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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

No antivirus is nothing more than fanboy idealism


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cptkrf

 
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Don't be a bonehead: Run antivirus on your Mac | ZDNet

He admits that he has never caught or seen an OSX virus, but that he gladly spends big money to check for them. However, since this article is by an "internationally published technology author," then I guess I need to start looking.

He might have a point. I have never seen or heard of sharks in my East Texas neighborhood, but I sleep better at night knowing that I have a full chain link fence around our property. You can't be too safe around swimming pools.

No OS is bulletproof, but if someone's Mac gets infected by a real virus, the word will get around quick enough. Until then, I prefer to use my cycles for computing, rather than dragging the performance down.
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harryb2448

 
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Yep a Mac OS X virus will be world headlines.

And a bathplug helps me control sharks cptkrf!

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Sawday

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post

And a bathplug helps me control sharks
Brilliant. I find they keep the bears away here in rural East Yorkshire too!

Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you get.
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pigoo3

 
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There's a "safety net" for just about anything…whether a likely event or an unlikely event…it's all about risk potential. If something is very likely…probably should do something about it. If something is unlikely (or very unlikely)…then the risk is not nearly as high.

If someone live's in a desert vs. a rainforest…there's a lot less need for an umbrella!

- Nick

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cptkrf

 
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Ok. Fun and sarcasm aside for a moment. We can agree that nobody has yet spotted a valid OSX virus (Or maybe they are so good that nobody has found it/them! Sorry)

I presume that includes the anti-virus makers. So what credence do we give to any AV program to work should some baddie code come along? Which science fiction author said something like, "How would you design a ghost trap, when you don't have one to practice on, and, in fact, have no idea what they are or what they look like?"

<Fun_Sarcasm>
"This is our new parachute made with a new ultra light and compact fiber. We have never tested it for real, and nobody wearing it has ever needed to jump, but we are sure it will work."
</Fun_Sarcasm>

Last edited by cptkrf; 07-09-2014 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Typo
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptkrf View Post
So what credence do we give to any AV program to work should some baddie code come along?
This is a great question. My quick answer/opinion would be…I wouldn't give much credance to any Mac AV program available at the moment.

Why? Because someone can't incorporate an anti-virus feature into an anti-virus program until the virus is "for real". So any Macintosh AV program currently available would have to be updated to incorporate protection for a yet unknown virus (especially if the virus "attacked" in a unique way).

On the other hand. I think that virus's can be written where they conform to a certain formula/recipe. So if someone wrote a "lazy-virus" (meaning they didn't write a virus that was very creative or original)…then some of the standard AV program scanning protocols may be able to spot & warn a user.

But again…since there really hasn't been much in the way of virus's on the Mac (none in the wild so to speak)…maybe there isn't a "standard formula" for a Mac virus.

So like you sort of asked…what the heck are current Mac AV programs scanning for (in terms of virus's)??…since there really hasn't been many examples (if any) for AV program developers to incorporate, or protect against.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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harryb2448

 
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And the only virus databases they can download .. are exclusively for Windows viruses which cannot run on Unix.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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GrannySueSnaps

 
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What about protection from spam and internet? Do you have anything installed to protect from that threat?

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Sawday

 
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What about protection from spam and internet? Do you have anything installed to protect from that threat?
Everyone already has something to 'protect' them from spam. It's called a brain. As for protecting you from the internet - don't go near a computer!

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vansmith

 
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I don't think anyone should dismiss A/V so quickly. Sure, there aren't any widely available viruses for OS X but that doesn't mean that they can't/won't get them. Proof of concept viruses have been written, suggesting that they can be written (source) which is understandable since, just like Windows, it's just an operating system. It is not magic and however much Apple may want people to believe the contrary, it's just a piece of technology like any other.

I find it odd that the Apple community often takes on the same kind of perspective that SUV drivers do about being bulletproof in the snow or the same perspective that some people do towards medical issues that they don't have ("don't worry, I'm too active to get a heart attack..."). There's this weird reactive approach to malware amongst a significant portion of Apple users rooted in complacency which is quite simply dangerous. Does that mean that you have to run A/V right now? Probably not. Does that mean that A/V news and/or commentary should be dismissed without any consideration? Not in the slightest.

For those who automatically dismiss anti-virus news or claims of increasing malware, can you explain to me why you do especially given the very basic fact that OS X is in no way some exception to the normal rules of OS design? I'm genuinely curious to know what the root of automatic dismissal is.

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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
For those who automatically dismiss anti-virus news or claims of increasing malware, can you explain to me why you do especially given the very basic fact that OS X is in no way some exception to the normal rules of OS design? I'm genuinely curious to know what the root of automatic dismissal is.
You know we've had this discussion before.

Let's go back to the days when Mac OS X was first released (2001). Virus problems on Windows computers are well established…so of course…automatically everyone assumes the newly released Mac OS X needs antivirus protection as well. So year after year after year after year we keep having this discussion. We are now in the 14th year of this...and we are still having this discussion.

Hey…if someone wants to either pay for a Mac AV program (or install a free app)…go for it. But that app most likely is not going to protect us (without an immediate update)…from any sort of true Mac virus. Since the AV app developers are not going to know what code to write into an AV app…until they know the attack method of the Mac Virus. It's the old story…the "bad guys" (virus developer's) will always be two-steps ahead of the "good guys" (AV app developer's). So most (or all) current Mac AV apps are probably not going to offer much immediate protection when a true Mac virus hits.

Is Mac OS X impervious to viruses…of course not…we would be foolish to think that! Will the day come when a honest to goodness virus will effect Mac's…probably. When will that day come…anyone's guess.

Given the present & historical Mac virus risk situation. I for one am not going to immediately rush into installing an AV app on all my computers. When the Mac virus risk situation warrants installing an AV app…I of course will do so.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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GrannySueSnaps

 
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The reason I asked is recently I went to a site that was definitely "porn" while doing a search on a MAC issue I was having. I know many of these sites infect your computer to where it pops up on your screen all the time once you have been there. I have McAfee Total Protection which covers my MacBook, iPhone and iPad as well as my Windows PC. Is this a waste of money?

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vansmith

 
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Sure, we've had the conversation numerous times but, and this might be a personal quirk of mine, I don't do complacency well. I also don't do reactive recovery when proactive prevention is significantly more valuable and effective. Again, I'm not suggesting that everyone go out and install an A/V product. Indeed, I agree that it's not necessary right now. My concern is more with the borderline smugness that a vocal group of Mac users adopt (I'm not making an indirect reference to anyone here, just to clarify that now and rather, this is a more general observation of something Apple itself used to be really bad for). I truly believe that a strong resistance to the very notion of A/V is dangerous because when the times comes (and it will), there's going to be so much resistance to the idea and a lack of preparedness that'll be unparalleled. So, I suppose my short argument is "there's nothing wrong with a little caution nor is there anything wrong with entertaining the idea that A/V software has its merits."

A perfect example of this is Apple's response to the Flashback trojan. It took Apple six months to provide a patch for the exploit, nearly two months after the already long overdue fix put out by Oracle (it was a Java exploit, hence the Oracle patch). If Apple is going to be so lackadaisical about security, it's hard to believe that they care much about security when it starts to fall apart.

Again, much of this is a personal discomfort with the idea of not at least considering the possibility; it's certainly not a personal criticism if you don't agree.

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Last edited by vansmith; 07-10-2014 at 10:11 AM.
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pigoo3

 
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There are certainly less knowledgeable (or more glib) Mac Users out there that want to rub the noses of Windows users in the "pile of stink" that they have to deal with in term of viruses (mistakenly thinking that Mac's are immune). Or Mac Users who simply ignore the virus possibility completely...given that it hasn't been a problem (without acknowledging the possibility of an eventual virus on a Mac). And thus may not practice "safe-computing" on a day to day basis.

I simply do a virus risk assessment based on the last 14 years of Mac OS X history (minimal risk at this point). I try to (day to day) practice as much safe-computing as possible. But I also feel that any current AV program will provide only minimal AV protection (or maybe none at all).

If there really are currently no "Mac virus's in the wild"…what Mac virus's are current Mac AV programs protecting us from?? And if a true Mac virus eventually is written…won't it be so "different" (because it may need to be to get around Mac OS X security hurdles that have protected us so well so far)…that any current AV program can't possibly offer much protection.

Even when a new Windows virus comes out…everyone is scrambling (users and AV developers both) to find a solution (AV app update). So when a new Windows virus is found/discovered…the AV apps that Windows users rely on (at least in some cases)...don't fully protect them.

This is the long standing struggle between the good guys & bad guys. The bad guys (virus writers) are many times a couple steps ahead of the good guys (AV app developers).

Thus even Windows AV programs will only protect users against known viruses…or new viruses that are not well written (look just like older viruses). So even for Windows users…they are not fully protected from new virus's (the same issue we Mac-Uers are concerned about).

Finally...as we've discussed previously…many Mac AV programs tend to require some (or a lot) of cpu resources…slowing down the computer (some AV apps more than others). So with current Mac AV apps…the downside of slowing down the computer is actually greater than the threat from virus's.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannySueSnaps View Post
The reason I asked is recently I went to a site that was definitely "porn" while doing a search on a MAC issue I was having. I know many of these sites infect your computer to where it pops up on your screen all the time once you have been there. I have McAfee Total Protection which covers my MacBook, iPhone and iPad as well as my Windows PC. Is this a waste of money?

Hi Sue - wife & I converted over to Apple (iMac & MBPro) in the spring of 2013 - at the moment, I'm not running any AV/malware software on our computers - just agree w/ the comments from many others here; and also did a lot of reading last year - if not already done, you might want to visit The Safe Mac website - one of the best and most concise discussions IMO on this topic, and one that I return to occasionally just for a 'refresher' course.

Now my main concern would be to pass along viruses etc. to my PC using friends - does not hurt OS X but certainly could devastate Windows, but in retirement no longer much of a consideration - if I added anything, then ClamXav would be my choice and it's free. Whether the 'McAfee Total Protection' is a waste of money is of course your decision, but I'll not be exploring the option. Good luck - Dave
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