Do I Really Not Need Any Security Software On My Macbook?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by DavidLeigh, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. DavidLeigh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    #1
    Hi All,

    I know there's this thing about Macs being less prone to viruses and yes i know i know this is only because less viruses are designed for Macs. Maybe i'm not really talking about viruses but malware adware and pop-ups that might mess-up my mac. Do i not need any software for them. When i'm browsing and maybe downloading i will inevitably come across some less clean and savory sites. Do i not need to be concerned with them at all? Seems a bit odd that i needed to have all these safety precautions on windows with firewalls and adware programs ad nauseum and now not have to worry about anything!

    Cheers,
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    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 10.6 and later versions 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.

    If you still want to run antivirus for some reason, ClamXav (which is free) is one of the best choices, since it isn't a resource hog, detects both Mac and Windows malware and doesn't run with elevated privileges.
     
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Do NOT install MacKeeper! VERY bad idea! This app has a horrible reputation and is, for the most part, useless. You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Some remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

    These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. Some of these apps delete caches, which can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

    Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.

     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    Actually, I've come to believe that the best "security software" for a Mac laptop is an app that can help if the computer is physically stolen, by identifying its location and snapping pics of the thief "on the sly".

    Something like "Under Cover"...
    (disclaimer: I have no financial interest in the app above)

    Like disaster insurance, it's a product you hope you never need, and once installed won't think about -- until you actually -do- need the services it provides...
     
  5. DavidLeigh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    #6
    Thanks for the responses.

    Ok, i'm going to sound like a 10 year old who doesn't even know how to use windows! :)

    I just went on a site. It was one of those that would instantly throw up a pop up ad. When you try to close it, it will throw up another popup. If it doesn't have a cross you can hit, then you will have to hit ok here or there. Maybe a silly thing to do and how i got into trouble in the past. My old laptop was an 8 year old banger of a machine. I had a third party firewall and software like adaware just for my peace of mind. In all honesty i couldn't really care less if i downloaded something bad on it from browsing, so long as i could still use it. I just realised that this probably isn't such a good idea on my brand new $2000 macbook! But i just did. Should i be concerned that there's now some rubbish on my machine?

    I might add, i recently ran into some trouble using my office laptop as well. This is a much newer HP machine. I was searching for a comedy clip which i couldn't find on youtube and used googles video searching (surprisingly unsafe thing to do). Well a site I ended up clicking on seriously messed up internet explorer (an ad window popped up every 5 seconds!) and i had to run a full scan and update my security software. Going by what many of you said, that isn't something I'd do for my mac. Is that the case?
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    Get a good ad-blocker and you won't have to deal with those. I run several ad-blockers. ClickToFlash, Safari AdBlock, GlimmerBlocker and JavaScript Blacklist are just a few.
    No. Just follow the tips I posted and you can surf without worries.
     
  7. Alameda macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    #8
    First, if you have a problem like that in the future, you can press command-option-esc to display the Force Quit dialog box. With this, you can kill the browser.

    I run a free anti-virus program from Symantec called iAntiVirus, which is available in the AppStore. It is an on-demand virus scanner. That is to say, you have to launch it and tell it to scan. It doesn't run in the background, so it won't slow your computer or interfere with it. If you're concerned that you may have a virus or malware, download it from the App Store and have it scan your entire hard disk.
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    iAntiVirus has a bogus malware definitions list, making their detection accuracy untrustworthy. They also make inaccurate claims about the existence of Mac malware, in order to hype the need for their product. This post will give details.
     
  9. DavidLeigh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    #10
    Hi again.

    I did install clamxav as i thought better have something than not...kind of needed to learn to install stuff anyway. I ran the scan thinking i won't find anything. It didn't but it did say there are 2 errors. Any ideas why it would say this?
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #11
    It gives you details about what it found. What does it say?
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
  12. DavidLeigh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    #13
    It says it found 2 errors....the stuff above it are details of scan that's difficult to read and understand. I googled this and some said sometimes clamxav is unable to access certain files and just returns them as errors. I was wondering if you know about this.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    Unless it says it found malware, I wouldn't worry. Also, be aware that ClamXav scans for both Mac OS X and Windows malware. It's far more likely to find Windows malware, which cannot affect your Mac in any way.
     
  14. Alameda macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    #15
    I trust you, but in that thread, the guy with the problem was advised that iAntiVirus was no good, yet he explained that it clearly cleaned up his infection.

    Is there a good on-demand scanner for Mac?
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #16
    Read the last part of post #2 in this thread.
     
  16. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #17
    I use Intego Virus Barrier. I share files frequently with windows machines and Virusbarrier sweeps my system looking for Mac and Windows viruses. (they also have a neat bundle where you can get Virus barrier with a copy of Panda Antivirus for windows too)

    ALso if you're really paranoid, you can get an app called Little Snitch that basically creates a reverse firewall and alerts you whenever an app or anythong tries 'phoning home' from your mac.
     
  17. SpyderBite macrumors 65816

    SpyderBite

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    Location:
    Xanadu
    #18
    The most effective Anti-virus, anti-malware tool is called Common Sense. If even a 10th of the computer users possessed it; malicious software of any kind wouldn't be as much of an issue as it is today
     
  18. Futhark macrumors 65816

    Futhark

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #19
    Elaborate
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #20
    You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Some remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

    These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. Some of these apps delete caches, which can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

    Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.

     

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