk to pick the other hard drive to startup from and continue like nothing happened (then I would wipe the original hard drive and dupe the new startup disk back over to the original drive).
     
  14. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #14
    I have not found any stories about mac viruses that actually document any known issues. I want to read the OP's stories. Or, maybe you have a reference to share?

    I feel the opposite as you. Spending money on virus software has little value. Anything which could successfully attack a Mac has no protection from current virus software. Otherwise, it would be attacking Mac right now.
     
  15. Carpediem68 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    #15
    The source that I read about needing virus software was the Mac OS X Tiger book "for dummies."

    I also have a question about backing up but maybe I should start another thread for that.
     
  16. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #16
    Oh, I guess I misunderstood, sorry. From your original post, "....but I've read a few articles that say I do", it seemed like you were saying that you read several published articles, which said you do need it. I guess I am still confused. Did this book actually state you needed it?. That would make one wonder if they really knew what they were talking about. Sorry for asking so many questions, but I suggested this as a source to some new Mac users. I would hate to think this is an unreliable source. Do you recall where in the book it stated it (general area of course).
     
  17. Carpediem68 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    #17
    yes the dummies book says I DO need virus software ... AND it says I need defrag software which I'm learning in a separate thread would probably do more harm than good ... go figure huh. Its so supposed to be FOR dummies but in this case it may be BY dummies.
     
  18. Spaceman Spiff macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    #18
    To be honest, they're probably just making sure they're not going to be held responsible IF some dangerous virus comes along and screws over a bunch of Macs. If they said "nope, you don't need it" and then a virus blows up your computer, there are some lawsuit-happy people who would see this as completely the book's fault.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #19
    iDefrag actually does work well, but if you have enough free space in your filesystem, then you're not going to be over-hindered by a lack of defrag software. Once you get over about 80% usage though it'll almost certainly make a difference.

    Well, as with all things, it depends on what you mean. As far as viruses, if you mean the collective malware experience, then there have been press reports here and there about Trojan outbreaks. If you mean actually viral code, then everything that exists is in zoos.

    As far as "could successfully attack a Mac" that doesn't equate with "Can successfully attack YOUR Mac." For instance, if I was running OSX server with a PHP-based website and the PHP software I chose was vulnerable to a PHP worm, that'd be malcode that could attack a Mac, but couldn't attack your Mac unless your environment was the same. It wouldn't take that long to cook up something that took advantage of an unpatched system, older Firefox version, etc. The thing is that it'd be easier to seed the attack as a target of choice attack than a target of opportunity attack which is where you get most issues with wild malcode.

    I suppose my point is that your Mac isn't invulnerable to malcode, it's just not particularly vulnerable at the moment, but that's a temporal issue that will likely change now that we've got x86 shellcode payloads as a potential enabler for the malcode writing community.
     
  20. northernmunky macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    London, Taipei
    #20
    I did have one incident while I was back at university (and of course all our Powerbook G4's were on the universities wireless network) where parts of the menu bar dissapeared and programs would mysteriously shut down. I just figured it was crashing, restarted, and it ran perfectly fine after that. The next day a pal of mine said his powerbook had been doing strange things the night before (same time as me) and the symptoms were identical.

    I'm almost sure it was some sort of virus but whatever it was it never came back. We were all on 10.4.4 at the time, though to be fair I still dont see any need to be running any AV.

    Theres even a spyware scanner out for Mac now which is just pointless.
     

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