Parallels & Antivirus

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Slothapotamus, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Slothapotamus macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2008
    I've just started using Parallels because I need to use Office. Is it still possible to get a virus (and spyware, etc) on Windows XP running through Parallels and if so, is it advisable to install some AV software?
  2. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    Hell yes, you certainly need AV for Windows running under Parallels. Try AVG free - works a treat
  3. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    yes it is possible to get a virus but it will only infect your Windows virtual machine.

    Parallels includes Kaspersky Internet Security and you can install from one of the menus (forgot which one!).
  4. Slothapotamus thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Thanks peeps. I don't access the internet using the Windows VM but it's better to be safe than sorry I guess.
  5. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    let me be the lone voice of disagreement.

    If you dont surf the internet from the VM, then why bother?

    Here are some factors to consider:

    1)AV software may significantly slow down your VM
    2) the risk is non existant to the host OS
    3) If the guest OS gets trashed, it is a simple 2 minute process to create another VM. (you did make a copy of the virgin windows VM, didnt you?)
    (You are running windows as a limited user and notas admin, right??)

    So given that info, here's what I'd do. Get windows fully patched, install Office, then make a copy of the VM. Store it somewhere safe.

    With that, you can reinstall windows in the amount of time it takes to transfer files.

    One other thought. Install AV, and set it to scan on a regular basis, but DISABLE real time file scanning. i.e. when you are working there is no AV activity.

  6. McGiord, Apr 30, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    If your ISP is COMCAST you get a free McAfee security suite.
    Probably others also offer that kind of "freebies".
    Toyota Avensis history
  7. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    the op said he needed to use office. That means no surfing.

    He also didnt say he didnt have an internet connection. He said that he doesnt access the internet using the windows vm. Years of experience ;-/ tell me that that means he does not intend to browse with that vm. However, I'm certain he doesnt disable the network adaptor in the VM.

    If used that way, a properly configured Windows machine on a network connected to the internet (but not used for browsing), but behind a NAT firewall will have very low risk of infection.

    I'm not necessarily saying NOT to use av. I'm just saying that it is not a slam dunk that you SHOULD use av.

    If you dont browse, have a marginally capable machine with 1gb of ram, and have the windows vm properly configured, then I think going without Av is the best choice.

    In contrast, if you have a MacPro with 4gb of ram and havent a clue how to lock down Windows, then you definitely should use AV.

    The reality is probably somewhere in between. Thats where the discussion comes in.

    As an aside, there are some very basic things in Windows you can do that will go a very long way towards avoiding a virus. The first is to run as a limited user whenever possible. This should be about 99% of the time. Even s/w installs can be done in this context by right clicking and choosing "run as".

    Also disabling UPnP helps a lot if you dont need the service. As does disabling remote assistance/remote desktop.

    Finally, rename your admin account to somethinhg else and give it a secure password
    then create another account called administrator and make it a limited user. That way if someone can see your computer (most likely via an unsecured wireless access point) and wants to try to guess the password, they are guessing at an account that doesnt have many rights. (this a variation on the idea of a honeypot)
  8. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    with respect he/she didn't mention that till halfway through the post,and after some users had given there answers
  9. burningrave101 macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    If KIS is included with Parallels then that's all he needs to be using if he wants to install an AV. Kaspersky is the best out of any of the other AV's mentioned. If you're not browsing the internet or downloading e-mails in Office though then I probably wouldn't even worry about it since it's very unlikely for you to ever get a virus that way. Any time you have network connectivity to the outside world though you always stand the risk of a trojan or worm or some of malware being pushed onto your machine from somewhere but it's usually unlikely.
  10. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    I agree with your comment about the worm/malware. But remember, those applications (which is what worms, viruses, trojans are) would run in the user context. If it is a limited user, without rights to change the registry/startup files, then they couldnt install even if the machine was exposed to them.

  11. Slothapotamus thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Seems I've started a small war of opinions here :D.

    I've been a Windows user for about 16 years and only switched to using a Mac last month. In all those 16 years I've had only one virus and maybe a handful of spyware problems. The virus came to me via e-mail from a University lecturer while I was a student about 9 years ago. The spyware was the result of me trying out Kazaa about 6 or 7 years ago.

    I've always been a pretty safe surfer; no dodgy porn sites, always blocking popups, and I never open e-mail attachments from people I don't know.

    I've always used anti-virus software and, since my spyware incident with Kazaa, I've used spyware software too (Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D). I just feel safer while on the internet knowing these programs are there even though I rarely have to do full scans with them. That was my main reason for asking my question in the OP.

    How do you make a copy of the VM? This might be useful if I do mess things up.
  12. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    You can do it 2 ways. (I'm at work now and cant see the screens, so let me know if this is satisfactory.)

    The first way is to make a copy within your machines own file structure using finder.

    The VM exists as a folder within the existing folder structure of the machines HD. I know where the folder is in the Windows version of VMWare (VMWare Workstation). But I cant remember where it is in Fusion.

    Once you find the folder, just copy and paste it somewhere. Save the copied version. When your windows becomes infested. copy and paste the virgin VM back to where the infected vm is. And you are now running a new version of Windows.
    I cant remember how it names the root folder for the VM but can post more info tonight if nobody else steps up

    The second way to do it within VMWare, use the "clone" command.

    One of the great things about VMWare is that the VM you create can run on Fusion, VMWare Workstation, or VMWare player. Very cool.

    If I had known this when I bought everything, I probably would not have purchased VMWare Workstation. I would have just created the Windows VM from Fusion and then copied the files to my PC and run it using VMWare player.


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