Somewhat new to Macs, some questions about viruses etc

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Caralvarez24, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Caralvarez24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Fl
    #1
    I have been using a MacBook Air for a few months now. In high school (5 years ago) we used Macs. The last few years I have been using...windows...I know its sad. Anyway my girlfriend told me her uncles iMac got a virus that was bad enough that they had to replace it. How real is a threat of viruses to the Mac OS? I saw they had Norton Antivirus in the Apple Store is it necessary? Adding to that how is the threat of spyware? Other than that what maintenence things do I need to be worried about?

    Also I have noticed that every once in a while Safari seems to run slow for a period of time. Before and after this it runs really fast. I am on a wireless network using a cable internet connection. Could there be something wrong here?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #2
    i would not recommend norton under any circumstances for the mac

    you will hear a few dissenters, but for the most part the overwhelming voice will be that you don't have anything to worry about concerning spyware or viruses



    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #3
    Viruses are nothing to worry about on your Mac, the operating system is not immune, but Apple delivers numerous security updates and nobody makes viruses for Macs. The iMac likely didn't get a virus, if they had to replace it, it had a hardware failure... a virus would mandate a reinstall of the operating system. Safari is probably slow because of either the quality of the internet signal, the number of people using the internet connection, the size and complexity of the website being visited, or any combination of these things. Essentially, unless you surf around on some really bizarre shady sites online and download stuff from them, and even then, unless you're on Windows, you probably wont get a virus. So no, don't worry about a virus on your MacBook Air.


    As well, I agree with MacDawg, Norton is abhorrent.
     
  4. Caralvarez24 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Fl
    #4
    Ok cool thanks for the info.

    Out of curiosity do you guys not like Norton specifically for the Macs? I used to have Norton on my Dell and thought it was pretty good from what I could tell.
     
  5. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #5
    meh, on the pc it may be ok, although i don't use it

    on the mac it is a real "dog" not dawg ;)

    it has been known to wreak havoc on a mac

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #6
    There are currently no viruses that run on the Mac, unless you count Word macro viruses, and even most of those don't do any harm other than infect the normal template and subsequently-opened documents. Not to say one won't eventually be created, but not thus far.

    There are a handful of trojans, but unless you're downloading sketchy software (mainly cracks of commercial programs) off of filesharing networks, it's extraordinarily unlikely you'll end up with one.

    There is some of what could be considered spyware, but it's drastically less common, and usually not as well-embedded; I've never once had a problem with spyware, nor have I encountered anybody who has.

    Basically at this point if you are reasonably careful with what you download and how quick you are to give out your admin password when an application asks for it, it's highly unlikely you'll end up with any malware on your Mac. Maybe the day will come when that changes, but so far so good.

    If, however, you want to be extra careful and/or frequently move files around between yourself and other PC users, such that you don't want to accidentally pass along an infected file that's harmless to your Mac, I'd recommend ClamAV. It is free, which is nice, but more importantly it doesn't screw anything up.

    Norton et al are more deeply integrated into the OS, but in my experience that just means they're WAY more likely to break things or spontaneously delete important files than they are to save you from anything.

    I don't trust them anyway--at work on our Windows machines we run a University license of Symantec AV Corporate, and it managed to completely overlook a virus on several infected computers, including on "full" scans and when it spontaneously copied itself to any mounted disk--I needed to download a free app to find and remove it. In contrast we run no AV software on upward of a dozen Macs, and the only problem thus far has been a single Word macro virus due to a user error (choosing to ignore the "open anyway?" warning Word gives).

    [edit: there were no replies when I started typing this--I'm not being repetitive, really!]
     
  7. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #7
    ah, why take the time to go get a sledgehammer to drive that nail when you can just take off your shoe and whack it and be done? :p

    a simple "no worries" was sufficient, but your well thought out, reasoned response will be a great resource and serve as collateral/supplemental supporting material ;)

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  8. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
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    #8
    Of course it's "good" on the Dell. You need it there. OS X has no malicious software of any kind wandering the Internet.

    All that any anti-virus program does on a Mac is waste system resources and SLOW IT DOWN.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    I wouldn't accept anyone's story about getting a virus on a Mac without specific details. What Mac? What version of the OS? How long ago? What was the virus? It's easy for anyone to say, "I know someone who...." without getting all the facts, but that doesn't mean it happened that way.

    Norton AntiVirus on Windows is very effective virus protection, but it's also a huge resource hog. I used Norton for many years on Windows, online between 12 and 18 hours every day, and I've never gotten a virus in my life. I really got tired of the drain on performance, though.

    With the Mac, there is no need for virus protection unless you want to scan files before sharing them with a Windows PC. A Mac is pretty much immune to viruses that affect PCs, but they can pass files that would affect PCs.
     
  10. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    I'm currently a Windows user but I'm moving over to OS X, and I've been using McAfee for years, but they only seem to sell anti-virus to big businesses :confused:

    ClamAV sounds pretty cool, though I wonder if there are Mac versions of AVG or Avast! which I'm more familiar with.
     
  11. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Apparently AVG are planning a Mac version, but it's not around yet. Listen to the people above - there is absolutely no point in installing AV software on OS X at present. That may change in the future, but right now you'd just be wasting your time, money and CPU cycles (and I'm speaking as a Systems Admin who manages a mixed Windows / Mac corporate network for a living).
     
  12. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

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    May 6, 2008
    #12
    It would seem Windows has made me a paranoid Internet user :p
     
  13. Shaunik macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #13
    Leopard Cache Cleaner

    I also found it tough to live without Antivirus after I switched from Windows so downloaded maintenance tool "Leopard Cache Cleaner." For no extra cost they included Antivirus. It takes forever to do it's scans and stuff and stopped working after 10.5.3 update for one day but they soon sent the update. All this just for not loosing sleep for lack of antivirus. What do you guys think about it?
     

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