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Anti-virus necessary?

by Romands / January 9, 2011 6:22 PM PST


I know this is probably an age-old question but I can't seem to find a definitive answer on the internet. Are there any real threats out there for my Mac OS X or is installing an anti-virus just a wiste of time, money and memory? Should I be concerned about passing on viruses through e-mail or USB stick to my colleagues or friends who use Windows? If so, which anti-virus should I use? Is there any real competition between anti-viruses out there?


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At the present time
by Jimmy Greystone / January 9, 2011 10:18 PM PST
In reply to: Anti-virus necessary?

At the present time it's a waste of time, resources, and money. Now, what the future holds is anyone's guess. It could be that tomorrow things change, and an AV program becomes as mandatory on a Mac as any PC running Windows, but for today, it's not necessary.

That's not to say that simply using a Mac means you can act with impunity on the Internet. There are still plenty of threats that are very much platform agnostic, because they rely on user stupidity.

So, you don't need a dedicated AV program, and most of the ones for the Mac exist to cash in on poorly written policies at large companies where all computers MUST have an AV program... Regardless of whether or not one is actually needed by the platform. That's what you get when HR types try and write IT policy. Anyway, just don't take that to mean that you're immune to any and all threats out there simply because you're using a Mac. You're not, and you'll find that out the hard way if you start thinking like that.

Also, be mindful of the fact that this situation could change at any time. So, be sure to survey the situation every now and then, and be ready to act if and when things do change.

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by Romands / January 10, 2011 8:56 PM PST
In reply to: At the present time

OK, thanks for the reply, I"ll keep an eye on it. =)

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I disagree
by trilldax42 / January 15, 2011 7:02 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks

There are viruses in the wild for Mac. I've read articles during the last couple of months about virus/malware targeting Macs. While I agree that the chances of encountering same are much smaller than if you were using a Windows PC, it's still out there. Don't be a victim. Protect yourself. I haven't used a Mac for years so I don't know about the current anti-virus programs available. Hopefully there is a free/cheap alternative. But the Internet is a scary place and you can never be too safe.

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Keep reading.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 15, 2011 7:24 AM PST
In reply to: I disagree

All the pests I've come across have to be installed by the user. None approach what happens in the land of windows.

Given the user has to install the pests, how would you tell the difference from an app and a bad app?

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Could you be a little more specific
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 15, 2011 10:38 PM PST
In reply to: I disagree

about these viruses?
Like names and such.

Make sure that they are viruses though. Those are the ones that install themselves without any input from the user and then go on to replicate and send themselves on to infect other computers, again without any input from the user.

As Bob says, you cannot count the software that the user has to install manually, has to authenticate their status, and do not go anywhere once they are installed.

Oh, and while you are doing the research, make a note of where all those Google links are pointing to. Most of them just refer back to one article.



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by trilldax42 / January 16, 2011 7:31 AM PST
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Now if only
by Jimmy Greystone / January 16, 2011 8:27 AM PST
In reply to: Specifics?

Now if only ZDNet were a source we could take seriously you'd have something there.

ZDNet, like virtually every other mainstream publication on computers, is not exactly what you'd call a serious journal. Most of what they do is peddle rumors, hearsay, and speculation. They're not exactly sticklers for fact checking either.

Even better is that they use Sophos as their main source. The whole "article" which reads more like an advertisement for Sophos' worthless AV program (I've used it, and on the Mac too), basically lists a single bit of malware which just tinkers with your DNS settings. That is a far cry from some of the things you see on Windows.

And I have to wonder if you bothered to even read the conclusion of the "article" because no one here is suggesting that people "bury their heads in the sand". Rather we're saying AT THE PRESENT TIME, it is not necessary. We fully admit that this may change at any time, and in fact I believe I said exactly that in my first post. However, until that day comes, there's no real benefit to having an AV program on a Mac. At least while it's running OS X. If you're running Windows via Boot Camp or Parallels/VMWare, then that needs an AV program running. Mac OS X, however, while not immune, does not currently need any AV protection.

Most, if not all, of the malware out there for Mac OS X, requires the user to first download it, then install and run it. It's hard for any software program to protect against that level of user stupidity. It's also a far cry from the drive-by, no user interaction required, malware installs that are oh so common on Windows via Internet Explorer.

You are trying to make this into a much bigger deal than it is. So, I would suggest that you expand your readership beyond ZDNet. Also to take the time to really digest and understand what it is you're reading, because as things are now, you're confusing a number of different issues. Understandable, since the distinctions can be a bit subtle, but all the more reason to take the time to make sure you really understand what it is you're talking about.

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Sluggish computer
by jennywren1420 / July 5, 2012 12:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Specifics?


A friend's PC was sent a message that apparently was infected with something or other. It was also sent to me. Somehow, I did what I never, ever do and clicked on a link (it was a very convincing message purporting to be from a person known to me). I must have been terribly tired! In fact, I know I was.

Now my computer is acting sluggish: trackpad, keyboard, sometimes, lack of response. All that. I can't say for sure that my computer has been infected with something, but the timing is right. I know that there are things out there to prevent people getting infections, but what can I get to remove one, if there is one?

Slap my wrist, upside of my head, anywhere you please, but if there is help out there, please tell me about it.



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This old discussion is closed.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 5, 2012 1:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Sluggish computer
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