Can a Virus or Spyware Exist on a Mac?? What if I use Parallels or Windows VPS?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by VideoNewbie, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. VideoNewbie macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009
    are macs susceptible to any kind of virus or spyware if i were to bring in the element of using a program like Parallels (recreates windows environment to run windows oriented files like .exes) or a Windows VPS?

    which would be the 100% safest option in protecting myself if i were to run a custom .EXE file from my MAC....

    running it thru a windows vps?
    or running it thru a virtual pc program like Parallels?

    would i still need to install any kind of spyware, virus software if i were to run it in parallels?
  2. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    GGJ Replies to this in 3...2....1.... ;)

    Search the forums for this question, it has been asked hundreds of times, and answered as well.

    For OSX, no Viruses in the wild right now, but there are Trojans / Malware that DO exist.

    For Windows environment - running via Parallels or VMWare that operating system will run just like any other - so protect yourself as you normally would with those OS's.

    You can safely run a virtual machine "sand-boxed" - I've tested suspect software by cloning my VM, disabling all file sharing and networking - and then testing the suspect software. If you do find out something is dirty - just wipe that clone, and that's that.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    No Windows virus or malware can infect a Mac, even from a Windows partition
    However, if you run Windows through Bootcamp or a virtualization program (Parallels), it will need protection just like any Windows computer needs
    I would recommend MS Security Essentials since it is free, but there are others

    If you are concerned about your Mac carrying or transmitting a Windows viruses or malware, you can run ClamXav to scan for Windows viruses and malware
  4. VideoNewbie, Jul 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012

    VideoNewbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009
    as it stands it looks like i have 3 modes of protection

    -anti virus/spyware software
    -little snitch

    do i need to use all 3 of these? or..? im a bit confused on when and how i would use these 3 options

    regarding little snitch...
    i was reading on this forum on how to use little snitch with parallels:
    [INFO] Parallels Desktop - How to block it from calling home [ Codez4Mac ]
    but i havent a clue what they are talking about - replacing host files.... this = that? i mean what do i even do with that info. Is it too late to use little snitch if i already have parallels up and running? for some reason it seems like these instructions are for people who have not yet installed parallels
  5. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Little Snitch (to the best of my knowledge) will prevent / alert you if something unauthorized attempts to access the Internet. Honestly not sure how well it would work with a VM, as I've never used it myself.

    Sandbox - area isolated from the surrounding environment, like how a sandbox keeps the sand from spreading into yard around it. Running a virtual machine like this keeps activity within that VM, and prevents it from spilling into the parent operating system. Hence sandboxed. This is providing you limited permissions / access before running suspect software. (no file sharing, USB device sharing, net access, remote executables within host operating system). FYI all those options you would configure within Parallels or VMWare themselves.
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Windows programs, including malware, cannot run on or infect Mac OS X. If you're running Windows, either in Boot Camp or Parallels, you'll need antivirus protection for the Windows installation.

    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 10 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). Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
    1. Make sure your built-in Mac firewall is enabled in System Preferences > Security > Firewall

    2. Uncheck "Open "safe" files after downloading" in Safari > Preferences > General

    3. Disable Java in your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). This will protect you from malware that exploits Java in your browser, including the recent Flashback trojan. Leave Java disabled until you visit a trusted site that requires it, then re-enable only for the duration of your visit to that site. (This is not to be confused with JavaScript, which you should leave enabled.)

    4. Change your DNS servers to OpenDNS servers by reading this.

    5. Be careful to only install software from trusted, reputable sites. Never install pirated software. If you're not sure about an app, ask in this forum before installing.

    6. Never let someone else have access to install anything on your Mac.

    7. Don't open files that you receive from unknown or untrusted sources.

    8. For added security, make sure all network, email, financial and other important passwords are long and complex, including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

    9. Always keep your Mac and application software updated. Use Software Update for your Mac software. For other software, it's safer to get updates from the developer's site or from the menu item "Check for updates", rather than installing from any notification window that pops up while you're surfing the web.
    That's all you need to do to keep your Mac completely free of any Mac OS X malware that has ever been released into the wild. While you may elect to use it, 3rd party antivirus software is not required to keep your Mac malware-free.

Share This Page