Do Macs need anti virus

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by WillWest, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. WillWest macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2012
    Hey guys I'm new in the Mac world, I just got my first mac last week and I was wondering if I needed anti viruses...
  2. Sylon macrumors 68020


    Feb 26, 2012
    Michigan/Ohio, USA
    Macs are in no way impervious to viruses and malware. The malware that hit a couple months ago was a perfect example of that. However, they are not targeted like PC's are. While it does happen, its very rare that Macs get viruses/malware.

    Its completely up to you to get anti-virus. There are some options in the Mac App Store (MAS) and elsewhere if you would like better peace of mind. I have ClamXav from the MAS, its free. While other people will say what they use is better, this one has worked for me in the past. It gives me better peace of mind, although I rarely use it.

    Also, check to see if your Firewall is active, because its not by default. Might want to turn that bad boy on if you haven't already.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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.

    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. You can run scans when you choose, rather than leaving it running all the time, slowing your system. ClamXav has a Sentry feature which, if enabled, will use significant system resources to constantly scan. Disable the Sentry feature. You don't need it. Also, when you first install ClamXav, as with many antivirus apps, it may perform an initial full system scan, which will consume resources. Once the initial scan is complete, periodic on-demand scans will have much lower demands on resources.
  4. WillWest thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2012
  5. MeetJoe macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2012

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