Virus protection?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ann-yes, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. ann-yes macrumors newbie

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    Feb 7, 2008
    #1
    Fairly new to Macs here. With Windows, you have to have virus protection. I heard that Macs don't get virus, and you don't need an anti-virus. Is that true?
     
  2. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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  3. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #3
    Well they could get a virus, theoretically. Currently there aren't any viruses for mac os x. You can be a carrier for windows viruses though. So while you wouldn't be infected you could pass an infected file to a windows user. Yeah, I don't have anti virus either.
     
  4. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

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    #4
    I don't know of anyone who uses a mac that does.
    There aren't any viruses for OS X and until there are, I would never even consider running it.

    As far as the standpoint of protecting Windows users...If THEY aren't using antivirus at this point, they deserve to get one. On Windows, you've got to be insane to run your OS without Antivirus and Anti-Spyware software.
     
  5. Elven macrumors 6502a

    Elven

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    #5
    No need to worry for virus protection, I know of a college I heard uses it on there iMacs but thats your average techs for you :D
     
  6. ann-yes thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 7, 2008
    #6
    Thank you all! As a long time Windows user, I had a hard time believing that LOL! You put my mind at rest :)
     
  7. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

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    #7
    That all said, i scooped a 400 dollar laptop yesterday and the FIRST thing I did was uninstall Norton Internet Security...:cool:
     
  8. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #8
    A wise decision agentphish Norton on the Mac is said to slow things down quite a lot .. :(

    I don't use any AV software so I can't speak from experience.
     
  9. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #9
    The only AV software I'd ever consider using would be ClamAV. All the others are a complete joke.
     
  10. Snowbound macrumors regular

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    May 19, 2008
    #10
    I'm just curious...has anyone actually ever had a virus on a mac? I've been a mac guy for 15 years and none here. How about on boot camp. Also, can a virus ever damage hardware? I run bootcamp/fusion and while I don't have any problem whatsoever reformatting my vmware partition if windows gets messed up, I don't want to damage the hardware.
     
  11. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    #11
    I have heard of policies before that any machine on the network requires AV. its poorly written and includes Macs.

    I have never heard of a Virus damaging hardware. I don't think its possible.
    EDIT: i looked around apparently there was one virus that run on windows 95/98/ME called Chernobyl that killed the BIOS on certain systems. Other then that I don't think there has been one. Also when running in VMware its going to be harder for something to happen. Also we have EFI. :D
     
  12. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #12
    To be fair, they might have a reason for it. They might not be trying to protect the Mac itself but protect the spreading of Windows malware over the network. Basically, they may have installed it to make sure the Mac doesn't just keep passing on malicious software.

    As far as I know, there has never been a virus (requiring no user actions to execute) ever made for OS X. There have been one or two trojans, though mainly as a proof of concept.
     
  13. MarkMS macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 30, 2006
    #13
    Don't forget about the new ARDAgent trojan. Affects all OS X 10.4 and 10.5 users. Best thing is to follow that chmod command in the ArsTech article, unless you use remote management. If so, then you don't have to do anything.

    But really, this requires you to download and install a file. This trojan is specifically coming from iChat and Limewire. If one gets infected, it will try to open up iChat and send your friends the infected file. So, please be careful of what and where you download.
     
  14. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #14
    That's what I use. It seems to have very little overhead and it has caught a lot of viruses that I would've passed on to my Windows friends.

    I recommend it.
     
  15. shaunymac macrumors 6502

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    Feb 5, 2008
    #15
    as far as mac's go...

    I had an iBook and my powermac g for 2 years? and l just figured I would give it a go, more or less for fun. I had a toshiba laptoprhar I was having to run two different programs on nearly everyday just to be able to use it. So when it came time to run it in the mac it did its thing and compared to the windows 200 or so viruses/Trojans in only a few days the macs had NONE after 2 years. Needless to say, I dont waste my time with that on my three mac's now. As far as affecting windows user's, if they have a brain they have atleast one program looking out for them. Ha. Excuse my typos, I'm on my iPhone. ;)
     
  16. The Hammer macrumors regular

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    #16
  17. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #17
    It's a third party trying to capitalize. There are no viruses, and Apple's not about to change their position.

    Same as what they've always said.
     
  18. The Hammer macrumors regular

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    #18
    Ok. Thanks for the reference quote.
     
  19. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #19
    While part of me agrees with this statement, it's still my position that as a Mac user, it's irresponsible to be a potential carrier of viruses for other people to get infected with. It's always a good idea to at least run a ClamXav scan once in a while to make sure none of the documents you have aren't harboring a Windows virus.

    Keep in mind that a lot of the spam and phishing e-mails you get are coming from infected computers. Likewise a lot of us running OS X, linux or UNIX servers still have to contend with a lot of zombie systems trying to knock down our doors, and DDOS attacks on web based resources are also coming from infected machines that are part of botnets. So don't be fooled into thinking that viruses can't affect you as a Mac user. The annoyances you have to contend with every day on the 'net are a direct result of these viruses.

    If you're carelessly harboring infected files - even if they can't infect you - you're still very much a part of the problem. ClamXav is a good piece of software, doesn't hog resources like modern commercial virus scanners, and best of all, is free.
     
  20. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #20
    It isn't irresponsible at all. That word implies that it is somehow our responsibility to protect windows users. So what it really means you don't care about protecting windows users (and if you want to, thats okay). They should have an anti virus anyways.
     
  21. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

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    Jun 24, 2008
    #21
    I agree with you that I should make sure that I'm not passing any virus to Windows users (which include family and friends, and wife for that matter). Moreover, if I'm applying for a job, I would not want to e-mail my résumé with a virus, free of charge :). That would ruin my chance of landing the job right there.

    The problem with ClamXav is that it's very CPU-intensive. It's not a bad idea to scan the whole system the very first time, and then maybe once a while, and to use Sentry to monitor incoming e-mails. When I try to scan the whole system, my CPU goes nuts and so does my MacBook fan.

    --
    Patrick
     
  22. pol0001 macrumors 6502

    pol0001

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    Apr 15, 2008
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    London
    #22
    Why I am running AntiVirus

    It is interesting that all discussions emphasize that there are no viruses for Mac OS X. And therefore we don't need an AntiVirus Software. But why aren't there any viruses for Mac? Sure, the security architecture of Mac OS X is supposed to be better than Windows. But Mac OS X was/is still programmed by humans. And humans make mistakes. Therefore even Mac OS X has security risks. (Otherwise we wouldn't get those security updates from Apple.) Right now, we are fortunate enough that there are so few Macs out there compared to Windows Machines. But the number of Macs is growing. So it's just a matter of time, till we become a lucrative target group. And when Macs reach this critical mass, someone will start to write viruses etc. for Mac OS X. And Apple is aware of this problem. That's why they issued the recommendation to use AntiVirus Software.
    So this leaves us with two choices:
    1. We can continue to stick our heads in the sand and repeat the mantra "There are no viruses for Mac". or
    2. We can start to realize that viruses for Mac will become reality in the not so distant future.
    Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that everyone should by Norton etc. today. Mac OS X is still pretty save. But things will change within the next 10 years. There is already malware for Macs out there. iAntivirus has an RSS feed about those existing threats.

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/iantivirus
     
  23. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #23
    If that's the way you want to think about it fine, then yes, I believe there is some responsibility we have to protect Windows users. Or at the very least, not do anything due to one's own ignorance to actively infect them.

    Think of it this way: let's say someone sends you an infected file as part of a project, say a Word document or some Illustrator file or something. YOU don't care, because the virus can do your Mac no harm, right?

    Let's say you now work on that file and pass it on to a friend or business associate using Windows, who will open the file and look at your work. The BEST outcome would be that this person has working antivirus software, detects the virus, and then replies back saying "Hey, you sent me an infected file!"

    To which you'll likely respond with something like "tough luck, that's what you get for using Windows. Get a Mac!"

    Okay fine. Best outcome: no spreading of the infection, and the worst that happens is that you come off like a careless jerk. In fact, that may even be a good thing, seeing as it may or may not be realistic, though it does nothing to improve the common Mac users' image as being snobbish and conceited.

    But let's assume a less-than-best outcome: this person you send the file on to does NOT have AV software on their windows machine, and as you say "deserves" to get infected. Several outcomes can occur here:

    1. They may suffer data corruption due to poor virus code execution, and lose all of their work. Better hope you're not relying on them for any deadlines.

    2. Unbeknownst to them, their infected machine becomes part of a botnet, and spews out spam messages hawking Viagra, fake rolex watches, and letters ostensibly from Robert Mugabe's ex-wife promising millions of "US dollars only," if you will participate in this rather shady financial transaction.

    Do the people who have to contend with spam messages on a daily basis "deserve" this? I guess from your point of view, they do. I don't think all of them do, however.

    3. The same infected computer is part of a botnet that engages in running phishing scams, where people are duped into giving away their bank account information, social security numbers, and the like. The virus you passed on is now engaged in identity theft.

    Do the ID theft victims deserve it? I guess from your point of view, if they were stupid enough to give up that info, then yes they did deserve. For me, it's not so cut and dry.

    Bottom line: you might be comfortable shrugging all of this off. Me, not so much. Besides, even with all of the moral and ethical implications aside, I just don't like the idea of my Mac being... unclean.

    In any case, I don't really care or not if someone "deserves" to be infected. What I'm more concerned about is that for all the talk of being somehow better protected because we use Macs, we're really not. We still have to put up with a lot of the same junk (spam, phishing attempts, DDoS attacks, etc) as everyone else thanks to infected Windows computers. I prefer to at least not contribute to the problem, if even indirectly.
     
  24. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #24
    The security risks are far fewer for several reasons:

    - OS X's code base - the stuff running underneath that candy cocoa layer - has about a 20 year head start on Windows. Yes, it's been written by humans, but humans have been looking at the basic code for far longer than either Apple or Microsoft have existed. Apple was really smart in basing OS X on software that at it's core, has been around for a long time and has a lot of inherent stability to it.

    - There are many more humans and fresh pairs of eyes looking at OS X. The open source portions of the OS are there for anyone to see, and if there's a security issue, it's more likely to be discovered by people with benevolent interests who can then report the problem and get a patch out there. With Microsoft, most of the code is locked down, and they pretty much have to wait until a hacker finds an exploit and uses it, and it becomes a real problem, before a fix is worked out and released.

    - Finally, the basic stuff goes a really long way. If a thief sees two cars on the street - one with its door locked, and one unlocked with the windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition - which car is the thief more likely to steal? A similar truth holds true for operating systems: Windows was and is an easy target to exploit because basic authentication models weren't there from the beginning... essentially a car that rolled off the assembly line without any locks, and only recently have locks been bolted on that don't work very well.

    A virus write has to work harder and has to be really motivated to write a working virus for a Mac, and even then there' no guarantee that this virus will continue to function after the next round of patches go out. The vulnerability he or she is exploiting may even be patched by the time the virus is ready. When much easier pickings are out there, is it really worth it?

    Given the difficulties, I'd even say that OS X could gain 50% market share and even beyond without virus writers really being motivated to work at it. If there's plenty of Windows machines still out there in the world doing your bidding, the OS X virus development can still wait. And even then I'd say you won't see AS many viruses for the Mac as you do on Windows. The complexity will weed out the lazier writers who are basically rehashing old code.
     
  25. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

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    Sep 7, 2004
    #25
    Overall, I still agree with my initial thought, Windows users should be protecting themselves.

    I got ClamXav just for ***** and giggles. It didn't find anything on my 4 year old powerbook... Plus I don't run it on a PC network, and 99% of the time anything i send to anyone in an email I made myself so the likelihood of it containing a virus is nil.

    Now when we switch to Macs in the marketing dept where I am a graphic designer, I will absolutely install ClamXav on the Macs, but ONLY for the sake of the sanity of our IT dept...
     

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