Do I need anti-virus while using Parallels on my Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by croooow, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. croooow macrumors 65816

    croooow

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    #1
    I got Parallels for Christmas and loaded Windows on the virtual machine. Should I worry about Anti-Virus software on it? Will anything that Windows gets affect the Mac's OS? (I wouldn't think so)

    Thanks!
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    You can contract all the viruses in the world on your Windows VM and they will never affect OS/X. If you use a properly configured firewall, keep up to date on MS software updates and most of all, use common sense while using the Internet, email and Facebook etc... you don't even need AV on Windows.
     
  3. croooow thread starter macrumors 65816

    croooow

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    #3
    Thank you, that is what I was thinking. I've only loaded a few things in Windows, I want to try to use the Mac OS for as much as I can, the fewer things loaded in Windows the better!
     
  4. docal97 macrumors 6502a

    docal97

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    #4
    Windows computers are at risk of virus'. I am running parallels infrequently, but rarely to go on the web or to check email, only to run programs that i need to run in that environment. So for me, I don't have an AV program.

    But if you are going to use windows alot, I would certainly consider getting one, although, as mentioned, even if you do get a virus, it will not affect OSx.
     
  5. newdeal macrumors 68020

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    #5
    ...

    parrallels will allow the mac to run windows code. viruses are coded for windows which means parrallels will allow viruses to excecute. As others have said this won't really affect your mac but may affect your virtual machine. Would I run an antivirus on parrallels? Hell no. That would be bloated like mad I would just run it and not use it for much of anything so you don't have to worry about viruses. Also I would set it up in bootcamp, then point parrallels to your bootcamp partition rather than allowing parrallels to install it within your OSX partition. That way if you did get a virus you could boot into the windows partition with bootcamp and run your antivirus straight through windows instead of trying to do it through parrallels
     
  6. croooow thread starter macrumors 65816

    croooow

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    #6
    Like docal97, I won't be using windows for email or web. The Mac already does that very well. Windows is already setup for automatic updates so I should be good.:D
     
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #7
    I don't bother with AV software on any modern version of Windows. Microsoft has addressed so many of the security issues that existed in pre-Vista OS's, any claims Apple makes about 70,000 viruses etc. are pure marketing FUD. Sure there are 70,000 viruses for Windows, sure some of those viruses will trash your system, if you download and run them, giving UAC the okay. The biggest security flaw in any OS is the user. As it stands, as far as trashing a Windows system, without the user giving the okay (remote exploits), it's difficult.

    A regular home user, who has his wits about him, running Vista or 7 with Windows Firewall enabled, using a non IE browser, will be perfectly safe. Or should I say, it's very unlikely.
     
  8. sma1001 macrumors newbie

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    Jan 6, 2011
    #8
    Help out a newbie here. Is Parallels like running outlook and office on the Mac (something i was considering doing - mainly for the word applications)? If i am running that on the mac (likely through the Microsoft Academic download that gives outlook and office) do i need AV and a firewall and if so how do i go about installing those on the mac? Is that something that you need to do separately for the microsoft applications?
     
  9. alloucho macrumors member

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    #9
    i use windows frequently on parallels, but i never installed any AV. even if i get infected i revert to a previously taken clean snapshot.
     
  10. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #10
    You probably should have asked in a seperate thread but to answer your question Parallels is running a full version of windows in a Virtual Machine.

    And for the OP's question if you aren't doing much online from windows you don't need an Anti-Virus. even if you get a virus it won't affect your mac, just your windows install.
     
  11. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    #11
    This mostly correct, except for folks who give parallels full access to the mac disk. A windows virus could damage files on the OS x side in this situation.

    Cheers,
     
  12. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #12
    While that is true at least in theory, I have yet to hear of a single case where that has actually happened
     
  13. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    #13
    I haven't heard of any Windows virus for at least ten years now. Worms, yes. Trojans, yes. But no viruses. But I've heard of successfully deployed trojans for Mac OS X (e.g. in the illegal downloads of iWork 09). So nobody is safe just because Apple's marketing department told you that OS X does not catch viruses. No matter what platform you use, the greatest security risk still sits in front of the keyboard.

    To the OP: Install Microsoft Security Essentials in your VM. It's free of charge and as good as ESET NOD32 and you won't have to worry anymore.
     
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #14
    depends on the type of infection, and im positive that the right type would indeed damage your mac in some shape or form - except the windows virus probably attempts to attack the usual windows based directory names, but who knows. hard to tell.
     
  15. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #15
    I'm sure it could be done, but the virus would have to specifically target the mac side, and with how small of a market that is it would be easier for the hackers just to create an OS X virus. Ss of right now I think both of those ideas are just theoretical possibilities, so you don't need to protect from it right now.
     
  16. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #16
    sorry, but i disagree with that.

    there are infectious programs (virus is a specific set of infectious programs) that target mapped/networked drives and just attempt to delete everything on there aimlessly. in the virtualised environment this could be pretty hazardous - for most user files and whatnot anyway - i would hope that the virtualisation companies dont allow access to System files.
     
  17. croooow thread starter macrumors 65816

    croooow

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    #17
    snapshot? I will need to look into that feature of Parallels. I haven't done very much with Windows since I loaded it. Been sticking with OS X for all my tasks

    Thanks!
     
  18. panzer06, Jan 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011

    panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    #18
    I've cleaned family members old Windows computers of viruses several times in the past 6 months. That Windows crap is still out there and being inattentive (or reckless) in your browsing habits can still result in negative results.

    This is from VMware's website and would apply to Parallels as well. While we may not hear about these issues the possibility is still there and should be considered when setting up virtual Windows machines under VMware or Parallels.

    Excerpt from VMware Fusion FAQ

    Virtual machines are isolated from each other and don’t have access to the Mac by default. If you enable Mirrored Folders, there is the potential to expose your Mac’s documents, desktop, music and pictures folders to viruses.

    However, using anti-virus software for both your Mac and your Windows virtual machine is a best practice and VMware Fusion 3 includes a 12-month complementary subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus to help protect your Windows virtual machine to help avoid problems.

    If you don’t want to install Windows security software and are concerned about security, it is advisable to not enable read/write shared folders between your Windows guest virtual machine and the Mac. Read-only shared folders will not allow Windows to change or delete data on your Mac.

    Cheers,
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #19
    Even if full access is granted, you'd still have to install MacDrive, for Windows to be able to write to HFS+. The bottom line is that the only way this would work is with determined effort on the user's part to make it happen.
     
  20. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    #20
    Not true for VMware and Parallels. Full access functionality is built in. You are thinking of Bootcamp.

    Almost all the reps at work turn on full sharing because it's easier to share files between both OS with sharing on. Some even use the OS X document directory as their primary document store and give Windows full access. AV is installed on the Windows install.

    Cheers,
     
  21. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #21
    snapshots basically take the current state of the VM and "capture" it, so you can restore to it at a later case - for a "just incase i stuff it up completely" type thing :)

    unfortunately GGJ this is not true when virtualising.
     
  22. ancient macrumors newbie

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    Oct 13, 2010
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    United Kingdom
    #22
    Here is what I do to try to minimise risks:

    1) Turn off full disk sharing, and instead just share a single directory. Treat anything in this directory as suspect/deletable
    2) If you are running Sophos AV, create a custom scan for this directory, and run the scan periodically
    3) In Windows, do the following:
    a) Create a non-administrator account (limited user in XP), and use that for _everything_ except software installation
    b) Enable address space layout randomisation
    c) Enable DEP for all programs (you might get the odd program that crashes with this option, if so you can consider adding them to the
    exceptions list)
    d) Enable the firewall, and install MSE (assuming you are not a business with more than 10 PCs).
    e) Make sure you download all the security updates on "patch tuesday" every month
    f) Turn off the silly options that hide file extensions, so that you know *exactly* what type of file you are looking at (otherwise foo.bar.exe will be shown as foo.bar or even just foo)

    If you can manage without 16-bit app support, use the 64-bit version rather than the 32-bit version, as it should have a slightly lower risk.
     

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