Your opinion on anti-virus software for Macs

Supercell

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 19, 2011
48
0
Hello,

I'm getting my first rMBP in a few days, and I'm curious about your opinions on anti-virus software for Macs?

My Mac will be used primarily for software development, and most of my projects will be stored on the device itself, until I get a remote repository. Also a lot of company specific information will be stored on the device.

I know what to avoid when browsing the internet, and I'm very cautious when downloading stuff.

I read some articles about anti-virus software for Mac, which basically tells me I don't need it. Just wondering if the built-in security of OS X will keep me safe or if I do need to get anti-virus software for my situation.
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,485
109
Kansas, USA
You'll be fine without it. I go on questionable websites and have never had any issues. I was required to have Sophos downloaded while I lived in the dorms at my school, and it really only slowed things down. The only thing I could think of is if you're running boot camp. I'm not sure about virtual machines.
 

Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,914
1,596
New England, USA
You do not need an anti-virus for OS X. There are not now, nor have there ever been, any viruses in the wild that effect OS X.

OS X is not immune to viruses, but thus far there have been none in the wild that have been a problem or infected Macs. There are other forms of malware that can effect Macs, but the best way to avoid them is safe computing.

If you really want to, you can get ClamX, which will scan for nasties and quarantine them. I use it once a month and it cleans out a bunch of harmless (probably Windows) junk which has no impact anyway. The nice thing about ClamX is it doesn't run in the background, and so it doesn't use any resources until you open it for a scan.

Mac Virus/Malware FAQ

http://guides.macrumors.com/Mac_Virus/Malware_FAQ
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
2,872
511
SF Bay Area
Macs might not get viruses but they can still spread them so if you share files with other users you might still consider virus software.
 

Wuiffi

macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2011
685
78
I used a payed version of kaspersky (student discount) for 1.5 years. That was the time I had the most troubles with my mac. I'd say at the moment you are better of, if you just enable the firewall
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,004
4,569
As others already stated, OS X does not have any currently known viruses. The only reported ones were related to Java vulnerabilities, but things like these can be easily avoided by disabling Java web content - hardly any website uses them today anyway.

Malware does exist for Macs but OS X comes with a built-in malware protection, in addition to the new cryptographic signature functionality - which prevents execution of any code which has not been signed by a registered developer. While this function can interfere with some open-source programs (but it is easily overridden), it also makes Macs very safe for the 'normal' user.
 

Azeroth1

macrumors regular
Apr 20, 2010
187
341
I have used intego virus barrier x for the last few years and versions of both the app itself and with OSX - I think since Leopard or Snow leopard. Never had a problem and it seems light in resources to me. I know everyone says you don't need it, but I personally like knowing it's there. For what it's worth and in support of those above, to my knowledge it's never found anything.
 

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,731
130
Ohio, USA
Avast works pretty well and doesn't get in my way. I use it when I'm working with PCs and have a hard drive pulled out while I work on more intensive repairs. Throw it on a dock, let avast scrub it, look at what it found and alert the customer to behaviors that could result in those particular infections.
 

SomeGuyDude

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2011
730
2
NEPA
Far as I know the only viruses macs have to deal with are trojan horses, so if you're a responsible internet use you're safe.

Fun fact: best buy gives out a free copy of Webroot with every MBPr they sell. On disc. Good job guys. :rolleyes:
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2011
1,929
128
Florida
One of the better protections you can take is to make your primary user a non-administrator. Create another admin account to authorize any system changes.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,360
701
I'm getting my first rMBP in a few days, and I'm curious about your opinions on anti-virus software for Macs?
Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 12 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). 3rd party antivirus apps are not necessary to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as a user practices safe computing, as described in the following link.
Read the What security steps should I take? section of the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ for tips on practicing safe computing.

When the MR Guides are back online, read the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ. Until the MR Guides are available, you can read most of the same info in the Mac Virus/Malware Info post, on which the FAQ is based.

One of the better protections you can take is to make your primary user a non-administrator. Create another admin account to authorize any system changes.
There is no advantage in doing this on OS X.
Macs might not get viruses but they can still spread them so if you share files with other users you might still consider virus software.
If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read: What about sending files to Windows users? section of the Mac Virus/Malware Info.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Remember Flashback?

I have Norton Internet Security on mine. Doesn't really slow things down, but that's probably because I have 16GB RAM and SSD.

Better to be safe than sorry.

But if you want something free, try iAntiVirus on the Mac App Store. It's free, and it's from Symantec (the ones who make Norton).

But bottom line, you don't really need antivirus. What you need is internet security.

I suggest you get this Safari plugin too: http://macplugin.norton.com/?ext=NIS
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
If you need Java installed, more pointedly Java 7 which you get from Oracle I would use ClamXAV which is free and unless you enable the file sentry has no impact on resources whatsoever. That also applies to any other non apple apps such as acrobat etc which may not be updated to the latest versions and are vulnerable.

Mac's may not get viruses but they are still vulnerable to Trojans and their nasty variants the rootkit.
 

Sital

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2012
1,841
335
New England
I don't use any antivirus on my Mac
But if I did, I can assure you it would NOT be Norton ;)
If were to use anything it would prolly be ClamXav
Since Norton overhauled it's AV software several years ago, I've had no issues with it at all on Windows machines. It doesn't slow things down on machines with just standard specs. Having said that, if I was going to use AV on a Mac (which I don't) it wouldn't be my first choice only because I don't know how committed they really are to the platform (e.g. Quicken).
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
Since Norton overhauled it's AV software several years ago, I've had no issues with it at all on Windows machines. It doesn't slow things down on machines with just standard specs. Having said that, if I was going to use AV on a Mac (which I don't) it wouldn't be my first choice only because I don't know how committed they really are to the platform (e.g. Quicken).
A Windows machine would be much different, and Norton may be fine there... still, I would use Microsoft Security Essentials or one of the free Avast/AVG/etc. before going with Norton. I have not needed anything more than MSE on my Windows 7 VM, and I use nothing on my Windows 8.1 VM.

On the Mac... since I don't need anything, I don't use anything. ClamXav seems to have a fairly good reputation/track record with detecting Windows viruses/malware and avoiding redistribution, so I would consider that if I had to make a choice.
 

Sital

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2012
1,841
335
New England
A Windows machine would be much different, and Norton may be fine there... still, I would use Microsoft Security Essentials or one of the free Avast/AVG/etc. before going with Norton. I have not needed anything more than MSE on my Windows 7 VM, and I use nothing on my Windows 8.1 VM.

On the Mac... since I don't need anything, I don't use anything. ClamXav seems to have a fairly good reputation/track record with detecting Windows viruses/malware and avoiding redistribution, so I would consider that if I had to make a choice.
I agree the Windows machine would be different and as I said Norton wouldn't be my first choice for my Mac. Just seems that Norton still gets a bad rap based on issues from years ago that were corrected.
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
I agree the Windows machine would be different and as I said Norton wouldn't be my first choice for my Mac. Just seems that Norton still gets a bad rap based on issues from years ago that were corrected.
That is probably true, but with so many other good options available, I wouldn't be willing to risk them, especially on the Mac side.
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
2,872
511
SF Bay Area
If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read: What about sending files to Windows users? section of the Mac Virus/Malware Info.
I read it.
And covering your cough is still the responsible thing to do.

In my case, I'm the first one in my house to use a Mac and I've discovered viruses on external hard drives that haven't been used for months or even years.
Yes, I have virus software on all of the PCs in my house but the viruses obviously weren't caught by the software being used back then.
I could have not installed virus software on my Mac and let the viruses go undiscovered until the next time someone happened to use those drives with a PC but I did the responsible thing -- I covered my cough -- and I killed the virus before it had a chance to infect others in my household.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,196
8,835
California
Yes, that was a trojan. The best anti-virus software in the universe can't save you, if you install malware yourself.
The thing is, you did not have to "install" anything to be infected with Flashback. All you had to do was visit a compromised web site and you got infected with Flashback.