Bought my first Mac in 30 years, why is Genius telling me to get anti-virus software?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by arrowtree, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. arrowtree macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    #1
    I bought my first Mac in 30 years. (technically, my previous Apple computer was the Apple II back in 1983?) I have not touched or looked at a Mac in 30 years, so I have absolutely no idea what it does or how to use it. Not yet anyway. My MBA is arriving next week. In case anyone is wondering, I escaped from Windows after 30 years because Windows 8 finally broke the camel's back. I was happy as a clam until I started using Windows 8 earlier this year. It has cost me hours of pain and suffering and anger towards Microsoft.

    I was chatting with the Apple Store Genius guy waiting for another employee to complete my purchase, he told me that I should buy anti-virus software once I start using my new MBA. He suggested Norton Anti-Virus or Internet Security. He said criminals didn't target Macs, but random people could. (i.e. bored college kids doing it just to see if it could be done)

    Call me confused, but i was under the impression that Macs do NOT need any anti-virus software?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Remember, "Genius" is their job title, and not necessarily an indication of their intelligence, education, knowledge or experience. They are frequently mistaken, as in this case.

    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.

    When the MR Guides are back online, read the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ. Until the MR Guides are available, you can read most of the same info in the Mac Virus/Malware Info post, on which the FAQ is based.
     
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #3
    I would never ever install anything from Norton on a Mac.
    You don't need anti-virus; you need to practice safe computing.
     
  4. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #4
    I switched to Macs back in 2006. Not a single malware or virus in these 8 years. My friends with Windows get problems consistently.

    Don't worry about viruses - just practice safe computing, and you're fine.
     
  5. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 30, 2013
    #5

    does "safe computing" mean I should never visit porn sites on my new Macbook Air? :( :D
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    Read the links I posted for tips on safe computing.
     
  7. Jimbo47 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2010
    #7
    I've never had a problem on my 2012 Air. I always got viruses on my Windows, and everybody I know does. Don't even bother.
     
  8. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #8
    My old trusty 2006 macbook is my porn machine. I've never had a problem no matter how crazy the sites I've gone to. Although it's possible to be bitten, it's 1000 times less possible than on windows. I would never try what I do on a windows pc.
     
  9. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    #9
    I have four 2TB external hard drives filled with everything that I've ever
    used on my Windows PCs over the last 20 years. When I say "everything"
    I meant EVERYTHING! :)

    They include:

    1. 5TB from 30 years of family 8mm movies converted to digital video

    2. every CD I've ever bought and ripped, random MP3s from as far back as 1996,

    3. 98,682+ of photos(news, family, friends, work,school, and yes, even porn)

    4. every document that I've ever created on PCs... around 13,000 *.doc/*txt/*.docx files

    5. every email(dating back to 1994), at last check 21,000+ of *.eml files

    6. recovery files for all PCs in my home

    7. all the software programs, paid, free, adware, etc, that I've ever installed on any PC(about 1200+)

    8. too much other junk than I can possibly list here

    Perhaps I should run a couple of deep virus/trojan/malware scans on these
    four 2TB external hard driver before attempting to connect any of them to
    the new Macbok Air?
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #10
    Not needed. Even if the drive was loaded with Windows malware, it would have no effect on OS X. No Windows malware can execute in or affect OS X.
     
  11. Ccrew macrumors 68020

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    Feb 28, 2011
    #11
    Can if it's a Java exploit.
     
  12. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #12
    That's why every Mac users using Java sound open System Preferences-: Java pane and uncheck use in browser.
     
  13. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #13
    Hope you have some redundancy built into your array, not for viruses/malware but in case of hardware failure.
     
  14. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    #14
    Every file on those 2TB hard drives is has 3 other back-up copies.
    One on Blu-ray data discs, one on another identical hard drive, and
    I'm working on uploading all of them to a cloud back-up server.
    (takes a lot of time to up and cost $, so I'm only uploading the important
    ones)
     
  15. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #15
    Well, I don't think putting a dust cover over it will help. ;)
     
  16. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #16
    Should. But most won't.

    Sorry, I work IT in a larger enterprise. The larger proportionate number of users that use Mac's I'd say are less computer literate than a box of rocks but that would be insulting the rocks.
     
  17. arrowtree thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 30, 2013
    #17
    if Java is disabled in the browser, how does on access websites that require Java? (such as my bank and my car financing acct payment page)
     
  18. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #18
    I'm a little late to the thread, but as soon as I read the title, this was going to be my response. GGJ sums it up nicely.
     
  19. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #19
    Update to Safari 7 then you do not need to turn off Java entirely. You can manage it on a site by site basis. Go to Safari prefs and in the Security pane click Manage Website Settings... and you will get the screen below. I have it set to ask at each site before allowing a Java process to run. So for example if you allow a Java process to run at your bank's web site it would add it to the list of allowed sites like the ispgeeks.com entry in my example.

    Ccrew's earlier comment is correct though. Malware run in Java is cross platform (Windows and Mac), so you should be careful about allowing Java proceses to run from web sites that might be shady.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #20
    I just wanted to point out that Safari 6 also has that capability. I just tried it on Safari 6.0.5, and it's a button next to the "Enable Java" checkbox (Preferences window, Security pane). If the checkbox is off, the button is disabled (dim); if the checkbox is on, the button is live. Press the live button and a sheet drops down with a list of allowed websites/domains.
     
  21. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #21
    I remember that being there, but I don't recall the per site or overall block vs. ask dropdowns like on v7. Can you confirm? For example in my screenshot, in 6 would there be that dropdown list next to ispgeeks.com?
     
  22. benji888 macrumors 68000

    benji888

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #22
    The only reason for anti-virus software is if you run windows on your Mac, which is possible two ways: get an emulator that runs windows within a window in Mac OS X. Install windows on a separate partition or drive, you can boot into windows when you want and then shut down and boot into OS X when you want. This is the only reason they might have anti-virus software at the Apple Store. ...oh, and if you regularly transfer files between your mac and windows computers, you don't want to send something that is infected to a vulnerable machine, even though it won't affect your Mac. This could happen if you receive a windows file that was infected, it doesn't affect your Mac, but the code is still there, send it to another windows user and it could infect their win machine. But, it sounds like you are switching and ditching windows, so, this is not really an issue for you.

    I've been using Macs since 1998, there was one virus I can think of in all those years, and that was probably around '99-'01, and prevented from working in an update. In fact, I'm not 100% sure, but I think it was with Mac OS 8 or 9, not OS X.

    As far as security, I think the others are posting great suggestions. And Apple does regular security updates for OS X, for any vulnerabilities exposed by mentioned bored students. But, OS X is the most secure consumer OS available.

    Enjoy your new Mac! :)
     
  23. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #23
    Well, you can be 100% sure is wasn't for OS X.
     

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