Question about Anti-Virus software.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by *old-guy*, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. *old-guy* macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Location:
    Blackburn in North West England
    #1
    I have read in other threads that having, updating and running an AV programme is pretty much a waste of time. The bad points being that such progs tend to hog system resources and are only of any use in a mixed OS system where windows is used as well as Mac.
    I can't argue with that, nor would I wish to.
    At the same time, I can't seem to make myself accept that I don't need an AV prog. I guess it's all down to the 12 - 14 years of using windows based PCs.
    Anyway, it was brought home to me tonight when I first considered using a torrent website but here's the thing.
    Would it be technically possible to install an AV prog such as AVG that didn't run all the time in the background but could be updated at the user's choice of time and ONLY check software for issues as and when the user clicks a button.
    When I say "Technically possible", what I actually mean is can it be done from a user's point of view. In Windows, I could just Right Click and see an option there to "Scan with AVG". Can I do that with a Mac?
     
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    Sure, it's technically possible, but highly unlikely. I've been on Macs since 1992 and I've never owned antivirus software. Haven't been hit once.
     
  3. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I haven't used it myself though you might want to check out ClamXav.
     
  4. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
  5. hughvane macrumors 6502

    hughvane

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
    #5
    Skirting your direct question, you're right (almost) about "waste of time". I'd prefer the term "pointless exercise" - and others will differ - because, firstly, the MacOS is inherently secure.
    Secondly, there are few Mac-native trojans out there in the wild.
    Thirdly, with the right System Preference settings, it is nigh-on impossible for invaders to get past the MacOS firewall. It's up to you to set the rules. To do that you need to configure SysPrefs > Network > Built-in Ethernet > Proxies; also SysPrefs > Sharing.
     
  6. *old-guy* thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Location:
    Blackburn in North West England
    #6
    Hello again.
    Judging from some of the replies, I guess I didn't explain myself properly.
    As a newbie Mac user, I am aware that as a stand-alone computer, a Mac is as safe as Mt Rushmore is from the effects of a single raindrop.
    The snag is that on my home network there are 2 desktops and a laptop running Windows XP Pro.
     
  7. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    unless you are (purposefully) sending programs and .exe files from your Mac to your PCs you really don't need any antivirus software. Especially if you know what you are sending those PCs. Just don't worry about it you will never* need any antivirus software on your Mac.
     
  8. bsheridan macrumors 6502

    bsheridan

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #8
    Just wondering myself, what would I experience/ be looking for on my system if leopard did fall victim?
     
  9. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    Fall victim to what? There are no viruses for OS X. The only that might cause problems is if you install malware that you find as a plugin on porn sites.
     
  10. bsheridan macrumors 6502

    bsheridan

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #10
    I've heard that .doc files can sometimes have viruses etc. If this is true and I opened one up in iwork/ office/ open office etc, would anything happen?
     
  11. cricketbird macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    #11
    MS Office viruses

    Office viruses can occasionally be found in the macros which are attached to some office files. Most average users never use macros, and very few Office documents circulating in email attachments will ever have a macro. They tend to be found in in-house accounting spreadsheets, data analysis, etc. and those types of documents are not generally emailed - they reside on servers and stay within companies.

    Still...

    You can avoid these viruses several ways:
    1) set office to warn you before opening files that contain macros (I believe this is the default behavior, but you can double check). You'll get a popup window asking if you trust the macros and should it disable them each time you open the file. If you don't need the macros, disable them.

    2) the newest version of Office (2008) doesn't HAVE macros, so you can't personally be infected, although you can pass along the virus to others if you send the file along.

    3) Just be careful - only open Office files from sources you trust and that practice good security (most medium and large-sized companies IT departments have stuff in place, especially if they are Office-based).
     
  12. kjohansen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    This is an interesting debate or discussion. I just bought a Macbook Pro and have a Mac Pro on order. I am coming from a Winblows environment and finally had enough *uncle*. Since the Mac's are Unix based, I can believe you don't need a VS software. Still it can be unnerving for someone coming from a Windows based computer.

    I am really loving the speed Lightroom runs on the Macbook! I was running Photoshop CS4 extended at the Mac store today when I was buying my Mac Pro, fast!

    Thanks for the software discussion and help everyone!:D
     
  13. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #13
    What's an anti-virus? :D

    If I didn't have to tech support my mom's PC (still couldn't get her to switch), I might be serious about that. Oh it feels good to forget everything you learned about Windows. Makes you feel snobbish yet awesome.

    In related news, I have used a few Macs for a bit more a couple of years. Never installed anti-virus software, never needed it. The only security issues you might run into on Macs would be from hackers trying to get on a network, but I really don't think such problems arise much. I just say this because they have some sort of anti-virus and firewall stuff at work on our network of probably 100 computers. I think that's just a CYA move that isn't really needed, but I could be wrong.

    Maybe if we weren't using OS 8.2 on half our computers, we could get away with no security stuff!
     

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