IMac OS Question

stockcerts

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 29, 2007
1,278
14
San Francisco, CA
I am the happy new owner of a 20" IMac. I'm also new to the Mac world and I have a question. This may belong in another forum, but I've been hanging out here, so here goes.

With PC's it's a given that you run virus software and software to remove spyware. Is this necessary on my Mac? Thanks!
 

psychofreak

Retired
May 16, 2006
9,077
4
London
swiftaw is correct, however there are anti-virus apps for Macs; they scan your files for viruses so you don't pass infected files on to unprotected Windows PCs. If you want one of these, I have no recommendation except to stay away from Norton :)
 

flopticalcube

macrumors G4
The only case where anti-Virus software is necessary is if you have a PC somewhere and you don't want to spread a virus by passing an infected file from the Mac. If you run Windows on your Mac, either via bootcamp or through Parallels/VMware Fusion, you will need anti-virus on that.
 

AlexisV

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2007
1,602
95
Manchester, UK
To be honest, most viruses install themselves on your PC when you visit certain websites.

Few viruses are standalone files and even then you'd have to make the effort to send it across, and have to have a pretty silly friend on the other end to open it.
 

plinden

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2004
3,969
3
The only case where anti-Virus software is necessary is if you have a PC somewhere and you don't want to spread a virus by passing an infected file from the Mac.
In that case, it's better to have antivirus software on the PC ... you're far more likely to get a virus from some other source than from some file on a Mac.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
In that case, it's better to have antivirus software on the PC ... you're far more likely to get a virus from some other source than from some file on a Mac.
Also, again the logic here is that files entering a Windows PC from a Mac are like files entering a Windows PC from anywhere else. Either the PC will successfully detect and stop them or it won't. If your ecosystem is bringing in PC viruses that PC AV cannot stop, then you aren't solving this problem just by trying to find them on your Macs (which probably also won't be able to stop them), because a user on a PC could just as easily bring the same virus in doing the same thing you're doing. There's no differential safety in doing AV for PC viruses on your Mac.

Not to mention that really, the only way for transmission to begin with is if you download an infected file and then give it to a PC user. Your Word documents or the PDFs or whatever you generate can't get viruses on them because none of the viruses replicate on a Mac and they're newly created files.

I keep ClamXAV (anti-virus) on my computer because it's free and it's always there if I need it. But I rarely use it. It's not bad, though, and it's frequently updated, and if it gives you peace of mind, by all means, use it. It's good at least in terms of principled support for the OSS community. :)

I keep MacScan (supposed anti-spyware) on my computer because I installed it on a whim when we were curious to see what it might detect, and I only keep it on my computer because I'm too lazy to get rid of its worthless carcass.
 

stuff99

macrumors 6502
May 11, 2007
390
0
isn't it safe to say that if apple continues to grow in popularity viruses will be coded to attack the mac os as well?
 

vanmacguy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2007
587
0
Not where you live.
isn't it safe to say that if apple continues to grow in popularity viruses will be coded to attack the mac os as well?
It is safe to say that yes. Eventually we will be targets. The Mac being built on a Unix core is less prone to viruses than non-Unix based machines but to say that there will never be a Mac virus is silly.

They will come eventually but for now and the foreseeable future, you're very safe with no A-V on your Mac.

Welcome to our wonderful world and congratulation on your Mac purchase.