Mac antivirus software

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ZacT94, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. ZacT94 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I've just recently purchased a base rMBP. I made the switch from PC to Mac and would like to ask if it is absolutely necessary to get antivirus software. I downloaded iAntivirus from the App Store, but I don't know if it is enough or if it is necessary.

    Any help would be great,

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    No, it's not necessary, and I would advise against iAntiVirus. 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.

    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.
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #3
    Like Windows, your best defense is "not being stupid" with your browsing/downloading habits.
     
  4. Puevlo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #4
    Do not use Sophos because the component (and almost all of its components) of the software that receives updates is running with root privileges such that an exploit would be remote root if an exploit was found for that component.
     
  5. Queen6, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #5
    Same question, same rhetoric;

    There are several reasons to run antivirus/malware on OS X especially if you are dealing with a mixed environment passing on malicious code even inadvertently does you no favours in the profesional world, let alone family and friends. What does not hurt your Mac & OS X may bring a PC to it`s knees.

    You do need to be careful on the choice of application; ClamXav is extremely light and only looks in realtime at what you specify and it`s free. The sentry is presently utilising 0.2% of CPU consuming just over an hours worth of CPU time over several weeks and this is on a machine over four years old. Does anyone seriously still believe that running ClamXav on todays modern hardware impacts performance! The paid for packages I agree are a waste of $ offering little more than a placebo with a heavyweight user interface. ClamAV the parent of ClamXav protects numerous servers globally, which is a pretty good tip...

    ClamXav will have no impact on a modern Intel based Mac. To have a free, low headroom, accurate scanner that offers a lot of flexibility and not utilize it seems somewhat stubborn at best. The retorts of AV being a resource hog, boils down to one thing, research; ClamXav will not bog your system down, if it does you have some other inconsistencies that need addressing, or your hardware is so old it`s well and truly time to upgrade, on my Early 2008 MBP ClamXav is simply invisible, there is absolutely no degradation of performance, as for the i7 2.4 MBP & now the Retina MBP it`s completely transparant.

    I have literally decades of work on my systems, I have no intention of losing any data, ClamXav is but one tool in a multilayered safety net. Lets face it, if and when OS X is compromised it will spread like wildfire as many fundamentally believe that OS X is invulnerable. I am not entirely sure posts that overly renforce this false sense of security are helpful to the average user, even Apple recognise the threat, however the updates are too slow to be considered a preventative measure...

    I have never had a positive hit in all the years I have run ClamXav equally OS X is gaining traction and it`s simply a matter of time before someone figures it out, thinking otherwise is simply naive. ClamXav cost me nothing monetarily nor time in productivity, this is a safety net that costs little more than five minutes of your time, one of life's better investments.

    Virus/malware gains traction by exploiting vulnerabilities on unprotected systems. I don't believe for one second that CalmXav is the single security solution for OS X, it is however the de-facto standard for many mail servers globally (ClamAV), and the app is rapidly updated.

    Apple has included ClamAV with OS X server since 10.4 and continues to do so today (http://www.apple.com/macosx/server/specs.html) with OS X 10.7.3 Lion Server. ClamXav is transparent on a Intel based Mac, adds another level of protection at zero cost.

    Apple also clearly list Calmav-137-1 on their 10.7.3 Open Source page (http://www.opensource.apple.com/release/mac-os-x-1073/) admittedly it is not implemented in the Lion client release, equally I would not be surprised if it was quietly implemented in a forthcoming release of OS X as was XProtect implemented in Snow Leopard. Apple may simply choose to integrate ClamAV into Xprotect and the vast majority will never know the difference. As of OS X 10.6 your Mac is running anti malware like it or not ;)

    There are many compelling reasons to run ClamXav and few if any not too, personal choices aside I fundamentally believe that suggesting that OS X is safe to all and does not need such tools is very much a step in the wrong direction; not all are technically minded, neither do all users who may have access to machines follow the same rules and guidelines. The vast majority simply point and click to get to where or what they want ClamXav simply serves as a barrier to protect those that are unaware and some cases unconcerned, ultimately such safeguards protect the community as a whole.

    Be mindful that some of those advising that there is no need for Mac`s to run any form of AV, have already have a high level of computing proficiency and a deep understanding of the system, your kid`s, your grandparent`s, the guy from next door etc likely wont have this knowledge. The premis is to keep the the community as a whole safe, or of course we can all simply ignore the threat and hope that by doing little to nothing, disabling functionality will do the trick.

    Install, dont install it`s down to you now...............
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    The issue you mentioned in this paragraph is often glossed over by Mac users and it should not be. It is a legitimate concern, particularly in a business environment.

    As you said, users should educate themselves about the threat and consider their usage and environment, and then make an informed decision whether it is a good idea for them to run an AV program.

    A very well written and thoughtful response. Thank you.
     

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