Do Macs need anti virus?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by beany boy, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. beany boy macrumors 6502

    beany boy

    Jun 21, 2010
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I know this question has probaly been asked many times before. Since I can't find any threads I figured I would ask it again. Thanks in advance for your answers.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you search the forum for "virus" you will find about a thousand threads on this.

    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.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    No computer needs it

    If you are careful about what you download and from where then it is almost impossible to get a virus. Ther are no virually viruses out there for macs either. However Spyware and malware and other such nonsense is 2 a penny.

    I have avast on my macbook pro and it's great for shielding you from dodgy sites, blocking malware and spyware and giving peace of mind, it's also free. I have run the antivirus scan a few times in the last year or so and never found anything.

    I can't see any good reason not to have it, it is unobtrusive and doesn't use much in the way of resources.
  4. scaredpoet, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    This guide does a pretty good job of describing the situation:

    Bottom line: There are a few bits of malware out there, but by and large, OS X's built-in defenses do a pretty good job of protecting against them. For anything new, I highly doubt most AV products will catch up any sooner than Apple's own mechanisms would.

    The few things out there that might be a threat are those which trick the un-savvy user into escalating admin privileges to install them. At that point though, even antivirus software won't protect you. If the user is handing over the keys to the castle, there's not much else that can be done, really.

    So, unless you KNOW you're going to be dealing with lots of potentially virus-laden files, it's probably not worth it. Most AV programs are resource hogs, and the performance hit you take from running them is often not worth what little protection they provide.

    If you do want to install Antivirus software though, I'd recommend ClamXAV. It's open source, and useful for scanning suspicious files you might encounter. And it runs when you tell it to, so the resource cost is minimal.

    As an aside: Definitely avoid installing snake oil software that claims to "improve performance" on your Mac. Mac Keeper is the most controversial of these. At best, they do nothing you could've done yourself for free. At worst, some of them may actually install adware, spyware or malware.

    Memory cleaners are also something you should be suspect about, as OS X (starting with Mavericks) does its own pretty good RAM management. And the "full memory" these programs claim to clear out is really the point of that memory management: OS X fills up your RAM with caching and other useful data to make the system run faster... making you get your money's worth out of your memory. Actively clearing that out all the time only works against the OS.
  5. BackTwoMac macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2012
    Mac Keeper/JW Player

    How do I get rid of this nonsense bloatware? I declined installation and it's magically here, causing ridiculous popups and beachballs. I downloaded ClamXav and it said the drive is clean.

    I can do a Time Machine restore. Would you advise that? Or is there a way to get rid of this nonsense? Really annoying. Thank you.

  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you didn't install it, it could be simply pop-up ads on websites, which you can usually block with an adblocker extension.

    Remove unwanted adware that displays pop-up ads and graphics on your Mac
    Adware can be removed by using this tool: AdwareMedic

    If you actually installed MacKeeper, the most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:
  7. BackTwoMac macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2012
    Just used Adware prior to coming here. I did a complete reinstall yesterday. And it was great. Then this morning there was so Flip Mail? garbage. What is going on. Adware Medica knocked it out. Thank you very much.
  8. crashoverride77 macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2014
    The short answer is no. I used to be a long time windows user and since changing to Macs 4-5 years ago I had a total of 0 viruses.
    I don't recommend buying a fully fledged program with real time protection, it's a waste. Just install a scanner only app like clamCav and adware medic, both which are awesome. ClamCav is on the App Store and adware medic you can get from the website. Than run them like once every 6 months or if you want to scan for a specific file you got.

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7 March 13, 2015