new to OSX, does Mac need virus protection?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by KarlJay, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2010
    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.
  2. macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
  3. macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    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.
  4. macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    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.
  5. macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    ALL computers are vulnerable to viruses. Yes, you need antivirus protection software.
  6. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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:
  7. macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2009
    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. seems to be pretty good in this respect.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2007
    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.
  9. DD4
    macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    Don't be foolish.
    Virus protection is necessary for every computer.
  10. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    False. Read the link I posted in post#6, and educate yourself.
  11. Guest

    Oct 7, 2010
    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.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2008
    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.
  13. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Hello 300D.
    It seems a lot of replies have been deleted, including mine, and you have been banned. I missed you.
    Now go on.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010
    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.
  15. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Read the link in post #6.
  16. macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    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.
  17. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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.
    The market share myth has been debunked more times than I can count. Read up on it. It's not true.
  18. macrumors regular

    Riot Nrrrd

    Feb 23, 2011
    Lost Androideles
    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:

           @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. :p
  19. macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    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?
  20. macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    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).
  21. macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    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 :p

    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.
  22. GGJstudios, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011

    macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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.
    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:
    The Mac Malware Myth
    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.
    Yes, it is. If someone wants to run AV, that's their choice. It's just not necessary to protect Macs.
    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:
  23. macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    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!

    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.
  24. GGJstudios, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011

    macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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:
    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.
  25. macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    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.

    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 :p 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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