OS X Virus Questions and Advice Needed

Diomedes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2004
250
0
San Francisco
What is the best OS X virus scanner? I'd like something that does:
System scan
Scheduled Scans

Also, is there an anti virus product that scans outbound email? For example, with Symantec's anti-virus product, it automatically scans outbound email sent from Outlook. I would like the same.

I know the Mac isn't as vulnerable to viruses as Windows, but I would still like to have that added security level.

I am using Virex 7.51 as part of my .Mac subscription, instead of Symantec (since they dropped support for the Mac).

Suggestions/recommendations are appreciated, as always. Thanks!
 

gallivant

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2004
99
0
Here's the thing:

Right now, there are no Mac viruses. Zero, zilch. One day, there may be, but until then, there's really no way to offer advice, because all any of them can do is scan for Windows viruses that cannot run on your Mac.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,922
169
Some AV products for Mac (Norton) have been reported to compromise system and/or application performance...
 

dotdotdot

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2005
2,381
33
Get a .Mac membership and Apple gives you Virex for free with it. Virex by McAfee, which is IMO the best Windows AntiVirus company.
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
13,806
177
Bergen, Norway
Use Virex if it makes you feel safer. But you'll probably never get a use for it, at the moment there are NO known virus/worms/trojans/etc for Mac. If one should suddenly appear chances are good that it would be a new and unknown kind and your AV software wouldn't recognice it anyway.

AV software is generally also quite a little resource hog, and your machine will respond better without it.

Take regurarly backups and enable your firewall, and if your totally paranoid, like me, try ParanoidAndroid (in APE Manager) and/or Little Snitch. Both 3rd party control panels which adds a certain safety against malware...
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
Blue Velvet said:
Some AV products for Mac (Norton) have been reported to compromise system and/or application performance...
Is there any more proof of this or anything? I've been running Norton since I switched so I've never used my iBook without it (ie wouldn't have noticed a slow down) but do you think I should get rid of it? Would she speed up? Would this cause a problem for the Windows computers on my network - bypassing their firewalls and the such?

She's pretty speedy as is for the uses I have but a significant speed increase would be great anyway.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,922
169
mad jew said:
Is there any more proof of this or anything? I've been running Norton since I switched so I've never used my iBook without it (ie wouldn't have noticed a slow down) but do you think I should get rid of it? Would she speed up? Would this cause a problem for the Windows computers on my network - bypassing their firewalls and the such?

She's pretty speedy as is for the uses I have but a significant speed increase would be great anyway.
It certainly has an impact on QuarkXpress 6 & Suitcase, 2 of my main work apps... there's something in the installation guides about it.

Tried switching it off, see what happens...
 

bubbamac

macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2003
260
0
mad jew said:
Is there any more proof of this or anything? I've been running Norton since I switched so I've never used my iBook without it (ie wouldn't have noticed a slow down) but do you think I should get rid of it? Would she speed up? Would this cause a problem for the Windows computers on my network - bypassing their firewalls and the such?

She's pretty speedy as is for the uses I have but a significant speed increase would be great anyway.
There are many tales of woe regarding all the Norton products on OSX. Lost/corrupted data, odd behavior by various apps and the OS, etc... If you'd like, do a search here on this forum. Most of the stories regarding specific symptoms will likely be more than a year old, as for the last year or more any thread here asking about Norton has been jumped on by the same group you see above.

Norton for Mac Classic = OK. Norton for Windows = OK. Norton for OSX = very, very bad.

Uninstall it, you'll be better for it. Plan for an archive and install of the OS sometime in the future.
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,650
29
USA
Blue Velvet said:
Some AV products for Mac (Norton) have been reported to compromise system and/or application performance...
It is not Norton Antivirus, but rather Norton Utilities that reportedly causes the problems.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,922
169
MisterMe said:
It is not Norton Antivirus, but rather Norton Utilities that reportedly causes the problems.
It is Norton Antivirus that has caused the problems with the applications I use... so take your boldfaced assertions elsewhere.
 

flyfish29

macrumors 68020
Feb 4, 2003
2,173
4
New HAMpshire
Yeah, spend your cash on backup software, space, etc. and do it often. Even with AV software if there ever is a virus it may not even help so a backup would be vital to keeping from losing data. I had virex but have since diabled it and taken it off since it is unnecessary.
 

Peterkro

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2004
2,149
1,419
Communard de Londres,Tiocfaidh ár lá
MisterMe said:
It is not Norton Antivirus, but rather Norton Utilities that reportedly causes the problems.
It is my humble opinion that all Norton products are crap. Across all platforms, the number of Windows boxes I had to repair across the years are many, trying to get rid off all traces of Norton is a bloody nightmare. Only Real has as bad a reputation in the Windows world.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
bubbamac said:
There are many tales of woe regarding all the Norton products on OSX. Lost/corrupted data, odd behavior by various apps and the OS, etc... If you'd like, do a search here on this forum. Most of the stories regarding specific symptoms will likely be more than a year old, as for the last year or more any thread here asking about Norton has been jumped on by the same group you see above.

Norton for Mac Classic = OK. Norton for Windows = OK. Norton for OSX = very, very bad.

Uninstall it, you'll be better for it. Plan for an archive and install of the OS sometime in the future.
Thanks for the tips people. The consensus seems to be for me to uninstall Norton which is cool but things don't seem that simple. Should I do a full reformat of the hard drive to get rid of it? Is that what an archive and install is?
 

shake

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2002
132
0
Toronto, CANADA
any product with the "norton" badge is really bad for your computer. it really slows things down, and does not really do any good installed on your hard drive.

as far as anti-virus software goes, they are a waste of time. i'll guard your computer for $79.

if a new virus came out today for osX, would virex & norton find it? i doubt it. they have a databasse of "virus definitions". which means, if the virus is "known", they will find it. if its new, or you have not updated your virus definitions in a while, norton (or virex) does not recognize this new virus. and the virus get passed on undetected.

the best anti-virus strategy is being aware of what you download, what attachments you send, and what websites you go to etc..
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,922
169
mad jew said:
Thanks for the tips people. The consensus seems to be for me to uninstall Norton which is cool but things don't seem that simple. Should I do a full reformat of the hard drive to get rid of it? Is that what an archive and install is?
No. You shouldn't have to go to those lengths...

You could just trash the Nortons folder in your Applications folder. Ensure that if it's on auto-start then remove in the Accounts section of System Preferences

Also, try doing a search for anything with the word 'Norton' in it and then moving all of those files into the trash.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
Blue Velvet said:
No. You shouldn't have to go to those lengths...

You could just trash the Nortons folder in your Applications folder. Ensure that if it's on auto-start then remove in the Accounts section of System Preferences

Also, try doing a search for anything with the word 'Norton' in it and then moving all of those files into the trash.
Actrually Norton has an uninstall that you need to use to get all the bits.

And truthfully, if the system is still wonky or becomes wonky after removing Norton, you may need to do some sort of OS X install.
 

Timelessblur

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2004
1,086
0
shake said:
if a new virus came out today for osX, would virex & norton find it? i doubt it. they have a databasse of "virus definitions". which means, if the virus is "known", they will find it. if its new, or you have not updated your virus definitions in a while, norton (or virex) does not recognize this new virus. and the virus get passed on undetected.
they dont use just there database for finding viruses. It can pick up a virus even it it is brand new. It prouble will not be able to remove it from the infected files but it will quantien those files and not let them do any thing or be accessed. That little part of the program is call blood hound or something along those line where it detects virus like tendicy in a script or program and it reacts acordinly. It always ask you what to do before it takes an action on it the script or program. Also with in 24 hours of the virus being found in the world they general have it updated there database and have the live update updating the one on the users computer.

Also you be admazed how many it picks up with a just hte blood hound part of it
 

Diomedes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2004
250
0
San Francisco
I appreciate everyone's feedback.

The reality is that I work with 19,000 other Windows people. While I am not as concerned about the security of my Mac, I do need to be concerned that any messages, files, etc. I am distributing are not infected. In addition, viruses and worms are becoming much more sophisticated, so a worm that hogs network traffic can be accidentally be distributed by Mac users.

I have a .Mac membership, so I do use Virex. If Virex is sufficient to prevent me from unintentionally sending someone an infected file, then that is what I need. I don't know that Virex does that (at least automatically). Is the .Mac version of Virex a stripped down version, or is it the full product?
 

Timelessblur

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2004
1,086
0
if I remeber right the only virus that effect Macs are Macro virus on MS office. (mainly because Office can run visalbasic code) but Macro viruses are not really viruses so much. By defaut office does not let a file run a macro unless it that office file was made on that computer with the macro other wise it tells you no it will not let it run and you have to go in an change the setting manual to over ride that security. Now any AV program should be able to pick those up.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
Diomedes said:
I appreciate everyone's feedback.

The reality is that I work with 19,000 other Windows people. While I am not as concerned about the security of my Mac, I do need to be concerned that any messages, files, etc. I am distributing are not infected. In addition, viruses and worms are becoming much more sophisticated, so a worm that hogs network traffic can be accidentally be distributed by Mac users.

I have a .Mac membership, so I do use Virex. If Virex is sufficient to prevent me from unintentionally sending someone an infected file, then that is what I need. I don't know that Virex does that (at least automatically). Is the .Mac version of Virex a stripped down version, or is it the full product?
I'm in the same dilemma but in the twelve months I've been using Norton it hasn't once told me about a virus either coming in from an email or the internet or any other sources. I don't reckon the virus scan software actually does anything beneficial to either the Mac or the Windows computers on my network IMO. All the computers are running Norton but I'm always going behind their firewalls for filesharing etc. They don't seem to have any additional problems other than just running **** software (ahem, Windows for the slower readers).
 

Cybernanga

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2004
201
0
Essex, United Kingdom
I run Norton Anti-Virus on my iBook, specifically because I connect to a heck of a lot of windows machines, and don't want to be spreading even more misery around their already miserable networks.

I find that NAV is very reliable at spotting infected files, and it really helps. Heck, I've even used NAV on my iBook, to clean the Hard Drive of an infected windows machine over an ethernet cable. I had to do it that way cause the windows machine was so unstable that you couldn't run anything on it.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
Cybernanga said:
Heck, I've even used NAV on my iBook, to clean the Hard Drive of an infected windows machine over an ethernet cable. I had to do it that way cause the windows machine was so unstable that you couldn't run anything on it.
Is that possible? :eek: That's awesome! I wish I'd known that two months ago when Mr PC was having a bad day and wouldn't run ANYTHING! I've always seen the network icon in the Norton program but I haven't ever tried to scan it. Thanks for the tip. :D
 

bubbamac

macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2003
260
0
If you must use an anti-virus app for the mac, I'd recommend Virex.

If you've got Norton Anything on your Mac, use the uninstaller for it - if you can't find the disk, I'm sure their website has something you can download.

A re-install probably isn't necessary after removing Norton apps - but there have been people who have had to. My Mac did NOT like Norton stuff. I didn't re-install because of Norton, but when I did, it worked a whole lot better.

And the guy/gal who fixed a Windows machine over a network using a Mac - that's priceless!
 

Diomedes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2004
250
0
San Francisco
bubbamac said:
If you must use an anti-virus app for the mac, I'd recommend Virex.

If you've got Norton Anything on your Mac, use the uninstaller for it - if you can't find the disk, I'm sure their website has something you can download.

A re-install probably isn't necessary after removing Norton apps - but there have been people who have had to. My Mac did NOT like Norton stuff. I didn't re-install because of Norton, but when I did, it worked a whole lot better.
Definitely use Norton's uninstaller. On my previous PowerBook, I trashed the folder and app, and I had to exhasutively search the system for hidden folders, etc. And even then...I would occasionally get the Norton update warning when I rebooted, and the Norton Auto-Protect preference pane still showed up in System Preferences, even though I couldn't find the file anywhere.

As a former Symantec employee, and now as someone who helps make stretegic enterprise security decisions for my organization, I am not at all impressed with the direction the company is going lately. I could honestly not recommend their product offerings these days.
 

Diomedes

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 5, 2004
250
0
San Francisco
Intego

Has anyone tried Intego's anti-virus product? Macworld gave it their Editor's Choice in the new issue. Seeing as Apple has delayed my PowerBook, Iwon't have a chance to do so.
 

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