What's the best anti virus for Mac OS X right now?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Zen Desk Pro, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. Zen Desk Pro, Dec 3, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015

    Zen Desk Pro macrumors member

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    #1
    I know, I know. A lot of people will feel immediately inclined to explain to me that "Macs don't get viruses", but that's not what I've heard.

    Also, after recently finding out that my credit card info was stolen and used to make suspicious, fraudulent online purchases in places like the UK, Nigeria, and Ireland, I can never be too safe.



    That being said, what would be my best options for basic, free, anti-virus protection?


    Thank you.
     
  2. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #2
    Um, apparently you have heard. There are tons of threads on this. Some people like Clam XV, some like Avast, and there are others. Try them out, you might like one that others don't. I've heard that Sophos is a RAM hog.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    For a simple virus scanner (i.e., one that runs only when you TELL IT to run), you might try something called "Bitdefender Virus Scanner".

    For malware and adware, try "Malwarebytes anti-Malware for Mac".

    Both are free.
     
  4. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #4
    I run Avast. I don't know if it's the best, but it seems fine. Full-time monitoring of files and network activity. It has a nice network scanner that suggested some changes to make our connection more secure. I had no idea we were running WEP and that it was so easily hacked.

    OSX machines absolutely can and do get malware. Systems are so powerful now that there is really no good excuse to not use an antivirus program. It does nothing to slow me down.
     
  5. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #5
    Well, yeah, if you're reckless.
     
  6. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #6
    Reckless? I don't know about that. Inattentive is more how I would phrase it. And we can all be guilty of that from time to time. A lack of attention is how Windows or any OS accumulates malware. Malware doesn't just appear out of thin air.

    Mac users are going to be more inattentive, as they tend to know less and want to know less about how computer systems work. That's the appeal of Apple products. You don't have to know much about technology to use one. OSX has the advantage of having less market share. It is less of a target, because hackers will always go where the odds are most favorable. As OSX use increases, we will see (and have seen) malware for it propagate. I would rather be ahead of the curve than behind it. Everything gets a firewall/AV in our house - Windows machines, Linux machines, Apple products, and even our Android phones.

    In 2015, there is no good reason to not protect yourself and your personal data.
     
  7. The Economist macrumors 6502

    The Economist

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    #7
    I'd say you don't need an antivirus, you are probably victim of a phishing website or email.
     
  8. frazzm737 macrumors regular

    frazzm737

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    #8
    Anti-virus software usually does more harm than good on a Mac. As suggested above MalWare Bytes is a good defense for malware. Safe practices are an even better defense.
     
  9. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #9
    I'd argue that there is no good reason to think that any third-party is smarter about securing an operating system than the professionals who built it.
     
  10. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #10
    Ha, ha. You are free to make that argument, but it's obviously flawed logic.

    If it were the case, no operating system would be hacked, ever.
     
  11. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #11
    Yes. Very true. We know better from our Windows experience. But Microsoft wasn't security conscious then. They are now. And Mac OS still has never had a successful attack against it in the real world. Any bug obscure enough to be missed is probably so obscure as to be unknown by security vendors. Still, your point is well taken.
     
  12. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #12
    This is also not true.
     
  13. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    The significant flaw in this statement is that it doesn't consider the fact that in 2015, installing 3rd party security products in Mac OS protects against nothing, yet it highly likely to introduce vulnerabilities and instabilities that were not there in the first place.
     
  14. bent christian, Dec 11, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #14
    Avast has detected malware on my computer that OSX did not recognize.

    I have never seen or heard of anyone ever having issues of instability using a third-party anitvirus scanner. I suppose it is possible, depending on the application, but highly unlikely if you are using a scanner with a good history of use.
     
  15. slenpree macrumors 6502a

    slenpree

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  16. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I had a couple of fraudulent credit card transactions a year or so ago. I had to complete a form for the Bank which included the question "when did you last scan your computer for viruses?" Although I am sure the fraud had nothing to with a virus I will feel more comfortable dealing with a bank if I am running virus protection....although I agree not really needed.

    In the last year I have tried the following:

    ClamXav: occasional high CPU events. Sentry can monitor live.
    BitDefender: low impact on Mac. Terrible logging (as in no record or scans and findings except buried in an unintelligible .plist). Occasional hangs cured by turning off active scan.
    Virusbarrier: high impact on mac performance. Occasional hangs.
    Sophos: Occasional panics.
    Avira: low on features and options. Didn't use enough to comment more.
    Avast: good feature and options set. Only just started using so don't know impact yet.
     
  17. BLUEDOG314 macrumors member

    BLUEDOG314

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    #17
    As was said before, if someone got your credit card information it was a phishing scam. This isn't the late 90s or early 2000s where people wrote "viruses" that would jack up your Windows machine just because they could. People want to make money, they do this through scams.

    If you are worried about a program making it onto your computer and running, adjust your Gatekeeper settings. Virus scanning programs are a waste especially for a Mac. I have never used such a program on any Mac system in my family, and haven't run any antivirus programs on my Windows machines for about 10 years now. Your best defense is when you are on the internet be mindful or the sites you visit and the things you click on, and any time you are entering personal information such as credit card numbers into a site make sure the connection is encrypted and the site verified.

    One program that I do like however for a number of purposes is Little Snitch. Any outbound connections are checked and you have to approve them. This way if something is trying to send information from your machine you can block it.

    Tl;dr: Watch where you surf, virus scanners are useless, enable Gatekeeper, try Little Snitch to block outbound connections.
     
  18. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Bluedog314, you are missing my point. I know virus scanners are a waste of time on macs. There are a thousand ways my credit card could have been compromised not involving my computers at all. But when it comes to claiming from the bank, if it happens again, I would prefer not to get into a debate about Macs not needing AV, and just be able to supply a last scanned date. As you say safe computing is far more important.
     
  19. BLUEDOG314 macrumors member

    BLUEDOG314

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    Dec 12, 2015
    #19
    Wasn't trying to come at you or anything like that. If you have to make a claim from your bank to get your money back, if the determining factor of whether or not they support you is the last scanned date as reported by your virus scan then they seriously need to reevaluate their policies. If they are this stupid I wouldn't even waste my time installing anything, take a screenshot of Gatekeeper turned on and say this prevents anything from running on my machine unless I allow it.

    But really though check out Little Snitch, its legit and more importantly tells you where programs are trying to make outbound connections.
     
  20. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #20
    I have tried Little Snitch a few times in the past, and found it hard work especially at the beginning. Initially you are bombarded with requests, the majority of which I know are OK but some I don't recognise. Investigation takes time and not always conclusive. I ended up accepting stuff without being certain, and then it seemed it wasn't adding benefit.

    Based on this thread and other inputs recently I have just uninstalled Avast. Compared to when I lost the money a few years ago there is much more realisation that other forms of malware than viruses are more important, and Apple's built in Gatekeeper, XProtect and MRT are active. Also I run Malwarebytes scans regularly. So I would be able to fill in the Bank's form if it happened again.

    To be fair to the bank they never said "you have to have have AV running to be refunded". I did a scan after the event with Clamscan which found nothing, and explained what I had done on the form. There was no discussion about viruses or AV, they just refunded me straight away.
     
  21. dBeats macrumors 6502a

    dBeats

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    #21
    Never had malware on my Mac, never used anti-virus software. Keep your Mac up to date, favor Mac App store apps over "download aggregator" sites and bit torrent sites and you'll be fine. Don't enter your password when prompted unless you know exactly what's going on. Do time machine backups in case you need to revert. The best way to turn your Mac into a dog is to start loading scanning crapware on your machine.
     
  22. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #22
    That tired "market share theory" has been debunked endlessly from the time it was first posited.
     
  23. quackers82 macrumors 6502

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    #23
    As has been said already Mac OS ships with anti malware protection built in, its silent and invisible to the user , called X Protect, just make sure System Preferences -> App Store -> Install System data files and security updates is ticked so it can pull updates about the latest malware down. Mac OS also has Gatekeeper, so make sure its on as another layer of protection.

    This coupled with practicing safe computing should keep you protected. Malware does exist for the Mac, but a lot of the time the its more proof of concept and not actually seen in the wild.

    You can always visit thesafemac for more reading which is interesting. I've seen many things get past antivirus/antimalware on Windows over the years, so having AV on is no guarantee you are safe.
     
  24. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #24
    Well, with a slight clarification, that statement is true: OSX has never had a successful virus attack in the real world. (or, "in the wild" as the popular phrase is turned) And if you wish to prove that this is not true, you can't just say that and be convincing. You'll have to document the name of the virus, and when it was detected. You won't be able to to that, as said virus has never existed. Thus, anti-virus software for Mac OX is hollow; with no known virus to attack, the software has no "byte" to it, so to speak.
     
  25. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #25
    Right. When a virus is first released "into the wild" no one but the malicious programmer knows about it, therefore the AV software has to catch up. That's why the virus definitions have to be updated.
     

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