Antivirus

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by xtempo, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. revmacian macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #26
    Can I contact them to discover the facts? Is their experience posted online? How are we supposed to verify these "facts"? I realize that you think you posted facts, but from my point of view it is simply hearsay. I'm not trying to argue, but facts should be discoverable and I should be able to repeat their experience and obtain the same result. You can't really call something a fact if we only have your word to go on sans proof.
     
  2. SoCalReviews, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #27
    Both incidents happened a few years ago. One infection that required a complete reinstall because it could not be removed was suspected to be from downloading firmware for a guitar based electronic audio device on an overseas web site. He suspected it was from legitimate firmware files on an Asian based web site that had been possibly hacked or compromised. My other friend believes his Mac was infected through the web browser possibly when he was using a Wifi network while traveling in another country. His virus related problems started showing up not long after he returned from his trip.

    As far as believing these incidents happened... You are right. It is hearsay since you don't know me or my friends. You can take that thinking as far as you want. How do we even know you or I are even real people posting in this forum? We could be just advanced :eek: AI bots.
     
  3. padams35 macrumors regular

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    #28
    There is the occasional virus will infect via a 3rd party application vulnerability. The word macro virus was the most recent I've heard of. https://thehackernews.com/2017/02/mac-osx-macro-malware.html

    XCodeGhost is a popular case study even if it is no longer active in the wild. Personally I consider that a trojan trojan-factory since it and its spawn all required user installation, but others have called it a virus since it spread malware via infecting other applications (that it itself had compiled).

    Otherwise I don't think there have been any true viruses or worms in wild that targeting MacOS via Apple software since Gatekeeper debuted.

    The plague of javascript ads that redirect Safari users to trojan download pages and other internet attack beasties don't really count since they don't touch anything outside the browser sandbox on their own.
     
  4. revmacian macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #29
    Some good points here.

    Perhaps I'm a bit rigid.. I require facts before making changes to my belief system.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 11, 2019 ---
    I haven't been able to find any either. I think part of the problem with these types of discussions is that viruses can be categorized under the heading 'malware', but not all malware are viruses.. so there is possibly a bit of misunderstanding of the topic material.
     
  5. SoCalReviews, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #30
    My friend who had to finally do a complete reinstall might have had his Mac infected with XCodeGhost. As I remember him saying his Mac seemed to be controlled remotely at times when he wasn't using it. He seemed to not have control over his trackpad pointer/cursor. Applications would open randomly. Since he is an advanced network engineer he tried to figure out how it was happening. He used OSX line commands to enable and disable functionality. I believe he even used packet sniffers on his network to hunt down how it was being controlled. I thought it was a hardware issue when he told me at first but it later was determined to be malware. He eventually just did a reinstall since he had to get his Mac working again and get back to work. There are more details I remember him telling me but I don't have the time right now to get into what I remember from his incident.
     
  6. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #31
    Pffft!
    The definition of virus is not the same as that for malware. You used the two terms as equivalents. They are not.
     
  7. SoCalReviews, Jan 15, 2019 at 12:38 PM
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019 at 1:09 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #32
    FACT: The use of the term "antivirus" and "viruses" which are words that have been around for decades are common terms used in documentation and popular software and are often included to describe the subset of viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware, etc..

    If you can't understand my use of that general word in my post you obviously don't belong in the conversation. The other possibility is that you are being sarcastic with your "Pfft!" which could be good sarcastic humor under the right circumstances but after some of the other comments I read in this thread I am hesitating to make any more assumptions. I really hope you are being sarcastic for your sake especially since I clearly explained the specifics about the infections in more detail in my later posts.
     
  8. GGJstudios, Jan 15, 2019 at 1:45 PM
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019 at 2:07 PM

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #33
    Not a myth, as others have said. Macs CAN be infected by viruses (which is a specific type of malware), but they DON'T, since no virus has ever existed in the wild that can affect macOS. Even if a macOS virus were introduced at some point in the future, antivirus apps would provide no protection against a zero-day threat.

    Macs CAN be infected by other forms of malware, such as trojans, but all macOS malware can easily be avoided by practicing safe computing (including not installing pirated software, or software from questionable sources). No antivirus/anti-malware software is required to keep a Mac malware-free. macOS malware is so relatively rare that most Mac users have never encountered any.

    Having "decades of experience" doesn't count for much if over that time they haven't learned enough to avoid installing apps that they haven't vetted, which is about the only way they can get macOS malware. All macOS malware is avoidable by practicing basic safe computing. There's a big difference between 1 year of experience repeated 20 times, and having 20 years of progressive experience, growing and learning. It's not how much time is spent, but rather how the time is spent that counts.

    That was not a macOS virus. It required the user's action to install, unlike a true virus, and was easily avoidable by not opening files containing macros.

    You are correct. That is a trojan, not a virus, despite what ill-informed people may call it. Also avoidable by users electing not to install it.

    There has never been a true virus in the wild that can infect any version of Mac OS X / macOS. This is true for all OS X versions before Gatekeeper was introduced in Lion.
     
  9. SoCalReviews, Jan 17, 2019 at 11:55 AM
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #34
    There is a reason I made the statements I made. It wasn't because I wanted to debate over semantics about what a virus is or isn't or what malware is or isn't.

    I have seen viruses, malware, trojans, ransomware and malicious web sites blocked by Mac based antivirus. Even if you want to believe the myth about Macs being safe from infections if you run Windows VMs, send emails to Windows users, user MS Office or transfer files to and from Mac to Windows machines then you should also be doing a service to yourself others who don't use Macs by using a broad spectrum AV.

    The examples I gave were two friends who are advanced network administrators with expertise in Unix, Linux and Windows who were working in the industry when the Apple II was popular. These weren't just end users who were effected. After their Macs were infected they both admitted that they had partially bought into the "Macs don't get viruses/malware" myth. These were their words... not mine. I didn't mention it before because I didn't want to have to explain any more examples about this... but there are also two other instances I know of recently regarding people I know who use Macs that got infections... However they were common Mac end users and not professionals.

    There is a long time famous authorized Mac repair center in my area that sends monthly updates to their customers with information about new products and how to secure their existing Macs and protect their Macs from infections. They catch malware all the time on customer's systems. One of the first things they do is run antivirus/anti-malware/anti-trojan software on their customers systems that are experiencing problems. I can only go by my own experience, the experience of those who I personally know and the professionals who's job has been for more than thirty years to repair and protect Macs.

    Again the only reason I bothered to post this information was to warn fellow Mac users about the risks and what I recommend to protect their systems. I do like much of the information you contributed in your post. It's part of a normal rational forum discussion. Ultimately forum readers can choose to believe what they want to and who they want to.
     
  10. revmacian, Jan 17, 2019 at 12:12 PM
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019 at 12:51 PM

    revmacian macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #35
    Umm.. no.. let me fix that for you..


    I feel you may not belong in this conversation either. The reason people here are picking apart your posts is due to your misunderstanding of the word "virus" and your using it interchangeably with the category of all programs regarded as malware. Many people in this thread have tried to make your misunderstanding apparent to you yet you continue to misunderstand. I fear your mind won't allow you to understand this because it would then have to deal with the possibility of being wrong.
     
  11. SoCalReviews, Jan 17, 2019 at 12:33 PM
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019 at 12:41 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #36
    You don't realize how ridiculous those comments are. I didn't post to be insulted by petty attacks over semantics. I posted to help others to be aware of the risks. I also didn't want to have to go into this much detail but since you brought up whether I should "belong" belong in this conversation I will now explain that I myself worked in the computer industry for decades as well. I used to work in tech support for major companies helping customers diagnose computer problems which included virus/malware removal (Windows systems). I would go on site to repair system hardware, software diagnosis and virus removal. I also worked for system manufacturers...in wholesale hardware sales for businesses and government contracts... and for a service provider for business level advanced internet technical support and online support. There you go... there's the truth. I didn't want to have to explain that much detail but there it is.
     
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #37
    It’s far more than semantics. Whether malware is a virus or trojan or other form of malware has a great effect on the defense required. A virus spreads without the user’s involvement or knowledge, so antivirus software is needed for protection. A trojan, on the other hand, can be avoided without requiring software, because the user has the option to not install it. Your posts indicate that you don’t understand that, so you, like other uninformed users, incorrectly use the terms “virus” and “malware” interchangeably.

    You haven’t seen a Mac virus blocked by an antivirus app. You may have seen a Windows virus blocked (which would have no effect on a Mac), but not a Mac virus. Again, you’re making false statements.

    Two problems with this statement. First, no one is saying Macs are safe from infections; only that they are safe from virus infections. Macs can be infected by other forms of malware, but all of them are easily avoided without antivirus apps and are relatively rare.

    The second problem is the foolish notion that a Mac user should install antivirus apps to protect Windows users. First, many Mac anti-malware apps, such as MalwareBytes don’t even scan for Windows malware. Also, if you really want to do your Windows friends a favor, encourage them to install their own antivirus software. That way they’re protected from malware from all sources, not just from files you may send them. Otherwise, you haven’t really helped them.

    Macs don’t get viruses. Period. That is not a myth, but a proven fact that neither you nor anyone else can prove otherwise. Macs CAN get viruses, but there are none to get, and never have been any in the past 17 years since OS X was introduced.

    Macs can get other forms of malware, but it’s rare, and users can avoid all malware by practicing safe computing. Your two friends may be great network administrators, but that doesn’t mean they understand even basics about the Mac malware environment and by the fact that they didn’t practice safe computing to avoid infections to begin with.

    If you really want to warn fellow Mac users with a balanced and accurate response, you should tell them the following.

    Macs are not immune to malware and no system is 100% secure, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on macOS, and there never have been any since it was released over 17 years ago. Be clear about this: Macs CAN get viruses, but they DON’T, because no true macOS virus exists in the wild. Understand that a virus is just one particular type of malware (malicious software) that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. There has never been a macOS virus in the wild, but there are other types of malware.

    Other forms of macOS malware (Trojans, worms, rootkits, etc.) in the wild can ALL be avoided by practicing safe computing, without requiring any antivirus or anti-malware apps to be installed.

    Practicing safe computing means using common sense and staying informed.

    Keep macOS and your apps updated at all times. Many of these updates include patches to vulnerabilities that can prevent attacks. If you have outdated software, your system may be more vulnerable.

    Be careful about what you install on your Mac.
    • Don’t install pirated software, from bit torrent sites or any other source.
    • Don’t install anything without investigating to make sure that the app and the site you download it from have good reputations. Asking in this forum is a great way to learn what is safe and what isn’t.
    • Do install apps from the Mac App Store.
    • Do install apps directly from developer sites that have a good reputation.
    • Pay attention when installing apps, to make sure you install only the app that you want, and not any unwanted add-on apps that may be bundled with it. If you need help, ask for it.
    • Don’t let anyone else have access to your computer, and especially don’t let anyone else install something without your permission.
    Use common sense when surfing the Internet. If you’re unsure about anything, ask in this forum or ask someone you know who is informed and experienced.
    • Be extremely careful anytime you are asked for any password or any personal information, including your name, phone number or email address. Make sure you only enter that kind of information in an app or website that you are certain that you can trust.
    • Install and use a reputable and effective ad blocker on your web browser
    • Avoid shady websites, especially any that try to get you to download anything to install, such as a codec to enable your system to play a video.
    • Only update your apps from within the app itself or from the Mac App Store.
    • If you are surfing the web and see a message pop-up or receive an email saying that you need to install or update anything, be very suspicious and do not allow it. For example, if a site tells you that your Adobe Flash is outdated, do not update it from that site. Instead, go directly to the Adobe site to install the update.
    • The same holds true for pop-up messages that tell you that your Mac is infected with viruses or malware. These are lies. No website can scan your Mac to find malware. These are all attempts to get you to buy something or install something that you shouldn’t. Don’t do it.
    Adware is software designed to generate and display online advertisements on your computer. While not true malware, adware is usually unwanted and a nuisance, but it can easily be avoided by practicing safe computing (see above).

    Antivirus and anti-malware apps are not required to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as a user practices safe computing. Some antivirus apps have themselves been used to introduce malware to Macs, so they can increase vulnerability. Many who have relied on antivirus apps and did not practice safe computing have had their systems compromised by threats that their antivirus app did not detect. No antivirus or anti-malware app has a 100% detection rate, but since Mac OS X (macOS) was introduced, practicing safe computing has effectively defended against 100% of macOS malware in the wild.

    If you haven’t been practicing safe computing and you want to check your system for any malware you may have allowed to be introduced, use MalwareBytes to scan your system. It’s free and doesn’t need to be continuously running. Just scan once and practice safe computing from this point forward.

    In general, macOS malware is so relatively rare, that only a very small percentage of Mac users have ever encountered any.

    If you really want to help your friends who use Windows, encourage them to install their own antivirus software, so they're protected from all potential sources of malware, not just from files you send them from your Mac.
     
  13. SoCalReviews, Jan 18, 2019 at 9:12 AM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 10:54 AM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #38
    You put a lot of information in your post. I appreciate that and as with your other post I agree with much of what you said. I highlighted and underlined the parts that I don't agree with or that I have a problem with conceptually.

    These are normal Mac user "talking points". I have recommended Macs to friends and family using similar talking points in the past. For the most part MacOS is probably one of the safest platforms especially when properly configured. It's one of the big reasons I use Macs. The problem is with statements, talking points and data quotes is that they don't always represent the real world experiences of Mac users.

    If Mac OSX/MacOS infections are as rare as you say they are....WHY do I personally know four people who have had serious infections on their Macs within the last four years? Two of them were long time Unix, Linux, Windows system professionals. This doesn't equate with your statements about the rarity of Mac infections which from my point of view seems to invalidate not only your statements but it brings into serious question the entire "Macs are safe" argument.

    The other issue I mentioned was regarding the vulnerability of Windows VMs, transferring files to Windows computers and Macs using MS Office applications which are the most popular applications used on the Mac platform. If you use multiple platforms in a company or business then NOT using an antivirus software on your Mac that protects the rest of your network from infections that can pass through the Macs to the other systems... could be a very costly experience.

    I don't know what your past experience is in the computer industry of if it has ever been your profession. The days of relying on single platform security ended a long time ago with with the rise of TCP/IP networking and the Internet. My perspective is not an end user perspective backed with feel good Mac user talking points posted in a Mac enthusiast forum. It is a professional perspective dealing with real world cross platform system security.
     
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #39
    You underlined the statement that Macs can get viruses, but they don't, since no viruses exist in the wild. If you disagree with this statement, simply post the name of ONE virus in the wild that can infect macOS. Just one. Otherwise, you have no basis on which to challenge the fact that Macs don't get viruses.
    As an example of the rarity of Mac malware, the Flashback trojan that received much media attention back in 2011 affected an estimated 600,000 Macs, which is 0.75% of the estimated 80 million Macs in use at the time. That means that 79.4 million of the 80 million (99.25%) did NOT encounter the Flashback malware. Flashback had a higher penetration rate than most Mac malware, so most Mac malware is even more rare. The other challenge is that many people refer to adware as malware, which is not accurate. Adware is a nuisance and a PUP (potentially unwanted program), but it does not create problems like trojans or worms or other true malware. Adware is easily avoidable with an ad blocker.
    You cannot create Windows malware on a Mac, so the source of Windows malware is Windows systems. If you have malware on your network, it originated from Windows computers, not Macs. If you properly protect Windows systems on your network with antivirus software, there is no need for Macs to run anti-malware software.
    I was managing, enhancing and optimizing operating systems on mainframe computers when Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were still in high school, and I've been deeply involved in the industry since then, including owning hardware and software companies. I never claim to be an expert or to know it all, but needless to say, I know what I'm talking about.
     
  15. SoCalReviews, Jan 18, 2019 at 12:24 PM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 12:59 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #40
    What about what I posted are you disagreeing with?

    1) Semantics : Meaning of the word Antivirus

    How many times do I need to explain what I mean and what I meant? When I reference Antivirus software I am referencing software that protects against general infections that can access a system in different ways... browser, email, input related devices, memory devices, flash drives, network devices, etc.. I said this in my first posts and I have been saying this in almost every post when you and others keep trying to knit pick among sub sets of infections, malware, trojans, ransomeware, etc... I am not talking about specifics. When a Mac stops working due to an infection of any type it's bad. Of course I know the differences but I have not been defining the types infections. For the sake of argument I don't care nor do most people.

    Yes it can be important to differentiate but in the general conversation it doesn't matter if a virus, malware or trojan takes down your Mac. I didn't have time or details to get into the specifics of these infections because I didn't have the opportunity to diagnose them. I would have but they didn't happen to any of my Mac systems which do have Mac Antivirus protection which protects against most of these different forms of infections.


    2) The FACT that I have friends in the industry who recently had their Macs infected.

    I'll even use the word "infected" to avoid another semantics argument. You can simply tell me you don't believe this. That's fine. Just say this instead of arguing about how Macs rarely get viruses. You and others in the "Macs never get viruses"..."never get infected" fan club could have saved a lot of time making repetitive and absurd posts that seemed to try to generate a fake argument and a trolling debate.
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #41
    You're shifted the discussion away from your false statements. We were not discussing the definition of "antivirus", but rather the definition of "virus" as it relates to malware. You have made statements about Mac viruses, which simply do not exist. You haven't been able to prove otherwise, by naming just one macOS virus that has ever existed in the wild.
    It's not nitpicking or semantics, as I explained in an earlier post. A virus is a very specific type of malware with specific characteristics, and requires a specific type of protection. It is false and inaccurate to lump all malware under the umbrella term "viruses". The umbrella term is "malware", which includes viruses, trojans, worms, etc.
    Please name the malware that supposedly caused a Mac to stop working.
    Yes, it does matter. A trojan is avoidable by prudent user action. A virus is not. Therefore, antivirus software is required to protect against viruses, but trojans can easily be avoided without antivirus or anti-malware software. That is the primary reason that the distinction and using accurate terms is necessary.
    That is meaningless without specific information about what the infections were and how they were infected. They could have been incorrectly classifying simple adware as malware.
     
  17. SoCalReviews, Jan 18, 2019 at 1:08 PM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 1:38 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #42
    Wow! Just Wow! I'm surprised you didn't go back to debate the definition of what a "FACT" is. o_O
     
  18. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #43
    fact
    /fakt/
    noun
    1. a thing that is known or proved to be true.
    You haven't proven the existence of any Mac virus, which you can't since there are none; only other forms of malware. You haven't proven that the "infections" that your friends experienced were from malware or simply adware. You haven't proven that any Mac "stopped working" as a result of malware. You haven't proven anything. I have posted documented facts, such as the fact that there are no Mac viruses in the wild, that the Flashback trojan, as pervasive as it was, only affected less than 1% of Macs, that all Mac malware can be avoided without the use of anti-malware apps, etc. You haven't even attempted to refute these facts with any documentation of your own, but have only relied on anecdotes from a few friends. It's a bit one-sided to be truly classified as a debate.
     
  19. SoCalReviews, Jan 18, 2019 at 1:51 PM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 2:04 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #44
    I love philosophy. :)
     
  20. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #45
    Sadly, philosophy won't help you when it comes to the facts about Mac malware.
     
  21. SoCalReviews, Jan 18, 2019 at 2:55 PM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 3:04 PM

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #46
    That's quite a bold statement you are making since science is based on philosophy and philosophy is based on logic and information.

    Regarding your "facts about malware"...

    What facts have you proven?

    Since you provided the definition of what a FACT is then if we play by the definition of FACT you posted not only can't you provide any malware facts but you can't even prove to me that you exist. This rabbit hole you are digging goes deeper with every post you make. Are you sure you just don't want to settle for Reference #2 ...just admit you don't believe my original statement that my friend's Macs got infected? It would made it a lot easier on everyone if you just made that statement so we could move on.
     
  22. GGJstudios, Jan 18, 2019 at 3:08 PM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 3:14 PM

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #47
    This is your first statement in your first post in this thread, which is false:
    The fact is that Macs don't get viruses, because none exist. That is not a myth. You began your participation in this thread with a lie and you have failed to prove otherwise.

    You claim an infection required a complete reinstall of Mac OS, but you fail to prove that statement with any facts, such as the name of the malware. Your friend may have, indeed, reinstalled macOS, but that doesn't mean it was required. It sounds like they simply didn't know the proper way to remove whatever malware they may have gotten, and it is a fact that any malware that may have caused an infection was not a virus, but some other form of malware or adware.

    No macOS virus has ever existed in the wild. Prove otherwise by naming one.
    Mac malware is relatively rare, with less than 1% of Macs in use being affected by one of the most prolific examples of Mac malware.
    You have failed to provide a shred of evidence of your claims.
     
  23. Cyprusian macrumors newbie

    Cyprusian

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    #48
    The majority view in this thread, as well as others on the same topic, appears to be that MacOS is so secure it doesn't suffer from the diverse malware afflictions that affect Microsoft Windows.

    There are many posts from Mac users stating they have happily used their Macs for years without any protection against malware, giving them assurance it's safe to assume additional protection tools are a waste of money on a Mac and could also be detrimental to performance or even system security.

    Perhaps this could also be like saying that someone who has driven for years without having an accident doesn't need vehicle insurance, or someone who has never been sick doesn't health insurance.......

    I perceive a risk in assuming that MacOS is bullet-proof and as its user base has grown exponentially over the years so its attraction has increased for those who would seek to use their advanced IT skills for malevolent purposes.

    Every Mac user will make their own judgement call on their perception of the likelihood of the risk, but I suggest that this is a personal decision rather than a one-fits-all policy for everyone.
     
  24. flowrider macrumors 603

    flowrider

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    #49
    ^^^^And, finally, someone posted with a positive response that actually makes sense thumbsup.gif

    Lou
     
  25. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #50
    Well, the market share angle has been debunked countless times. I could produce links to back this up, but someone else who the sources readily at hand can provide the proof.

    I don't think that any wise Mac user is just blindly doing nothing to protect their computer. Rather, wise practices are used to avoid the malware that can be encountered, as has been stated above multiple times.

    The analogy is not quite on target. Most of us are required to have auto insurance. I've probably paid more for that over the years than the cost of repairing my vehicles for things my insurance would have covered. Health insurance is wise because we know our bodies will break down.

    So, be smart, and your Mac will be safe - for now. Anti-virus software is needed for known viruses. The software contains virus definitions that recognize an invading virus and then stops it from infecting the computer. Thus, such software is useless if there are no virus definitions to put in it, which is the state of the Mac universe at the present time.

    There are other reasons that creating a virus that affects the Mac are more difficult. The resident geniuses will have to explain that further, as I have not committed them to memory. It has nothing to do with how many Macs have been sold.
     

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