Calling Mac users - Have you installed antivirus on your Mac?

Calling Mac users - Have you installed antivirus on your Mac?

Summary: Apple now recommends that users install antivirus software on their Mac systems. Well, have you?

TOPICS: Security, Apple, Hardware

Apple now recommends that users install antivirus software on their Mac systems. Well, have you?

The knowledge base entry on Apple's support site is short and to the point:

Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult. Here are some available antivirus utilities:

- Intego VirusBarrier X5, available from the Apple Online Store License: commercial   - Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh, available from the Apple Online Store License: commercial   - McAfee VirusScan for Mac License: commercial

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It's worth adding that there is a free antivirus program called ClamXav for the Mac.

But is it worth the cost and hassle to install antivirus software on the Mac, or is Apple just covering its back with the knowledge base entry? Having given the impression that Macs are invulnerable to malware, this change could unnerve some users (though personally it's hard to see it as anything more than an indication of the times we live in and the fact that there are plenty of Mac users who are just as gullible as Windows users).

Personally, I can't be bothered to install any on the Mac mini we have here, but if I was processing a lot of back and forth email on it I might install AV just in case ...

Anyone here have any experience with AV software for the Mac? Is it as bad as most AV software for Windows is?

Topics: Security, Apple, Hardware

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  • Multiple anti-virius solutions?

    Um... why install multiple vendors? All you do is eat up resources and cause your system to slow down even more. Oh wait, Mac's are superior and can handle it *eye roll*

    Sorry, no points for apple on this one - first basically tell your customer you dont need anti-virus solutions because your a niche product (essentially) and then do a total reverse course and tell your customer to install several? What message does that send? (albiet an invalid one - One anti-virus, One firewall [software]).
    • It could simply be that

      [i]first basically tell your customer you dont need anti-virus solutions because your a niche product (essentially) and then do a total reverse course and tell your customer to install several[/i]

      Or could be that while many Windows users are getting wiser to malware and viruses (though not at the rate I would like ;) )Apple user are becoming a better target due to their overconfidence with their system?
      • Yea thats true

        Ignorance and a smug attitude isnt a good combo. As evidenced I guess Mac users want that free codec for free porn too just like your windows guy..
    • Not Multiple AV Solutions!

      If you read the article completely Apple means they dont endorse any *one* vendor so that a virus can circumvent that particular program by learning its detection patterns.

      They are encouraging users to choose between any one of the three. NOT installing all three.
  • I'm not telling Mac users to ignore AV

    But I am warning them that the day is coming quickly that they need to consider it. Right now there still needs to be user interaction to infect, but the quantity of malware is on the rise. So, I make sure they know that they don't have a free pass any longer.
    • Quantity vs Quality

      It's not the quantity of Viruses that matters, it's the
      [b]Quality[/b]. 10,000 viruses that require me to do
      something and authenticate for SUDO permission doesn't
      matter near as much as the one that doesn't.

      Let me know when that one's been successfully written.
  • RE: Calling Mac users - Have you installed antivirus on your Mac?

    MULTIPLE AV systems? Won't they cross detect their respective virus signatures, causing a bunch of false positives, or as subsequent AV installations are attempted, prevented because the previous AV finds viruses in the signature files of the latter installations?

    • But thats normal for windows

      I had to go fix windows machines that were running very slow. They had several anti-<name your windows exploit> scanners running, copying files from one quarantine folder to another ....

      Of course they were all pirate, and they were all out of date, so not only did they kill the machine, they also did no good.
      • Um, no, it's not normal

        You should only have on AV program installed. If you get legitimate copies of good-quality AV programs they even tell you so during installation.
  • RE: Have you installed antivirus on your Mac?

    I don't know about most Mac users, but I actually had a conversation with my niece about this on Thanksgiving. When I asked if she was running any AV, her answer was "I don't have to worry about viruses and such, I have a Mac!"
    • She does now....

      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Yes

      And she was RIGHT.

      During deer season, deer run around looking frightened, but the
      zebras are much more relaxed. Nobody is hunting zebras, so why
      should they worry?

      Should I worry? No. Not until somebody comes up with a credible
      threat that doesn't require me to helpfully travel to a rigged website.

      Even then, the potential for damage is very low. So far the biggest
      impact from that style of intrusion has been the ability to read files,

      And even if remote access occurred, I have my TimeMachine backup to
      fall back on.

      If some black hat actually came up with a virus or worm that could

      1) bypass OS X's security and actually DO something, and

      2) succeed in propagating itself via some method to infect another Mac

      Well, then that WOULD be a problem.

      Because malware that can't spread by email will always be contained.

      Only when malware can spread itself automatically does it become
      • re: Yes

        Odd... Apple says you should be running it. Do you know more about this sort of thing than Apple?
      • You're right

        You're perfectly safe.

        You should always wait to get sick before getting vaccinated.
      • Agreed!

        Huge, huge difference between threats to WinPC's and other system like OSX...

        Windows Viruses generally gain root access (no login required) and have free reign on the system to set up services to send mail, DOS or DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks while communicating and opening more backdoors into the system for the virus author/owner. The virus owner then controls the computer as part of an array of computers that they can direct remotely at their whim.

        To date this isn't possible with OSX computers because programs and services can't be installed without permission being granted.
        • Security Model

          It's a matter of Apple's Security model.

          A program that doesn't access System-level stuff can run
          without entering a password, but the first time you run it
          you do get a security alert.

          I've never understood why M$ didn't immediately change
          their security model when their platform came under

          I've seen third-party anti-copy software at college that was
          pretty fierce.

          It can't be all that difficult, for example, to lock access to
          the Internet to registered applications only.
  • RE: Calling Mac users - Have you installed antivirus on your Mac?

    But why? i thought mac is this wonderful OS that is immune to viruses and attacks. isn't mac the most secure desktop OS?

    Oh,i guess it is no different than windows
    • Bad guess, rjw

      Actually, I don't know if Mac or Linux is more secure. I
      know it sure ain't Windows.

      When there are Mac viruses being spread by simply
      inserting a USB drive, or opening an email or clicking on a
      web page, I'll be the first to go out and get AV software.

      [I don't count malware that requires the user to download,
      run and enter a password to authorize access to the

      Until then, consider me smiling smugly to myself...
  • Why not be more specific folks ?

    Will this affect my PowerMac? I really don't know. What I do want to know is will this specifically target Intel based Macs or PPC based Macs. I know viruses are always being created for the X86 architecture. Are these same viruses being created for the PPC architecture? I want to know, but with these reports, you truly have to wonder,,,
    • well

      Convenience for Apple developers means convenience for Apple Malware developers.

      They can just create a binary with multiple architectures.

      I doubt you will see a virus though. We are seeing fewer automated attacks and more "if you think you're smarter than a rock click here" attacks.