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Does my IMAC need antivirus/spyware program?

by xercisenut / September 5, 2009 3:15 AM PDT

Hi! I 'm a new mac user and always had PC's (MICROSOFT !!) before with a blizzard of anti-spy and virus requirements to check and update all the time - like Norton. Do I need to buy a separate program for my MAC to check spyware installation, stealth installation of keystroke "capturers" , viruses etc? What do you experts recommend? The folks in the apple store at the genius bar said they didn't use one.

My system is: imac 2.8 ghz intel machine w / 2gig memory, version 10.5.8 installed and all apple software updates done. I don't download other programs other than adobe and am not a gamer.

Thanks in advance smart folks out there!

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Most Mac users do not use AV software
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 5, 2009 9:04 AM PDT

on the grounds that there are no virus's out there that operate against OS X.

If you want to feel warm and fuzzy, or are just missing the need to use AV software, then you could take a look at CLAMXAV, google it.
It's free and does not eat processor cycles like the ones from Symantec and Mcaffe.

It detects Windows virus's too, but they do not operate on your Mac. It's just so you will not send them on to your less fortunate friends


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by macnerd10 / September 10, 2009 8:01 AM PDT

Another freebie is iAntiVirus ( that some claim is superior to ClamXAv, at least in patching the database when new Trojans arrive.

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In a word...
by johnspear / September 20, 2009 12:57 AM PDT


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by gatorsf / November 6, 2009 11:53 AM PST
In reply to: In a word...

Johnspear - Why not? While I am still using Windows, I put my parents on a Mac and know that my next system will be one. In other
words, I am not a Windows disciple.

I came across your post because I am trying to figure out if my parents need AV software (and an SPII) firewall for their Mac. While I understand that hackers and jerks write viruses for Windows because of the sheer volume of havoc they can cause due to a higher installed population does that mean Macs are immune or ignored? If the latter, AV software seems to be prudent. What about Trojan Horses or simple hackers that want to break into a system for identity (or other) theft, does OS X have software to handle that?

Mind you I am not being cynical, just trying to think through the outscome.

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good question
by macnerd10 / November 6, 2009 4:40 PM PST
In reply to: No?

Most Mac users including professionals are extremely cavalier when it comes to viruses. Three main reasons: there are no viruses in the wild for the Mac, the exe files for all viruses cannot be opened on a Mac, and to be really infected on a Mac, you must type your admin password to launch a software installer because nothing would launch automatically, unlike on Windows. However, there are some Trojans like DNSchanger that present some threat. Due to a very remote chance of being infected, many people have no AV. I am in the prudent camp and have AV. However, there is no reason to buy anything since there are at least two good free AV programs for the Mac: ClamXAV and iAntiVirus. They work in the background, update automatically and do not eat up memory or speed. Take your pick. But this is more for peace of mind rather than a necessity. Just make sure you do not install everything you download from the web, especially "free" versions of programs that you know cost money.

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by gatorsf / November 6, 2009 7:52 PM PST
In reply to: good question


Thanks for your thoughts on this. What about a router with an SPI firewall vs. the two routers Apple makes - airport extreme and time capsule?

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firewall buil-in
by macnerd10 / November 7, 2009 3:35 AM PST
In reply to: firewall

usually the ISP modem has a firewall already. Any router will have it. I like Belkin; it is fairly reliable with Macs. I guess, you should not worry about it. If a pro would like to hack into your machine (very highly unlikely), your password could be easily cracked and you would not be able to interfere. The standard things will ensure that you have a peace of mind. The most you risk is that somebody could use your broadband. But that would happen only if your network has no password. Finally, in the sharing in system prefs (security pane in Snow Leopard) you can turn firewall on.

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time capsule
by gatorsf / November 7, 2009 5:48 AM PST
In reply to: firewall buil-in

sounds as if you would not use an apple router, Am I right?

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by macnerd10 / November 7, 2009 10:23 AM PST
In reply to: time capsule

They are among the most expensive. Other than that, no real cons. My tactics is to Google for reviews and choose the best or one of the best. Usually works.

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