Is there a strandard anti virus mac users should have?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Alienworkshoper, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Alienworkshoper macrumors member

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    #1
    Regardless of how vulnerable to malware you think or don't think macs are...

    is there a must have or a best anti virus for macs?
     
  2. ZenErik macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Simply put... No. There is no "must have" anti-virus for the ZERO viruses in the wild for 10.5 and 10.6.
     
  3. Fubar1977 macrumors 6502a

    Fubar1977

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    #4
    Not at present but as the Mac gains popularity it may well become a necessity in the future.
    At the moment there is little point in writing a virus that will only affect, at best, 10% or so of computer users.
    Trojans are out there though, so be careful what you give permission to install.
     
  4. sydenham macrumors regular

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    #5
    So there would be a point if it would affect more than 10%? I never get this.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

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    Think about it. Which would you choose, 10% market or 90% market? A virus is just like any other software, you want to gain something by doing it, usually money. Making it compatible with 90% market gives you much higher "popularity" than making it for 10% market.

    Another thing is that OS X is much less known than Windows is. You can find tutorials how to make viruses for Windows with Google. It's so thoroughly known. One thing with OS X is that apps cannot execute themselves on their own. A virus is something you don't know about as it executes itself. Maybe it's something with UNIX that protects apps from executing themselves, I don't know.

    Anyway, the main reason is that the market share is so small.
     
  6. NickZac, Jan 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #7
    I seem to have made a conclusion without doing enough research, and for that I apologize. Below are my logistical arguments of why Macs are more vulnerable, which do not have any relation to the system dynamics in themselves.

    Okay, well in this case there is no definite answer. Things I have read have indicated that Windows is more secure than OS X. Let's say that OS X is far more secure than Windows purely by design. You would NEVER be able to get an accurate judgment on security, and you prove this in your post below. You are not a typical user and I can almost guarantee this is a large reason for the lack of viruses. I would argue that most Apple users have a better understanding of computers and related aspects. I argue this because Apples are expensive, and market trends show that people who buy the higher end, premium products, usually have more knowledge about the product they are buying compared to the people who did not buy the premium products. Also, they have more resources invested in their purchase and are more likely to make an active effort to maximize the benefits of the nicer product. In this case, that comes down to computer literacy. How many basic users do you know that use UNIX? Even though we may disagree over why, I will argue that OS X will always be more secure than Windows given current market trends.

    I also should have discussed the increased vulnerabilities part in a more intelligent manner as I may have 'jumped the shark'. Many of vulnerabilities I see are related to the current status of users, and not as much in relation to Macs, including:

    -Response to a virus-how many companies are currently making good antivirus software for Macs? Most current systems have bad reviews. If a virus came out tomorrow, how long would it take for OS X to be able to correct it? I would bet you it would be a lot longer than Windows, based on the fact that far more companies make antivirus software for PCs than Macs.
    -Software limitations-PC antiviral software has been around for a few decades; antiviral software for Macs is a relatively new concept and more likely to be less refined and possibly less effective
    -User belief that they will not have viruses on their Macs
    -As you said, if someone wants to make the nightly hacker leet news, making a virus for a Mac would make a bigger impact, although all other reasons for hacking make more sense for the user to attack PCs, specifically Windows XP.
    -Compilation effect-some people argue that harmless (in the immediate) spyware, malware, trojans, and whatever else builds up to eventually cause a problem
    -Time-Apple computers have a longer service life than entry level laptops and this can mean that a specific generation of any type of software may be used for years and years, giving a better 'window of opportunity' to hack Macs






    Old Response
    There is no correct answer to this question and the concept that 'Apple's OS cannot get viruses' is a bunch of BS. Furthermore, if you need virus software at all is 100% user dependent.

    OS X has more vulnerabilities than Windows. Yes, this is a fact. Also, OS X does not have the security response team of Windows. Yes, that is also a fact. OS X users rarely, if ever, have virus issues for a few reasons.

    1) Only about 3-5% of the market uses OS X (it actually varies by month oddly enough) and so you would have a very small pool of people to infect from the start (almost 70% of ALL computers use Windows XP)
    2) I would dare say that the education and competence level of OS X users is on average, higher than PC users. If you want to know why, I can explain but it will take up some room. The basis of it however, is that most people with minimal computer skills report using PC's, and so the average ability of the PC user falls; this does not mean advanced PC users are less frequent but does mean beginning users are. Higher functioning computer users KNOW ways you can and cannot get a virus. How many people on this forum will open a 'I Love You' email from a strange address?
    3) OS X does not use certain features that are commonly targeted
    4) OS X REQUIRES you put in a password before making any changes and infecting a computer requires deliberate user action
    5) There is some question as to if spreading OS X viruses are possible on the basis of general logistics

    For years people have said that viruses will come along and affect OS X, but the primary deterrent is the fact that it occupies so little of the market that making viruses for OS X is largely a waste of time and cannot fulfill the goals of most people who write the viruses. (Ex: if you bring down all OS X computers [I love you], you are not going to crash the infrastructure of computing.

    Finally, there is no virus software out their (based on my own research) that offers any advantage and ones that claim to handle other software privacy intrusions are limited and their effectiveness is questionable. Also, some of the Mac anti-virus software available has had TERRIBLE effects on OS X (remember the old Norton Mac AV? cough cough fart)


    Edit: if you want to hear the logistics argument ask, but it will be kind of long
     
  7. JKK photography macrumors regular

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    #8
    If I were a hacker (I'm not), and I knew that there was a 10% of the computer market that was pretty much completely open to a virus, I'm pretty sure I'd be on that.
    Plus, you say 10% like its a small number. Ten percent of 1.604 billion world-wide computer users is a large amount of people.
     
  8. MacDawg macrumors P6

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    #9
    The market-share argument is a myth at best. Hackers typically don't write to infect XX number of machines specifically, but for notoriety, and while number of machines or companies affected achieves that on a certain level, with all the hype around OSX and "no viruses", there would be huge publicity if it ever exploded on the scene.

    The Mac's security is based far more on its Unix base and the fundamental structure of the OS.

    As of now, there is absolutely no reason to run any AV software. Any AV software would be useless against a first virus because it would have no baseline against it. AV software protects against known threats and gets updated as threats are added. There are no current threats to OSX so AV software is useless.

    If there comes a day when viruses are active on the Mac, then would be the time to install AV. But you cannot preempt the attack, it just doesn't work that way.

    Trojans are a different story, but they require an Administrator's password to implement. YOU have to give permission for it affect your system. The 3 most serious Trojans were associated with (1) an illegal pirated download of Adobe's CS (2) an illegal pirated download of iWork '09 and (3) a tricked download of a porn viewer.

    It is however possible to "carry" a Windows virus and transfer it to another Windows machine by sharing files. A program like ClamXav will scan for those and allow you to avoid infecting Windows users if that is a priority for you.

    The best AV for OSX is to avoid illegal downloads, know what you are installing from legitimate sources and common sense
     
  9. NickZac macrumors 68000

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    #10
    The amount of people using Apple OSs is about 5%, and it can be as low as 3% depending on the time of year (no idea why).
    http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8

    The 5% is also ALL Apple software, not just OS X.
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

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    #11
    Find me a widespread virus for current version of OS X then. You are mixing the concepts, a virus is a virus, it executes itself. There are ZERO viruses for current version of OS X. There are few trojans but trojan IS NOT the same as virus.
     
  11. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #12
    Do you have proof of that "fact"?

    Besides, a vulnerability does not mean there is an exploit - or that there will ever will be an exploit for that vulnerability.
     
  12. NickZac, Jan 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2011

    NickZac macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I did not say 'viruses don't exist'; I said that the idea that it is an impossibility for OS X to contract viruses is not true. Currently, there is no evidence of a widespread OS X virus, but users rant and rave that it will never happen, which no one can say for sure. Reviews of the security of OS X versus Windows really conflict what Macaholics argue about OS X.

    http://news.techworld.com/security/1798/mac-os-x-security-myth-exposed/
    I've gone through this before. And as you said, it doesn't mean there is an exploit, but it also does not mean that there isn't either.
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

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    #14
  14. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #15
  15. OllyW Moderator

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  16. MacDawg macrumors P6

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    #17
    I am not sure anyone would be foolish enough to say that it is impossible for OS X to have a virus. I know I wouldn't. But that is entirely different than saying there is no current virus and that AV software is unnecessary.
     
  17. NickZac macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Hmmm...why do you guys get so defensive when OS X doesn't appear to be the poster child?

    http://www.darkreading.com/security/vulnerabilities/222300156/index.html
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/apple-patches-13-mac-os-x-vulnerabilities/7221
    http://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/apple-patches-12-serious-mac-os-x-flaws-011910
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/arti...ches_18_Mac_vulnerabilities_ships_OS_X_10.5.8
    http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/vulnerabilities/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222300150



    How does it differ? As of now, AV software is not needed and can be problematic. Down the line, we don't know but if you look at history, people have been saying major viruses for Macs have been coming super soon...
     
  18. MacDawg macrumors P6

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    #19
    IF there is ever a virus that infects OS X
    and WHEN a company writes AV software to protect against it
    THEN I will install it

    Until then, I see no reason to install something that protects against a non-existent threat and would be useless against a real threat
     
  19. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #20
    Not defensive, just trying to stop the spread of FUD.

    The links you posted show that Apple patches vulnerabilities, which is good. I don't think anyone would argue that OS X has no vulnerabilities - every piece of software has vulnerabilities - however, you DID claim that OS X had more vulnerabilities than Windows, and you have not proven that, so let's see the proof that OS X has more open vulnerabilities than Windows.
     
  20. Hellhammer Moderator

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    #21
    Because I have not seen a Mac infected by malware. I don't care if someone says OS X is more vulnerable because in my real world experience it is not. I don't have to worry about this "vulnerabilities" in my everyday life when using OS X, yet I have to when I'm on Windows.

    Until someone starts to take advantage of these "vulnerabilities", there is no real threat.
     
  21. NickZac macrumors 68000

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    #22
    I'm done with showing you sources as you are only going to discredit them.


    I did not disagree with you on that. I even said that AV software was not necessary. Malware software's affects on OS X may very well be negligible. There is always a 'threat', but the current threat level is relatively low now and will probably be relatively low in the future. But that is not to say that OS X is inherently better at virus protection by design. It gives more virus protection due to its implementation statistics and users.


    You will never agree with my reasoning on why. Perhaps you are right or perhaps I am.
     
  22. Fubar1977, Jan 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011

    Fubar1977 macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Yes.
    If you are creating a virus you want it to spread as far as possible, a Mac only virus will only affect Mac users (about 10% or so of computer users).
    Write a virus for windows and you have the potential to affect up to 90% of computer users.
    Ok, so you are never going to affect ALL users on ANY platform but by writing your virus for windows you get much higher rates of infection.
    Also, with regard to gaining notoriety from your virus, I would be willing to bet a lot of money that virtually all critical large enterprise/education/government institutions etc. are primarily running windows and if you want notoriety that is your target market, not a (relatively speaking) tiny number of Mac users.
    Your only claim to fame would be having the only Mac virus in the wild.
     
  23. MacDawg macrumors P6

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    #24
    Versus being one of a gazillion on Windows and being lost in the shuffle

    I'm not buying the argument. What does a hacker gain by writing a virus? Data? Not unless it was written for a specific purpose. Satisfaction of bringing down a company that they have probably never heard of? Hmmm, not really. Notoriety in the hacker community? I find this more likely. Hackers get ZERO return on their virus other than the thrill.

    Would I rather be one of many to write a virus that affects Windows and people go ho hum... another virus, run your updates.

    Or would I rather hit the news world by being the ONLY one to bring the arrogant, uppity Mac world down by being the first and ONLY one to crack what the snooty Mac users claim is invincible?

    Quick, name the last 5 major Windows viruses and the affect they had on the Corporate world without Googling for results.

    Now, imagine a virus that devastated the Mac community because there was no AV on any machines and it replicated like wildfire before anyone could write a solution. People would remember that.

    The market-share argument isn't totally irrelevant, but it is not the primary reason for no viruses on the Mac. That is due to the Unix base and the stability of the OS. Is it perfect? No. Does it have vulnerabilities? Yes. Have they been exploited? No.
     
  24. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #25
    Again, the market-share argument is BS ...

    It's not all about infecting the most computers. It's about the results. If someone could write a virus that will spread from UNIX box to UNIX box, they would own OS X (fully UNIX certified) as well as the vast majority of web servers (running Apache - on a UNIX-compliant base). So why haven't they?
     

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