5 Mac AntiVirus Tools for OS X (And Do We Need Them?)

Wait aren’t Macs supposed to be immune to viruses? Can Macs really be attacked by malware? Should you be protecting yourself?

Today we’re going to take a look at five popular Mac AntiVirus utilities and jump head first into the raging debate about whether or not they should even exist. No matter which side you’re on, you’ll definitely want to check out the information below.

Why Macs Are So Safe

One of the most amazing benefits of being a Mac user is that you simply aren’t as prone to malicious virtual attackers. The primary reason for this is that the core architecture of OS X is designed to be secure right out of the box.

So why is this architecture so secure? One of many answers is that OS X heavily restricts global actions that can be performed by third party applications and utilities. What this means on a practical level is that if you hypothetically downloaded something that was tainted, it shouldn’t be able to get at your important system files.

This technique, known as “Sandboxing,” essentially blocks those silly people who sit around and create viruses (seriously, get a life man!) from doing too much damage.

Downstreaming

Keep in mind that just because most infected files won’t hurt your machine doesn’t mean you can’t act as a carrier and pass them along to your less fortunate PC brethren. If you’re of the type that loves to forward every random spam email you get (and you shouldn’t be), then you could in fact be spreading malware.

So Should I Be Worried?

There will always be Chicken Little Mac users screaming about how the sky is falling and that our hubris will lead to our eventual demise via some new Mac virus that will eat our very souls. Likewise, there are also plenty of users that stubbornly claim that Mac viruses are about as real as the Toothfairy and will always remain strictly in fantasy.

So who is right? Perhaps a more realistic view is to take the advice of the very people who created OS X: Apple inc. Here’s a screenshot of a friendly cautionary message from their site:

screenshot

A Message from Apple

There you have it, straight from the source. Granted this message is quite vague and was probably included on the advice of Apple lawyers just to protect them from any litigation, but it still holds a bit of truth in the area that I highlighted: “no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat.”

Whether or not you believe that you’re more likely to get hit by a bus while being struck by lighting during a fatal heart attack induced by over-exhaustion on a unicycle than to get infected by a Mac virus, there are still several precautions that you should consider.

Staying Safe: The All Natural Way

Before we look at the third party virus protection options, you should know a few simple techniques you can use to keep your Mac safe.

Software Updates

First of all, the most important thing you can do on a regular basis is to always install OS X Software Updates when they pop up (especially the Security Updates). It’s never a convenient time to take a break and let them run but I can’t stress enough that you need to make time for these.

screenshot

Never Ignore the Software Updates

Apple is awesome about recognizing security threats and addressing them as immediately as possible. This is yet another reason Macs are so resistant to outside intervention. When someone does come up with a clever way to manipulate a weakness, the issue is quickly solved and sent to you in the form of a Security Update. If you ignore these updates for an extended period of time, you could be failing to protect yourself against a widely publicized threat.

Protecting Your Files

While OS X goes about its business of automatically protecting your important system files, they leave it up to you to decide how much protection you want for your personal documents.

screenshot

OS X's FileVault

Go to System Preferences and click on Security to find the FileVault. Here you can encrypt all the data in your home folder to make them harder for anyone, physically present or not, to get at.

Be Internet Smart

Aside from this, just remember to use your brain when using the Internet. Don’t download anything from sources you know nothing about. Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know or even acknowledge stupid chain letter email forwards from people you do know.

If your Mac tells you that a site is bad and that you shouldn’t enter it, take the advice. Keep in mind that OS X will always warn you before opening anything you download from the web. This is almost a pointless warning though as it pops up for good and bad files alike and should therefore only serve to remind you to consider the source of the download before proceeding.

Anti-Virus Software

As Apple pointed out, even following the steps above you won’t be absolutely 100% safe. If you’re still worried about potential security threats remember that you pretty much can’t ever be too safe. Here are a few options that promise to protect you from the virus thugs.

Norton AntiVirus

That’s right, the same people that keep all those PC users safe from the never-ending sea of Windows attacks also offer protection to Mac users.

screenshot

Norton AntiVirus

Features:

  • Antivirus
  • Internet Worm Protection
  • Automatically detects and removes viruses
  • Scans and cleans downloaded files and email attachments
  • Protects against attacks that target software vulnerabilities
  • Delivers industry-leading protection in the background, so you can work and play without any noticeable impact on performance

Price: $49.95

McAfee VirusScan for Mac

McAfee is another big name in virus protection. VirusScan promises to protect you against “all types of viruses and malicious code, even new unknown threats.”

screenshot

McAfee VirusScan for Mac

Features:

  • Continuous policy enforcement for multiple files, directories, or volumes, including volumes on remote computers connected through the network.
  • Protects your Macintosh systems against all types of viruses and other threats, including emerging malware.
  • Uses the Mac OS X interface, you can initiate on-demand scanning using file drag and drop
  • Scans files as they are accessed to determine if they are infected with malware

Price: $19.99 (from CDW)

ProtectMac

For what it’s worth, ProtectMac is definitely one of the more attractive options on the market. I’m much more prone to trust someone with the protection of my Mac if they prove they really understand OS X by actually developing an application that looks and feels right at home on Snow Leopard.

screenshot

ProtectMac

Features:

  • Designed by security experts to keep you protected from today’s computer threats.
  • Real-time file-access scans, scheduled background scans, user scans, Finder scans and automatic scans of volumes.
  • Learns which files and applications are important to you, ensuring that access to these ‘hot’ files is as quick as possible without compromising computer security

Price: $44.99

iAntiVirus

iAntiVirus is attractive, extremely easy to use and claims to be “designed from the ground up to detect and remove Mac specific threats.”

screenshot

iAntiVirus

Features:

  • Perform a variety of scan types
  • Protects your Mac against infections in real time
  • Quarantines all detected infections, allowing you to easily view and restore items in the case of a false positive
  • Designed to work silently in the background, threats are blocked and removed without any system impact

Price: $29.95

VirusBarrier X6

VirusBarrier X6 definitely has an interface that’s all its own and claims to be the “only antivirus program for Mac that includes full anti-malware protection together with firewall, network protection, anti-phishing, anti-spyware features and more.”

screenshot

VirusBarrier X6

Features:

  • Includes a powerful two-way firewall, extending the program’s protection beyond detecting and eradicating malware
  • Protects users from intrusions, attacks and booby-trapped web pages
  • Detects suspicious actions carried out by applications that may be malicious
  • Protects users from phishing web sites that try to trick them into entering personal information
  • Users can choose a level of CPU time to be allocated to background scans

Price: $49.95

Closing Thoughts

Though I can hold my own on both sides of the Mac virus debate, I should admit that I don’t actually run any virus protection myself. However, my reasons for this are purely experience related (and therefore not the best to follow).

I’ve been using Macs for well over a decade. I’m on the web at least ten hours every day for work performing all kinds of research as well as downloading apps and design resources from obscure sources. I receive tons of email from all kinds of people I’ve never met. Despite all this, I’ve never come across a single file, application or website capable of doing any damage to my system.

That being said, I am still cautious. I follow all the common sense advice I gave above and generally avoid apps that seem like they really mess with important parts of my Mac (ShapShifter anyone?). I also simply never visit the types of sites that are most famous for distributing viruses and other malware (you know the sort).

Finally, I keep hourly backups of all my important data via Time Machine so if anything does go wrong I can just restore my system to where it was before the event occurred.

That being said, I think taking the extra step to purchase anti-virus software is neither overkill nor the result of being unnecessarily paranoid. It’s a great step towards protecting your Mac and something you should absolutely consider. I daresay you won’t spend too much time regretting taking the extra precaution.

Leave a comment below and let us know where you stand in the virus debate. If you do use virus protection software, which app is your favorite?


  • http://www.sullysrants.com Sully

    Great Read – So many Mac users believe there is no threat… Although the threat is low, it does exist. Users who multi-boot or use VM’s should be running some form of protection.

    • Uncle Nate

      Yes. A pleasant little article.
      However, what is NOT listed is the effectiveness of each product.
      What is NOT listed is to what degree the various product Slow Your Computer Down. For example on a 2010 Mac Pro and a 2009 mac mini, Intego Virus Barrier 6 slowed both down 20%. Both were removed.
      What is NOT listed is the fact that if you combine more that one AntiVirus programs you will have serious issues. Example: eSet for Mac and Intego are 100% not compatible. Expect to spend one hour on the phone and otherwise removing one or the other or both.

      • Matt Matheson

        Install two AV products on any machine, and you’ll experience problems. It’s not a sensible thing to do.

      • Brittany D

        Why would anybody want to install 2 concurrent AV products?? It’s like using 2 condoms, they WILL break!

  • Schellman

    I missed the excellent freeware ClamXav on the list.
    http://www.clamxav.com/

    Sophos Antivirus is missing, too.
    http://www.sophos.com/products/enterprise/endpoint/security-and-control/mac/

    Other than that, a great read indeed. Thanks.

    • shutupayouface

      clamxav is nearly impossible to update, and the support forums aren’t much help. used to be a great product, but now it’s not worth your time.

      • cabreh

        Let’s see, open ClamAV, a pop-up says there’s a newer version. Would I like to install it? Click Install. It gets downloaded and installed.

        Not so hard. In fact downright easy.

      • Leonardo Armando Iarrusso

        You can update in any moment. It’s very easy.

  • haxrat

    i think kaspersky for mac and eset for mac are good apps

  • http://mactech.ca Carter

    Figured I would add to this seeing that I’ve been testing all of the listed Mac AntiVirus applications listed here and others. I’ve testing and researching this as I needed to find a suitable application for 13 college campus’s across the province for our Macs and for us the best suited one turned out to be VirusBarrier X6.

    Norton does not have a Mac enterprise version…. you have to install a Windows based control server then export the Mac version from that. They only have a home version.

    Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac worked fine except they don’t have much control over when updates get sent/updated. They do it over the day in small doses so they are not done all at once…. but why bother seeing that Mac Antivirus updates are so small anyways.

    iAntiVirus seemed to be ok as a free product but does not have much for control but hey, it’s free.

    ClamXAV has been out for some time and I would say is the original Mac AntiVirus product but seeing the only version that works for Snow Leopard 10.6 has been in Beta since Aug. 2009 & a full version has not been released yet.

    We found that the best over all control for Mac Anti-Virus was VirusBarrier X6 & I must say great support!!! They were always helpful and prompt with emailing or calling back when needed.

    A great site for Mac AntiVirus info, review etc. is http://www.antivirusmac.com

    • http://mactech.ca Carter

      Also…. I really think a nice Free consumer product needs to be released that works as well as M$’s Essentials & AVG Free but I think the demand right now is not there enough for a Free Mac AntiVirus product to be on top of things with updates etc. ….. this is why I suggest VirusBarrier X6 for a Consumer or enterprise if you want constant and reliable updates.

      • Apple*

        Forget VirusBarrier X6.

        It crashed my machine about 5 times a week! (Crashlogs clearly identified their faulty kernel extension)

        Then I had to discuss 2 weeks with them to get a refund.

        Honestly, they used me as a beta tester asking for logs over and over gain. First negating their responsibility then trying to negate the refund.

        I had a long time of experience with Intego products: Always well designed, always buggy as hell.

        Remember FileGuard? Never again …!

  • http://techhaze.com Florian Wardell

    You guys urgently need to change the article icon.

    • http://mactech.ca Carter

      Why? Can’t go wrong with Mario!!!!

  • http://wisser.me Jonas Wisser

    The threat’s out there; I once wound up with a keylogger through sheer carelessness and a refusal to run antivirus apps. These days I use ClamXAV, since it’s free, open source, and—let’s face it—has an interface that’s no worse than any of the apps mentioned in this article.

    Why antivirus UIs are so universally terrible is a thing I will never understand.

  • http://X111.com XIII

    So… we should pay about $50 for what exactly? For the possibility someone might some day develop a mac virus that could maybe actually do something?
    Yeah… maybe not.

    • robert sinister

      STFU idiot.

      • http://www.mistywindow.com/ Alan Henderson

        How very constructive.

  • Michael Schemer

    How about a free antivirus solution?

    ClamAVX – ClamAV for Mac OSX. ClamAV is available for Linux and Windows as well. It keeps up-to-date and is very effective.
    http://www.clamxav.com/

    Also, iAntivirus has a FREE edition for personal use:
    http://www.iantivirus.com/download/

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      I’m glad people are bringing this up as I was wondering about it. The page looked a little dated so I didn’t include it because I was afraid it was no longer in development.

    • Mario Pavlou

      I have been using iAntivirus for a year now. It was all good for a while but eventually noticed it using up a lot of system resources and CPU even when not scanning. Then recently I bothered to notice that the daily update was not updating. Checking the pcTools website and forums, no admin support since Oct09 and the last app update Aug09 I am thinking that iAntiVirus is dead. Avoid.

  • http://www.sayzlim.net Sayz

    Be Internet Smart, not easy for simple PC user.

    • http://abdusfauzi.com abdusfauzi

      agree with you.

  • M

    Well sandboxing was a help like 10 years ago, now virus can exploit several OS X bugs to get admin privileges and so.

    The big reason to say OS X have less virus (and malware in general) is just about the market percent. The kids (or not so kids) who make viruses want something, your data. And they will choose the typical windows machine you can find in places like homes, study places, coffeeshops, etc. There will be more people who check their bank accounts on windows than os x.

    Also the last security conferences give us a fact: os x is the easiest operative system to crack (in the current versions).

    And Sully above, if you run multiboot stuff or virtualmachines, the architecture for a virus on windows or linux it’s commonly different, so, they can’t run over os x. This is not for 100%, but i would be more scared about some weird software you can download or some websites than if you run windows xp on that.

    Security starts with you, and not system (not even freebsd) is perfect.

    • Nick Nicholson

      Also you are much more at risk if you install Acrobat Reader, Flash, Java, or other 3rd party software that integrates with your browser. Typically, these have vulnerabilities that are easier to exploit than the OS itself.

  • http://www.der-prinz.com Michael Oeser

    I run iVirus on my iMac and Macbook because:

    1. I come from a Windows world and I am used to use ant-virus software
    2. I run WinXP (also protected) on a virtual machine on my mac
    3. I do feel a bit safer anyway

    • India

      I have to agree Micheal. I just bought my 1st mac and after being a long time Windows user I just feel safer knowing I have some type of anti-virus software running.

      Good article Joshua.

      • http://www.cravingtech.com Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

        Just got a second hand macbook 2 days ago and I’ve been wondering whether I need to install an antivirus, coming from a Windows person lol

  • http://www.home.mcafee.com Michael Bolton

    Hi All,
    McAfee have launched two new consumer products for the Mac.
    Internet Security for Mac and Family Protection for Mac.
    The product listed above is primarily an enterprise solution whereas MIS and MFP are designed specifically for consumer use and maybe of more interest to home users.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      Thanks for the input! It’s good to have solutions for both enterprise and personal use.

  • Denis Ilyushin

    I use Kaspersky antivirus on my MBP and, although, it hasn’t found any mac-specific virus yet (only tons of Windows-specific was found on my friends’ flash drives), I think it’s better to run antivirus on background anyway.
    Question about running antivirus on Mac is “better yes, than sorry” question. When Macs will become more popular more viruses will be created

    • CaribDigia

      Kaspersky is awesome. I used it on the “PC-compatible” side years ago and loved it so I took my admiration over to Mac side. (Only to keep the PCs from getting anything.)

  • Dan

    AntiVirus? We don’t need no stinkin’ AntiVirus!

    Seriously, if you’re on a Mac, don’t waste your money.

    • eXodes

      Instead of wasting, if you call it a waste, ClamXav is the best way. Up-to-date and it’s an open source too. Sentry function for ClamXav is just brilliant. : )

    • http://www.mcafee.com Michael Bolton

      I understand your comment and you are correct – to a degree.
      Mac users are not vulnerable to the same viruses and threats that have traditionally plagued PCs. Mac users are now just as susceptible to online risks as PC users. With the rise in adoption of the Mac OS, hackers and thieves are increasingly focusing their efforts to develop attacks that will work on Macs. AV on it’s own other than in an enterprise setting is probabbly not the most relevant product to have but McAfee ( and many of the other suites provide much more than AV )
      With over 3 million ipads sold in such a short time – believe me there are criminals wondering how to monitise those users. They don’t care what OS you have they just want your credit card, spam you, and get your identity details.

    • Venetian Worry-er

      Why have malwear protection? – why have house insurance? – we all know my house is never ever going to catch fire or be subject to an arson attack! And nobody using Windows is ever going to sue me if I pass on malware to them. And my Bank also asks me to download (free) Kapersky AV for Mac – if I don’t will they cover me for online fraud?

      Long live ClamXav!

    • http://[email protected] ydk2

      viruses, rootkit ,keyloger … is everywere on M$ , Mac , Linux.

  • http://www.MomentumAutomation.co.uk g

    missed out avast

    I only use it so im not passing a virus to someone else (windoze user) without knowing.

    • Fabian

      If you have a Mac anti virus software, it should not recognize viruses designed for Windows.

  • http://www.MomentumAutomation.co.uk g

    ohh and clamAV – we use that on one of our windoze servers, without slowdown or problems, not used it on the mac’s though.

  • federico reinoso

    My last virus in mac was in late 1988 and was named nVir, from then i never use a antivirus again.
    Also i must said, Apple have only the 4% of the market, and its more “profitable” for the attackers make virus for Win/PC than for mac.
    So, beware, dont run apps you dont know where from and you will be safe.
    Also i recommend run the always omnipresent PPS you receive (or send, you know you do that!) with quick look rather from Micro$oft Powder Point because the macros hidden in a PPS “could” harm your app and maybe open a port for the intruder.
    Just my thoughts from almost 20 years with Mac :D

  • http://www.laughinglion.us sheala

    I put iAntivirus cause I got it free around the time there was some Mac problems with Quicktime or Adobe PDFs or whatever. I don’t run it all the time. I let it scan my Mac when I restart (once a week or so) and then I shut it off, to save resources.

    Still, I had virus problems on my PC and idiot problems on my Mac, so I believe in back as the best safety net.

  • Matt

    I got a free version of VirusBarrier X5 from MacHeist last year I think and had the hardest time with it. All sorts of background processes all the time (even with real time scanning turned OFF) that I couldn’t kill and pretty difficult to uninstall. It’s hard sometimes to not look at it as its own form of malware on a Mac.

    That said, there’s really no reason not to snag a free copy of ClamXav as stated. Run it every once in a while to make sure.

    Also, I just have to say that I find it hard to believe that a Mac is safe due to the low market share. Sure, it may have been an initial factor, but I just can’t believe that not even one hacker out there would think it worth his/her time to score a huge virus hit on OS X after years of people saying it can’t be done. Especially if (as commented above) it really is the easiest OS to crack. I understand there’s not much profit, but what about the sheer hacker cred for getting a live exploit out there damaging OS X??

    Doesn’t fly.

    • iyyy69

      The “market share” concept is not based on the lack of economic incentive or hacker cred – it’s based on how viruses spread. Just like viruses in people, you need a critical mass of infections for the virus to spread. With such a low Mac market share, a mac virus never reaches critical mass and the infection dies out.

    • Jake

      I am sort of glad to hear that I am not the only person who has had problems with the version of VirusBarrier X5 contained in the macHeist bundle.
      My experience with this piece of software was horrendous in the end I decided to delete it entirely. That process in itself started another fresh set of bad experiences as it was extremely difficult to uninstall all traces and even now I sometimes get system update messages for updating virus definitions!

      I also second ClamXaV wholeheartedly.

    • Apple*

      FULLY AGREE on VirusBarrier. Great piece of junk.

  • Milo Marsei

    There is absolutely no point in having an antivirus app for your Mac, and the reason is simple:

    There are zero (0) viruses for Mac. And that’s a fact.

    • http://www.mcafee.com Michael Bolton

      I hate to disagree and whilst the number is very very very low, Our McAfee labs have identified a small number of Mac viruses. It is possible to create one and they do exist. I spend time with a number of people whom I can only describe as being cyber security experts and they have no axe to grind or objective but monitoring the cyber world they have seen them.

      • Milo Marsei

        Well of course the antivirus manufacturer would say that viruses exists, otherwise their existence would be pointless. Ghost hunters must claim that ghosts exist, otherwise they’d be out of business.

        But I’ll say it again: there are NO (zero, 0) viruses for Mac. There have been a couple during the years, but at this very moment there are none, and probably won’t be in the near future.

        And if you still claim there are, please identify these viruses. Something tells me you won’t be able to identify any.

      • Safari Guy

        Yes, there are viruses. I had (have?) an internet addiction and until a few days ago I surfed the net daily to any number of hacker websites–sites you can’t even get to unless you have your browser java configuration set a certain way. They WILL try to infect anyone who shows up uninvited. My Norton antivirus would pick up viruses on its weekly scan from time to time and occasionally it would quarantine files, about once every three months or so.

        Eventually my Mac started to slow down and basically do infection related things and Norton AV would never find anything. It was driving me nuts. Eventually I tracked it down to out of date Firefox Add-ons. Updated them, installed Norton Firewall and now things are back to normal–although I’m now a Safari guy.

    • Kris Medlin

      This statement is just plain wrong. There are viruses for macs.

      I used to work at McAfee.com and Network Associates, and i will tell you i received calls daily from mac users looking for virus protection because they had viruses on their macs. Granted the volume of calls was a considerable amount less than those for PCs, but non the less – daily.

      • Frank amitchell

        I just purchased my first mac, and after reading your comments about viruses, I must ask you. In your opinion, what is the best virus protection for a mac????

    • Sarah

      Well, I have had my Mac for less than a year, and I “caught” a virus in my Mail Spam folder that basically shut down the Mail. It’s still there, and the free “Sophos” anti-virus program I downloaded can’t touch it. It’s a Mal Object: the link below gives info on it, doesn’t load it…

      http://www.sophos.com/en-us/threat-center/threat-analyses/viruses-and-spyware/Mal~ObfJS-B.aspx

      So I’m shopping for a new anti-virus program; it’s starting to look like “you get what you pay for.”

  • matt

    i tried virrus Barrier, What a terrible program. Crashed often, and made my machine run slow. Half speed no matter what i set the CPU limits too. Fans on full time, etc. I removed it after a week.

    • Apple*

      Guys, so happy I realize it wasn´t only me ending up with a f* up machine after installing VirusBarrier X.

      Could someone please remove this product from the article? I do not want others to suffer from trying ..

  • Delamberg
  • David Anderson

    The reason Macs are so secure is because they are the minority. If Macs became the most widely used computer, people would start making viruses for them, but since most people use Windows, it’s most effective to create a Windows virus.

    • Milo Marsei

      Keep telling yourself that. But the real reason is that Windows is so easy to screw with, Macs aren’t.

  • rob

    Here’s the thing: When the mythical Mac virus does come out, it’ll be a 0-day attack and none of these will help you anyway! Just like all those Windows PC’s that got taken out a few weeks ago by the virus from Italy.

    Not to mention, Norton and McAfee (and I’m sure the others) are a huge drain on your system. They will slow it down like no other. Plus, both of those programs have auto-updated themselves in the past with a ‘bad’ update that can make your computer refuse to boot or lock your user out!

    • Pete Peterson

      I think the real risk is all the Mac users who believe they don’t have to worry about computer security.

  • http://www.forwardmusic.wordpress.com Robin

    Great read, thanks for the advice.

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  • http://www.artenscience.com Steve Cholerton

    I don’t think choosing a security application on the strength of the UI is relevant or sensible. In many shops the UI is done by a UI guy who may not know anything at all regarding computer security.

    ‘I’m much more prone to trust someone with the protection of my Mac if they prove they really understand OS X by actually developing an application that looks and feels right at home on Snow Leopard.’

    For example, take a look at Steve Gibsons (grc.com) apps, and he’s a pretty bright guy when it comes to security :-)

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  • Dennis Bird

    What about ClamXAV, you cover all commercial apps. Been using Clam for long time

  • http://momoge.com/ yun

    thnks for info..

  • http://nickian.com Nick

    Little Snitch is also a great tool. It lets you monitor and control outgoing network traffic.

    http://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

    • Apple*

      Yep, great tool. But no help against viruses.

      ClamXAV is a good start – if you remember to run it often enough.

      And stay away from any software via file sharing sites, especially commercial licenced products.

      Its VERY EASY to write some small script to take over your OSX machine, and you would not even realize it. Most user cannot identify every legal OSX process from a nicely named malicious script.

      Since the malware market on OSX is small, AV vendors for Mac could need weeks to month to get hold of one of these home made scripts and offer protection.

  • Ruben Tapia

    thanks

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  • CaribDigia

    Macs have evolution on their side too. The Mac OS is based on Unix which has been developed and screened for flaws over decades—-. Whereas the chief competitor is an O/S essentially developed from scratch every few years. Therefore, when their Kernel becomes (theoretically) better-screened for flaws, that is about the time that the chief competitor scraps the O/S completely for brand new code. And thus a new Internet Exploder is born. I just converted to Mac and I’m not looking back.

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  • TMAN

    OK EVERYONE LISTEN UP!!!!
    I am a converted PC to Mac User and was told the same crap… MAC Does Not Need an Antivirus, I believed it….until just this week my credit card had 2 Grand $2K stolen out of it over the internet!!!! The Bank did a search and informed us we had a TROJAN Virus on our MAC!!!! YES MAC she said, I said, but we have a MAC?, She said YES on YOUR MAC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The card was not skimmed if thats what your thinking. NO…. through a VIRUS
    Oh and to add to insult I was running the FREE i-antivirus goes to show that don’t work!!!
    That is why I am searching through forums to find a good antivirus.
    Think about this. MAC’s are getting more popular and the crims know it. Don’t you think it is just a matter of time before they hit MAC Users, maybe I got hit with their first big strike? So you all know when this happened it is December 2010.
    Thanks for all the reviews I think I will give Virus Barrier X6 and get this Apple sell it on their Web Site… Go Figure and they told me it was the best out there!!!

    • TheMaccc

      First of all, it wasn’t a virus. There. are. no. viruses. for. the. Mac.

      It might’ve been a trojan at the most (supposing that you haven’t been scammed, which much more probable).

      Anyway, you should use Sophos free antivirus (Home Edition). It’s completely free, as good as their commercial version, and it’s an Apple Staff’s Pick in the Networking and Security section of the Apple Downloads website.

    • Wes

      THE BANK DID A SEARCH on your computer? The BANK? They did a search on your computer? And the BANK found out you had a trojan? On your computer?

      Just how did the bank do a search and determine you had a trojan? Did you physically drop off your computer and let them do a scan or a ‘search’?

      They didn’t! They are just covering themselves. Don’t believe them.

      What probably happened is the website you were accessed was hacked. Your data can be stolen over the internet while transmitting (regardless of type of computer or even if you are using a mobile phone), or the website you sent your data to can simply be broken into.

      The bank does not have the ability to determine if you have a trojan on your computer. They wouldn’t know HOW TO SCAN A MAC or what to look for! The website you sent your data to was HACKED, plain and simple.

      • Flo

        I think Wes is right. The website you sent your data was hacked. Data sent via website, not virus.

  • tom mockel

    Good read on MAC security. I’ve had serious problems with Intego. Had to hire a MAC consultant to completely clean my machine and start over. The Consultant claimed that Intego is a problem and told me “do not use this software anymore”. I’ve recently downloaded a program called MACKEEPER which has an antiviris module within. Any comment on this product??

    • Wes

      Do NOT USE MACSWEEPER! Their website is down and they have been identified as a rogue software.

      Read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacSweeper

      It is intended to ‘scare’ you into purchasing the $40 program for life. Nearly every antivirus/malware program out there has identified it as a threat and will remove the application for you or provide instructions on how to do so.

      Do not use Macsweeper.

      • Wes

        Mackeeper, is ok! Some users confuse Macsweeper for keeper and run into a bad situation.

        I have heard good things about MacKEEPER.

  • Tula

    I was attacked by a hacker through something called ssl, hacking my email, I need to know how to protect my mac

  • George Gray

    I have a Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac10,1

    My BANK told me to get antivirus because I had a Virus.
    They have shut down my “Online Banking”.

  • Dano

    Hi, I’m a new Mac user, 27″ with Snow Leopard Os (stunning machine) having run my home based air conditioning business since 2005 using Win Vista OS. I used Kasperskey IS all this time and have had Zero virus or trojan infections affect my P.c. along with excellent customer services (email or phone). even glitches with any updates have been sorted out very quickly, and the option to upgrade to the latest version free of charge while your licence is valid.
    From experience, nothing is immune to attack from people that instead of working for good only want to steal from you. you know the type, you can see then in all forms of life, Leeches, Fleas, head-lice, tape worms, Ticks, you know all the usual blood sucking parasites.
    I am now using windows 7 along side my Mac OS x with parallels, as all my years of correspondence is in Outlook and Office, and cannot be transferred to “Mail”.
    Kasperskey has never caused my Pc to run slow, or used up too much resources.

    i am running Kasperskey 2011on my Mac Os x and a separate version on my Win7 Os. i know i have now the very best of protection, as they will have a cure for any new virus within two hours of discovery and this will be launched to all Kas users.

    I dont care if you are willing to believe you are immune to attack. history has shown us countless times how foolish this attitude is and many more will suffer because they never learn.
    get protection. i’m not paranoid, I just want to be the one to be able to say “I told you so” only fools believe themselves immune and there are plenty parasites out there willing to show them just how foolish they really are.
    if you think your information is less valuable than the cost of the protection. fair enough live life free and happy. but don’t tell everyone “it cant happen” that is extremely foolish and childishly naive.

  • Luke Hsu

    I would love to see an update to this article now that ClamXav has been updated for 10.6 (v2.6) and ESET has released their Mac AV.

    Also, as many have already pointed out, just because there haven’t been any notable Mac viruses to date, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to protect yourself for that day when someone much smarter than all of us figures out how to author something malicious. As long as you run an antivirus that doesn’t eat up your system resources, it can’t hurt.

    I’m a huge fan of ESET on my Windows 7 for its low system impact. So far, ClamXav 2.6 seems to run unnoticeably in the background on my Mac, but I’m curious to hear from anyone who has tried ESET on the Mac OS X.

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  • Damian

    Sophos Anti-Virus is free for home use, and can be downloaded directly from the Apple site.

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/networking_security/freesophosantivirusformachomeedition.html

  • sharon

    never occurred to me I might need protection. But tonight I suddenly got a pop up for something advertising to “clean my Mac” and I could not get it off the screen. The only option was to click OK. I was afraid to do that, so I instead closed Safari completely. What was that, and how on earth did it pop up?

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  • Liz Denton

    If you have a MobileMe account, beware of Virus Barrier X6. It works fine for ages and then you can find synchronisation problems with MobileMe.

    Only way to deal with it is to completely uninstall and reinstall Virus Barrier and then all seems fine for ages until it starts again. This has now happened to me 3 times and MobileMe operatives have told me it is not completely compatible with Snow Leopard.

  • http://www.wiredoffice.com.au PCHelp

    Avast Free edition also have a lightweight scanner for Mac

  • iMacChicks

    Interesting read! I’d always tried figuring out what the risks were, if any. I’ve decided to try a free one, just for peace of mind! I before finding this article, I found ‘Avast’ on the Apple website, so i figure it must be pretty good & a trustworthy programme… and best of all, it’s free :)

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/networking_security/avastantivirusmacedition.html

  • Gary

    On May 6/11 I installed MacKeeper Basic Cdn. $38.88 which apparently has no expiry date. Previously I was using Kaspersky Anti-Virus however every time I had to restart my iMac I had to re-install the Kaspersky program as it could not be accessed.

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  • http://www.tinalear.com Tina Lear

    I am on a MacBook that’s completely updated (OS 10.6.7) and just got hit. Opened an email, and got the “Apple detected Trojans and are ready to remove them”. I stupidly bought it, because I’ve owned Macs for a decade and never saw it before–so now I’ve got a virus. You say at the end of your post, “I also simply never visit the types of sites that are most famous for distributing viruses and other malware (you know the sort).” But I don’t know the sort. What are they?

    • you get it now

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  • JIM CONDES

    Thanks Guys for the messages posted here… It helps a lot, now I feel safer whether my MAC has or no AV software

  • Shannon

    I have a trojen on my mac currently and can’t figure out how to get rid of it. I downloaded the sophos program and it just tells me I have to mannually fix the prob. huh…any way here is what I have troj/ClsLdr-V. we use some windows for mac program to acess university..so there you have it..

  • Daniel

    I am a programmer, and for anyone reading this crazy stupid post, you are reading lies. Mac OS is no more secure than any other computer operating system.
    Half the Mac users around the world could be attacked and they wouldn’t even know because they think Mac’s are safe and therefore don’t have virus protection!
    They wouldn’t even know!

  • LAUGHOUTLOUD

    You probably shouldnt be using a Mac anyway if you believed that Crap! Hahahaha!

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  • Datahoover

    The main reason Mac users buy anti-virus software is after reading the fear-filled posts on websites such as this. 20 years I’ve been using a Mac, and so far I’ve encountered nothing. When the threat is real I will buy some protection, until then, why bother. I back up, and so far the worst I have seen is a recent fake trojan alert generated by a website which encourages you to download dodgy software. If you fall for that, then your in for a rough ride with or without anti-virus.

  • Lee

    @ Datahoover,

    Yes. Yours is a post made by genuine Mac owner. I am bored with people telling us that Macs get viruses when WE are the ones who know. Us who actually own & use them, not the “us” who are trying to sell unnecessary software to the gullible for profit, or Microsoft fanboys / employees. You can clearly see the difference in posts (above), some of it is quite funny – someone posted that their BANK scanned their Mac (lol!) & someone posted “Apple detected trojans…” – so Apple do remote AV without asking now, do they?

    One of the main entry points for attack would be Email. I think the gullible people who open dodgy emails & click on the malicious link (simply reading a mail is not enough, you need to give permission for it to install) are the ones too lazy to change the security settings in their Email client, be that on-board or web based, like hotmail.

    Gullible and/or lazy people get viruses.

  • Becca

    Thank you everyone for the fabulous information and great discussion. My kids have been Mac users for many years, but I am a fairly recent convert (just over 1 year and totally loving it)

    I downloaded ClamXav a couple of days ago (6/5/2011) before I ran across this discussion, thus far all it’s found are some emails that it identified as spoof (emails about the new pdf, though some are airline newsletters).

    Thankfully, I am careful with email and do NOT follow links provided in emails – e.g. if I receive an email from an airline about miles, then I go to the bookmarked airline site and log in to check my account status – so no detected trojans or worms wiggling around in my Mac ;-)

  • mark lozano-ross

    Stay away from Sophos. I tried to run it on my G5 and all it did was crash my machine. First, the Sophos “disk scan” failed to complete after numerous attempts, even after downloading an “update.” Next, once I decided to just remove the program, the “remove” program failed to complete. After three restarts, the first two failing to launch successfully, the Sophos “remove” program finally worked. PHEW! What a relief! The only damage: my USB back up drive is corrupted. Disk Utility is trying to “verify” it as I type this. Oh well – I guess you do get what you pay for! No more anti-virus crap for me. I’m going back to running my Mac the way I have with all my Macs for the last 20 years without a virus…

  • mark lozano-ross

    Oh great! Disk Utility reported that my USB back up disk had an “invalid sibling link” and needs repair. Upon running “repair disk” Disk /utility crashed. All this after using Sophos….thanks Sophos!

  • mark lozano-ross

    Oh great! I had to restart after Disk Utility crashed – and now my USB back up drive failed to be mounted….not on the desk top…thanks Sophos!

    • nanci

      thanks for sharing, really. i was inclined to download sophos but i am sure now to not to.

  • Mike

    I’ve owned various models of Mac since 1987. Although I worry about the possibility of getting a virus or getting hacked, (that’s why I’m reading this article and researching virus protection), I never have. It doesn’t mean I never will, just that I never have.

  • gailub

    Okay…so yes, like many others on this page, I downloaded iAntivirus (from PC Tools). And like many here, I have come to realize that…well…it may be dead in the water. Latest version: August 2009 =____= come on! REALLY?!?! So now I’m browsing for another AV app out there. For those that believe there are (and will be) no virus’ on the Mac – you are entitled to your opinion – and I’m not here to argue. But being a PC user, who only recently converted to a Mac (2 years ago, and might I add THE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE YET!!!!!), it’s better to be safe than sorry (PC paranoia I guess). Any suggestions?! I was thinking of the Sophos, mentioned above…but a few posts are beginning to pull me away from that choice (even though it was – and still is – an Apple Staff Pick)

  • Neftun

    Ok, yesterday i did a websearch for antivirus on mac and stumbled upon this site. I´ve never bothered with virusprotection before, but I am a electronics retailer, and a salesrepresentative from Symantec insisted that protection was necessary, even on my macbook, so I decided to check it out. I´ve never been to keen on Norton, even from my troubled pc years, so I downloaded the free Clamxav instead. The program just finished scanning, and found absolutely no threats on my four year old computer. All I´ve ever done is to keep the computer updated, and in general done the same things recommended in this article. What I´m saying is this: Keep your general wits about you and it´s highly improbable that your mac is threatened:)

  • Anu

    Any advice on Eset. I am a fan of it in PC, has anyone tried the Mac version of it.

  • SG

    Question… Many downloads or app installations will ask you to disable your protection. Which package is easiest to disable/enable? Should app installations that require disabling protection be avoided?

    Great info on the article and blog!

  • http://www.pchelpforyou.co.uk Computer repairs manchester

    you can get i antivirus for free as long as your not a business, worth checking out, although the more programs you install the slower the mac become.

  • http://www.gadgetpundit.com George

    Having just found that my daughter INSTALLED a trojan that modified (at least) the /etc/hosts file (and god only knows what else), I am still wary installing an anti-virus / trojan piece of software. I have told my daughter that she installed a “software update” NOT directly from Apple. So being worried that the anti virus stuff won’t really help againt that and will, in fact, slow down her machine. I will not be installong anything. Her machine got the trojan that stops one’s being able to connect to Google. I just wish Apple were more clear about what they know about and what they have fixed.

  • Coffee-fan

    I am writing this on my Macbook pro. I love my Macs and my iPad 2, and I have been a long time user of Windows. Although there is some truth in saying that OS-X is more secure than windows, it is not a static, nor absolute, equation. The following reasons:

    1) Threat follows value: The Mac, up until a couple of years ago did not prove a real interesting target for hackers, simply based on the law of numbers and the ROI that a hacker would get for an OS-X virus. Good hackers are not script kiddies.

    2) Saying that the OS “sandboxes” something, because it protects from global actions, is a dangerous mis-conception. The truth of the matter is that what I care the least is a Virus that does damage at the system level. I can always restore system stuff from distribution CDs. What I do care is about Viruses that are able to touch *my personal stuff*. Now, any process that is running as me, can touch my things, because the process is running as me. Just look at the latest “Java script” based attacks against Macs, which are the same ones that have plagued Windows.

    The bottom line is that any OS, starts it’s life as a more or less clean sheet, then if it becomes successful, the demands that success and the market impose are “new apis” which likely are not as clean. So in the long run, that OS ends up being a victim of its own success and five or ten years down its heyday, the OS is a piece of software bloated, with plenty of attack points.

    So: Get an anti-virus, and no, I do not sell them and hate them but they may be a necessary evil.

  • sob

    while viewing a movie online, not downloading it, the movie bar started to act in a strange manner by running forwards and backwards very fast. When I was able to click in the menu bar, the computer would automatically scroll all the way to the right … File…Edit…View… Bookmarks… Window… Help. Very fast and on its own. When it got to the end, It would scroll down and stop. I was able to click in finder to Applications but it did the same thing, on its own like someone was holding down the right arrow button and when it couldn’t go right, it would scroll down to the first folder, then go right, then down… I disconnected the modem.
    I managed to get to Disk Utilities and run the verify & repair permissions then shut it down and restarted it. It seems fine now but I’m wondering do I have some bug or virus that I may spread or was this not a bug/virus/malware issue.
    That’s what got me to this discussion in the first place as I was looking for some software input and there seems to be a vast array of knowledge in this discussion.

  • http://www.poisonapple.org/ car price

    So being worried that the anti virus stuff won’t really help againt that and will, in fact, slow down her machine. I will not be installong anything. Her machine got the trojan that stops one’s being able to connect to Google.

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  • ks

    For those users who do install antivirus software and are using parallels, do you install a separate antivirus for windows as well as for mac?

    Would installing antivirus on the mac automatically protect the virtual machine?

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  • Chuck

    Apple user since I bought a //c in 1986-87. Used Norton for a while. Norton didn’t play nice with Macs in the 1990s. Went w/o coverage until I got the last pure Mac (iMac G5, iSight 2.1 GHz with the last Motorola Chip. Bought VirusBarrier X4, X-5 and X6. (Now have a intel iMac G-5–iSight ethernet jack broke & since it was hardwired to motherboard, estimated repair was $900, got the intel G5 for $1k.). Each new version of VirusBarrier has been worse and worse to use. Upgrade to Snow Leopard really hosed it. I have an invisible folder from X-5 that will not be deleted, even though I changed to make invisible files/folders visible “.vbt5″. Virus barrier spend 2-3 hours looking at one file when this file appears. Now X-6 cannot run in the background if I want to use the internet and a search machine such as Google. Look for “Sears”, “Home Depot”, or “McDonalds” as a search term, and Safari, FireFox and Chrome bring up thousands of hits. The first few hits in the center and on the right side of your search results are called ‘”ads”. But in most cases, “www.sears.com”, etc, is EXACTLY where you want to go. VirusBarrier X-6 blocks you from accessing it, ( you get a message that lists the website it went to as ” ‘ACKL something’ and ’1 pixel’ ” and their customer support says, uninstall and reinstall to fix both problems. Doing so does nothing. Neither is fixed. X-4 and X-5 blocked 1 IP address because it tried a “port scan” on my iMac, ( X-6 blocked three more in the last week–one of which I think is the IP address for Google!)

    Having to turn off your anti-virus software in order to access the Internet pretty well defeats one of the main reasons for having anti-virus software, doesn’t it?

    I conclude VirusBarrier X-6 is incompatible with Snow Leopard.

    For Trojans and spyware and key loggers, I have MacScan, which says it has found about 30 tracking cookies in the last 4 years.

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  • Krishna

    Hi, Joshua please let me know how is mackeeper for my macbook should i consider it for my macbook how effective will it be.

    Regards,
    Krishna

    • http://xps.unmix.ca Beej

      I am an IT Professional. I own and operate a reputable Computer Repair Service company with a large customer base. My team and I literally clean and repair many computers (MACs + PCs) every day.
      …we are the people you call, when things go wrong, at a last resort before throwing your computer out the window and tearing out your hair…

      Here is my MAC advice:

      - Do not use MacKeeper! It sometimes removes more than it should (system files, app resource files, etc.) causing crashes, boot failures and hanging. Use this app only if you would like to support computer repair people like me ;)
      *Use “Clean My MAC” instead! Great for removing temp files, uninstalling apps and cleaning unused junk.

      - Do your Updates! MACs do get Viruses! There are hundreds (apposed to hundreds of thousands on PCs) known that can run on OSX. Some listed here: http://www.securemac.com/. HOWEVER, after scanning, cleaning and repairing thousands of MACs from various customers (residential and corporate) I have found 1. Yes ONE single virus which we removed easily through a simple MacUpdate.
      *So, just keep your computer updated and you are 99.9% worry free! For additional mind easing scan your Mac HDD with the afore mentioned ClamXav on occasion or even activate ClamXav Sentry for real time protection (this is going absolutely overboard in my opinion as it will unnecessarily slow your nice swift MAC down and your chances of infection are next to none).

      The main things to keep in mind are:

      - Do your MacUpdates!

      - Software (including viruses) need your permission with password to run on your MAC.

      - Try not to install 3rd party apps. If you do, simply scan it with ClamXav before installing. However, the AppStore is the safest way to go.

      - …and if you’re a Windows user – use AVGFree combined with MahlwarebytesPro ($25 life time license) and pay a service tech (hehe) twice a year to virus sweep and re-optimize your machine … or just get a MAC and put me out of business :(

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  • Steve

    There is no reason to believe that the Mac is any more secure than any other computer. Its still a computer. Mac has only enjoyed relative safety in the past because its products were such a small portion of the consumer market.

    What is even scarrier is that when a rash of viruses hit macs in early 2011, Apple flat out denied it was happening and refused to support those who thought they had the virus. Apple practices head-in-the-sand security much more than it does sandboxing.

    I have had one mac or another for 7 years and loved them, but the claim they are more secure is PURE MARKETING and NOTHING more.

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  • Charlene

    Could someone explain to me why you need an antivirus program on the mac side of your computer if you run VM ware. I use AVG on the windows side, but nothing on mac. Why does it matter? (I am not a young computer whiz… )

  • Fruitless

    Lovely… No flash, no java, no games, no viruses… why use Mac???

    And yes, there are simple ways to hack a mac… just follow pwn2own. Their are backdoors in your Macs, just as their are under Windows. Only that Mac has absolutely no protection mechanisms against it.

    If some Virus or Trojan is for example trying to steel your personal information, you would use AV to prevent it under Windows. In Mac you can only hope that Apple will remove the App out of the App-Store and protect your contacts being sold.

    But expecting that this kind of iUsers which can get happy with i(diot)Mac/-Pad/-Pod/-Phone apps & gadgets would notice the danger would anyway be to much.

    Normal user will type “m.cnn.com” in browser and save it as a bookmark. iUsers actually don’t even know that one can read CNN without an app. How one could possibly explain them all the wast of circumstances in which they are in danger under such conditions?

    Best way for any Windows user to avoid the internet dangers is to ban the Macs from the network, as a private person to simply stop any communication to a Mac users.

    So, if anyone needs some AV solution, then it is iCrap users. But can’t blame them on seeing it… One needs more then eyes to be able to see ;)

    No flash, no java, no games, no viruses… No Mac.

  • needlestosay

    Have you ever seen “Idiocracy”? Rising Mac sales are the proof of it.

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  • Joseph

    “Mac is awesome at finding security threats” … LoL – “Awesome at finding” things that don’t exist … Interesting. And very typical of ignorant person with their Mac-head in the sand!

  • http://www.newbramj.com kasm saleh

    I use AVG free anti-virus but I use it on PC I don’t know about Mac if it is available

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  • Dan

    If you don’t run AV, how do you know if you have a virus or not?

  • Simon Allen

    With the recent Flashback trojan, I did some research on Mac antivirus software.

    My conclusion is that antivirus usually does more harm than good.

    All the Mac OSX antivirus software slows the Mac down considerably and increase system instability, making crashes and hangs more frequent.

    Worse, many of them actually make OSX more vulnerable to malware, not less.

    Norton has a ‘stack overflow’ vulnerability which allows hackers to insert software onto your machine.
    Sophos generates many false positives which results in it attempting to delete important system files.

    In fact, all the current commercially available Mac antivirus software definitely increase the risk of your computer failing and have documented bugs which will slow down and occasionally crash your computer. The risk of getting a virus is only hypothetical.

    The day may come when antivirus software is necessary for Mac OSX but when it does we shall need much much better software than is available today.

  • Ace

    Mac is still a computer with vulnerabilities. Viruses for Macs may not be existent now (which I believe DO exist) but sooner or later a virus maker may decide to do something out of fun or boredom and makes a virus that will target Mac users. Getting an antivirus wouldn’t hurt as long as you install the proper ones that will not slow your system down tremendously and will not alert you of false positives. I was a PC user for years and I’ve used free AV software (AVG and avast! they worked fantastic on my PC and detected viruses well) and NEVER have I gotten a single virus in my PC. When I converted to Mac, I immediately looked for an AV software, carrying on my PC habits. I tried out Norton and it’s great. Simple to use and didn’t slow down my system. After my subscription expired, I uninstalled it and as of now, I use Avast! I also keep my systems up to date, clear caches, regularly run DU, and so on. I basically treat my Mac like it’s a PC when it comes to maintenance, though it doesn’t need much. I have both Mac and PC (runs Windows 7) and I love them both equally.

    The important thing here is to be smart when you’re surfing the web. Do not enter malicious sites or download any skeptical files. Never entire your information unless it’s coming from a trusted, fully secured site. If you see an e-mail from someone you’ve never heard of, most likely it’s spam, scam or contains all this hated internet creatures and the immediate action is DELETE and BLOCK. Never click on ads. They’re vicious and conniving so don’t be tempted even if it offers good deals. Run your trusted antivirus software for virus detection. As they say, better safe than sorry. And UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE! The last thing you want to have is a buggy system. Also, defrag and BACK UP. It’s the number one rule in every computer. While “free downloads” are widely searched for everyday, I prefer actually buying the real product with the primary source to save my ass from acquiring possible viruses. SCAN THOROUGHLY BEFORE OPENING!

    To sum it all up, using your internet smarts is still the primary prevention from being mauled by viruses. Don’t be stupid and use your common sense. It only takes one stupid click to corrupt, endanger or end your computer’s performance, let it be Mac or PC.

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  • betz

    Wow, so much ignorance on this page.
    And no i am not a mac hater, use it from os 9, so before hipster age :)

    And about security, aplle is not safer than any other OS out there.
    Maybe it is the most unsafe for the moment, because everyone thinks it is safe.
    This is the owrst scenario an os can be in, everyone thinking ‘i dont need to look what i am doing’.
    And let’s listen to what Apple has to say about their security? Please, Apple has been known to shutdown rumors, never responding to new found vulnerabilities, or even suspend developer accounts for letting the world know they found a new exploit.

    That’s why you think mac is safe…

    In fact, few weeks ago, a new botnet was found of 600.000 infected macs.

    • Rob

      “And let’s listen to what Apple has to say about their security? Please, Apple has been known to shutdown rumors, never responding to new found vulnerabilities, or even suspend developer accounts for letting the world know they found a new exploit.”

      Yeah, these statements really substantiate your argument that Mac OS is vulnerable. These are throw away statements. “A man crashed his car on the freeway yesterday.” What man? What is his name? What freeway? Under what circumstances? The statement is probably true but there is no information or documentation or references so that it can be substantiated.

      “In fact, few weeks ago, a new botnet was found of 600.000 infected macs.” A few weeks ago? How about an approximate date and year. What botnet? How about a name or description. 600000 infected macs? According to whom? How is it determined that 600000 macs are infected? Just throwing up your two cents worth isn’t any better than the other ignorance on this page.

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you I just think that if you’re trying to educate people on macs and malware issues put something up that can be useful. These statements just add to the confusion.

  • http://www.antivirusformac.org/ R. Woods

    The fact is that so many people – especially mac users – think that their system is safe and can’t be attacked by any virus or malware. And we know that it’s not true. Apple itself has said many times that it’s better to use a virus protection. (use Google to find references). I think AVG and Norton are the best solutions so far…

  • http://www.revthatup.com Gautam Doddamani

    thanks for this article..i recently purchased a mac and i was scared if i should immediately install an antivirus but because macs are so safe i m no more paranoid now…i think i will go with a low level antivirus such as clamxav to protect my mac. :)

  • decas

    Did anyone mentioned the fake antivirus software.
    Some time ago I came across on an article that talks about the software similarly like for windows that clam to be antivirus, but actually it is the virus/trojan horse.
    I don’t remember exactly the name but the process had either osx or mac in the name
    it might be worth mentioning so users will stay away of free fake solutions

  • Jaber

    But it’s still don’t change that Mac is AWESOME ! :)

  • Daniel

    Just something to consider (probably stated here before): when people talk about the inherent safety of an operating system, they mean the system, not your files. Malicious software might be prevented from gaining root access to your system, but malicious software *doesn’t need root access* to damage or delete your personal files. As long as you can work with your own files, malicious software can mess with it, without even needing to do any trickery. That is true of any system, including Macs and Linux.

    The system safety is important if your business depends on a working infrastructure. As a private home user, having to re-install my system due to malicious software would be much less devastating than having my personal data deleted by it. And user level restrictions can’t protect you from that.

    Solutions such as FileVault serve as backups and for a different kind of security: preventing unauthorised users or malicious software from *accessing and reading* your files that you don’t want them to. But FileVault doesn’t protect you from any such entity deleting them either.

    You can protect your system from being tampered with, not with 100% certainty, but to a pretty good level. But *only you yourself* can protect your data. No system is immune in that regard. That’s a truth many people fail to mention when arguing about the security of their Mac or Linux systems.

  • chris farley

    Your reasoning “if they prove they really understand OS X by actually developing an application that looks and feels right at home on Snow Leopard”
    reminds me of Tommy Boy and putting a guarantee on the box ’cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside.” Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will.

  • Łukasz

    Try Sophos Antivirus it’s free for mac and bether on avast.

  • aman

    thanks for posting the above article. i recently bought an iMac. the application named “notes” is corrupt as of now. i did everything to repair it. but in vain. so i think maybe anti virus installation could help.

  • Norm Carlevato

    I just upgraded to OSX Mountain Lion, then discovered that my iantivirus was not turned on to protect my mac. I went to the PC Tools web site and found that they have dropped support for the mac tool (btw – their web site falls in my category of ridiculous.)

  • Klaus

    First I’ve used Norton Antivirus but frequently after Antivirus definition update was required a system reboot, which had a negative impact on productivity and brought me back into the PC-World.

    Than I’ve moved to Kaspersky, but the control of what the program does is confusing. Additionally the full scan demands a lot of time while the Mac works using nearly all resources and the fans run at highest speed.

    Now I’m looking for a really efficient and user-friendly option.

    Unfortunately the article does not compare directly the “pros” and “contras” of the listed antivirus programs. So, I’ll make another trial with a different brand.

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  • Zeafer

    There are several FREE options also availalble, although for some reason they’ve been missed in the round-up here. What’s more, there are some Tier 1 companies that offer FREE products for Mac too! FYI: I don’t run any “active” anti-virus on my Mac either… I only run scans “on-demand” on my Boot Camp partition ;)

    Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition – http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx
    Sophos are a world-leader in enterprise level, anti-virus solutions. Not as well known as “Nortons” by your local shop assistant, but ask the system admin of a large corporation and they’ll know who you’re talking about. And to quote their site, “100%, totally, absolutely, completely free. Yes, really!”

    ClamXav – http://www.clamxav.com/ or via the Mac App Store
    “ClamXav is a free virus scanner for Mac OS X. It uses the very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end and has the ability to detect both Windows and Mac threats.

    ClamXav can be setup up as passive or active: scan only the files you
    tell it to or your entire hard drive, whichever you prefer; you can also
    choose to activate Sentry to monitor your hard drive and scan new files
    as they arrive.” Also 100% free of charge.

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