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timkins
06-05-2017, 07:52 PM
When I purchased my MAC a year ago I was told emphatically NOT to put any anti virus programs on it as it was not necessary. This past Sunday in the local paper (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) there was a question answered by the local Computer Guru about AV programs and were they needed. This local Guru stated that yes they were definitely needed and then went on to list about 10 virus's that could attack the MAC. Now I am thoroughly confused as to whether I need AV protection or not. Can anyone simplify this for a simple minded person like me.

harryb2448
06-05-2017, 07:55 PM
You were told right. There are no OS X viruses. The guru is a goose.

Sure there are a number of malware and adware threats. Download Malwarebytes for Mac and run it in scan mode every week or so. For some years AV software companies and so called gurus have been calling malware and adware as 'viruses'. Why? Increase sales of AV software to Mac users. Also consider usingAdBlock Plus and Ghostery to keep nasties at bay.


https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/

chscag
06-05-2017, 08:01 PM
I have no idea who this local computer "guru" is that writes for your local papers, but he may be confusing malware with viruses. Viruses are self replicating, malware is not. And since there are currently no viruses in the wild that can infect your Mac, AV software really is not needed. However, we leave that decision up to you. Most AV software uses resources and will result in slowdowns. There are some packages that are less interfering.

We recommend using a malware scanner. Malwarebytes is one program that we recommend. By the way, I'm sure you will get other replies to your post. You might want to do some searching of our forums. One of our members (Randy Singer) has written several very informative posts on this subject.

Rod Sprague
06-06-2017, 12:02 AM
Unfortunately this terminology issue also applies to the developers of software. What has been said above is all true but to add to the confusion for consumers, perhaps partly due to the blurring of lines, developers who produce security apps are also labelling their software as anti virus when they actually mean anti malware or anti adware.
You will find anti virus software in the Mac App Store for example but if you check them carefully you will see that they do other things like scanning for adware or "vulnerability" which is really rubbish but it sounds good.
I concur with what has been said, there are only two things we Mac users need to worry about. Adware, easily blocked with free browser extensions and Malware such as the excellent Malwarebytes.

Randy B. Singer
06-06-2017, 02:45 AM
Now I am thoroughly confused as to whether I need AV protection or not. Can anyone simplify this for a simple minded person like me.

Among Macintosh users the term "malware" is used to describe any sort of malicious software. So Worms, Trojan Horses, Viruses, etc. are all malware.

Macintosh users refer to "viruses" to mean self-replicating malware. That is, malware that doesn't require user intervention to spread.

To complicate things, many Windows users use the term "virus" to refer to *all malware*, no matter what the type. Though the correct technical definition of "virus", even in the Windows world, is the more narrow definition that Mac users use. See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_virus

Now, there *is* malware (though a very limited amount) for the Macintosh. Here's a list of all known malware for the Macintosh, save for a couple of more recent examples:
http://www.thesafemac.com/mmg-catalog/

About half of what is in that list is now extinct in that it does not exist in the wild. The other half tend to be extremely rare, and/or are not a concern because updates to OS X, or to Java, or to Flash, have provided some degree of inoculation against them. (You can still get them if you haven't updated your software, or if you have turned off certain protections, or if you are running a very old version of the MacOS, etc. But even then, since all of this malware is rare, you still aren't likely to become infected.)

There are only two pieces of software in the list I cited above that could be technically defined as "viruses" in that they are self replicating. None of these currently exist in the wild. (I'm not sure that either ever did.) So, anyone who says that there are "no viruses for the Macintosh" is technically correct if they are speaking about self-replicating malware existing in the wild (an admittedly narrow definition), but incorrect if they really mean that "there is no malware for the Macintosh."

There *is* malware for the Macintosh. However, at the present time, there is so little risk posed by Mac malware that the vast majority of Macintosh users don't run third-party anti-virus software. Despite this you just about never hear a believable report of any Mac users becoming infected.

Of course, there is already anti-virus software built-in to the MacOS:
XProtect/File Quarantine/Gatekeeper
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xprotect
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201940
http://www.macworld.com/article/1165408/mountain_lion_hands_on_with_gatekeeper.html
http://www.thesafemac.com/mmg-builtin/
... and Apple has been quite good at automatically updating this software are new malware threats arise. In fact, Apple often updates your OS to inoculate you against malware threats even before you might hear about any new such threat.

Now, couple this with the fact that just about all of the fully interactive third-party Macintosh anti-virus programs have been known to cause severe slowdowns, and sometimes nasty software conflicts. This gets you to the common guidance that "anti-virus software for the Macintosh is often more trouble than it's worth." Nothing about this has changed. There are no recent threats to the Mac that are so pervasive or so extremely virulent or which have not been blocked by Apple themselves, that would require you to risk the performance and stability of your Macintosh to avoid them by installing anti-virus software.

The list of malware that I referenced above has, what?, about 50 examples? This is a different universe than what you will find for Windows. There are literally well over a MILLION examples of malware for Windows. In fact, the number surpassed a million NINE YEARS AGO:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7340315.stm
If you follow Windows-oriented publications or news sites, you will see that there are new, seriously malicious threats introduced practically on a daily basis for Windows.

My best advice is to not get your Macintosh advice from a Windows user or from the popular press. Totally ignore anything they say about the Macintosh, even if they are nationally, or internationally syndicated. Get your Mac advice from Macintosh news sites and related resources.

As a postscript, "adware" isn't at all malicious, it's simply very annoying. So it is not technically considered "malware" in the industry. MalwareBytes is excellent for finding and eradicating adware. As it is free, and not fully interactive (so it won't cause slowdowns or software conflicts), there is no downside in using it for that. However, no matter what it says on their Web site, MalwareBytes is not a comprehensive anti-maiware solution. If you don't believe me, you can prove it to yourself by running any good commercial anti-virus program. See how long it takes to do a scan. Then run MalwareBytes and see how long it takes to do a scan. (Spoiler alert: you can't comprehensively look for and deal with malware in about 20 seconds. Good anti-virus software usually takes hours to do a scan.)

I hope this makes things clearer.

pigoo3
06-06-2017, 03:42 AM
When I purchased my MAC a year ago I was told emphatically NOT to put any anti virus programs on it as it was not necessary. This past Sunday in the local paper (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) there was a question answered by the local Computer Guru about AV programs and were they needed. This local Guru stated that yes they were definitely needed and then went on to list about 10 virus's that could attack the MAC. Now I am thoroughly confused as to whether I need AV protection or not. Can anyone simplify this for a simple minded person like me.

Please read some of the threads in the "Security Awareness" sub-forum (which is where this thread is located). This topic has been well discussed.:)

- Nick

harryb2448
06-06-2017, 05:14 PM
Done to death actually with yet another new one today!

Randy B. Singer
06-06-2017, 08:53 PM
Done to death actually with yet another new one today!

There has been at least one nationally syndicated article printed in papers this week by someone who is not a Macintosh expert telling folks that they have to be really worried about Macintosh malware, and that there is "more malware for the Macintosh than there is for Windows." That has understandably confused a lot of ordinary Macintosh users. Some are wondering if there is a lot of malware that was suddenly released for the Macintosh.

pigoo3
06-06-2017, 10:32 PM
Lots of "doom & gloom" folks out there trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. What better way than to say Mac User's need to be concerned about malware. Maybe we should revisit this thread in 3-6 months...and see if anything really develop's.

Yes agreed. This sort of thing does confuse & create fear among the average user. Which is exactly what the "doom & gloom" folks hope for (regardless of topic). Way too much "doom & gloom" and drama in mass media these days.:(

Like anything in life...we take things one day at a time.:)

- Nick

harryb2448
06-06-2017, 11:39 PM
Said it before say it again AV software companies stirring the pot looking for sales.