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Security Awareness Discussion of all things related to the security of Apple devices.

Best antivirus for Mac


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PatM

 
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Thought I would put in my two cents worth. I am on my second MBP now. When I first switched to a MBP from windows I too tried anti-virus software. My experience was that it slowed down my machine and I never ever found anything. Six months or so after switching I finally removed the antivirus software. I have never had a problem with any virus' or malware or other anomalies. But I do only put App Store products on my system with the exception of a few things such as FxFactory, Turbo Tax and the like

I'm careful with email and never frequent the sketchy web sites. I must say that you can get things that can slow down your Mac. For instance I recently bought a new WD 2 TB hard drive. The drive had some WD software on it designed to speed up the hard drive transfers. All it did was slow down my system. Starting and stopping the computer took way more time than the normal 10 seconds or so. I watch what I install closely and so was able to figure out the culprit pretty quickly. Deleted the software and the system works perfectly again. Granted not a virus or anything else like that but just an example of how easy it is to mess up your system if your not careful.

One other item of note from my experience. Backup. Most users do not back up enough or at all. My backup routine is Super Duper for a bootable backup, Time Machine for individual files. I also use Drop Box and as a final check I backup with Crash Plan. It may appear that it is overkill but I truly have a nice collection of home movies and years of photos that are truly irreplaceable.

Most if not all of the system knowledge and expertise that I have gathered has been from this website. The advice is pretty solid in my view.

My two cents worth.

Pat

15 " 2013 MBP OS X Ver. 10.9.1 16 GB Memory, 500 GB SSD, Retina, 2.3 Ghz I7, 30GB IPhone 5, 2012 Mini Cooper JCW Coupe, 2014 Toyota Corolla, 2007 Trailblazer, 2 RC Planes, 1 fantastic wife who puts up with my toys. Still Married After 30 Years.
burnedfaceless

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
For the OP in case I did not post it.

Avira Free Antivirus software - Download free virus protection now

It scores almost to the top of that test Bobtomay posted and seems to not drag the system down.
Thanks I will check this one out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
The easiest way to avoid Java flaws is to just avoid Java entirely if you don't need it. If you do, be vigilant about keeping it up to date along with keeping yourself aware of what you're doing with Java apps.

Flash is slowly becoming avoidable but it's not quite there yet (especially for online video). As with Java, keep that one up to date and be smart.

Javascript is trickier since you can't really avoid it...at all. For instance, there are 21 different Javascript files loaded for this page alone. If you want to avoid it, you're going to have a very boring internet experience. This doesn't mean you can't be safe though.
Yea man but comparing security holes in Java v. JavaScript is kind of silly. JavaScript is very unlikely to cause problems.
Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
ClamXAV picks up everything that will affect OSX.
Actually, if you read Thomas Reed's latest test of all of the available anti-virus software for OS X, you will see that ClamXav doesn't do as thorough a job as one might hope for. It only identified 72% of the malware samples in the test:
The Safe Mac » Mac anti-virus testing 2014

I've found that lots of folks want anti-virus software no matter what you tell them. Some have legitimate reasons to have it (e.g. their workplace requires that they have it, they have to be able to tell their clients/customers that they are keeping their data safe by having it, etc.). Others are just paranoid about malware and you can't assuage their fears. Many Mac users these days are Windows switchers and it is difficult for them to believe that the Mac doesn't suffer from malware like their Windows PC did.

For folks who feel that they must have anti-virus software, I recommend this one, because it is the best at recognizing known viruses, and it's free:

Virus Barrier Express
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/viru...11642093?mt=12

However, once you use it to do a scan, and you have satisfied yourself that you don't have any malware on your Mac, I recommend that you uninstall it. The thing is, most anti-virus software is more trouble than it's worth to keep installed.

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vansmith

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
Many Mac users these days are Windows switchers and it is difficult for them to believe that the Mac doesn't suffer from malware like their Windows PC did.
This is a problem though - it does suffer from malware. The extent may not be as bad but some of the malware has been quite pervasive. Running a non-obtrusive AV doesn't hurt if it provides the user with piece of mind and helps to fend off malware.

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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadDave View Post

For myself and from my readings, Adobe Flash & JAVA Script seem NOT to be a malware concern (of course always keep these updated),
You are correct, at this time there are no viable exploits for either in the wild. There are fake Adobe Flash installers floating around, but that threat has been patched by Apple. It is still, IMHO, a good idea only to get your Flash updates directly from Adobe's Web site
Adobe - Install Adobe Flash Player
when a notice to update Flash comes up on your screen. See:
The Safe Mac » Fake Adobe Flash players persist

You can find out which version of Flash you currently have installed, and what the latest version is, here:
Adobe - Flash Player

And it's really great that Flash and JavaScript are currently safe, because lots of Web sites rely on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadDave View Post
BUT JAVA is indicated to be potentially dangerous, esp. if not kept up to date?
Correct. Java is a security hole that new exploits regularly seem to appear for. However (and this is very important) all of the Java-based exploits to date have only concerned the Mac's Web browser. There have been no exploits that have taken advantage of Mac applications. So, even though many have advised to avoid Java completely (including Java-based applications), their advice is a bit overboard. A quote:
"This is a major issue, and it cannot be stressed often enough: if you haven’t done it already, it’s time to disable Java in your web browser!
...Second, uninstalling Java completely, as some experts have recommended recently, is absolutely unnecessary!"
The Safe Mac » Java is vulnerable… Again?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadDave View Post
In going into Safari Preferences (on Mavericks), I can find only Java Script as an option to disable (probably not necessary) -
In Safari 7 (in Mavericks), go to:
Safari menu --> Preferences --> Security --> click on Manage Website Settings
There you have fine control over how Java works on each Web site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadDave View Post
SO, bottom line is JAVA... still even an issue in the newer OS Xs?
Yes, sadly it is. But the good news is that very few Web sites rely on Java. And if you have a mission-critical Web site that you must access, Safari can be set to enable Java for only that (trusted) Web site.

Randy B. Singer

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
This is a problem though - it does suffer from malware. The extent may not be as bad but some of the malware has been quite pervasive.
If you are running the default settings, and have kept your Mac updated with Apple's security updates, there is currently no active malware that can infect your Mac. Apple includes (mostly invisible to the user) anti-virus software in OS X, and they have been pretty good about keeping it updated to deal with new threats.

XProtect/File Quarantine
File Quarantine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
OS X: About the "Are you sure you want to open it?" alert (File Quarantine / Known Malware Detection)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Running a non-obtrusive AV doesn't hurt if it provides the user with piece of mind and helps to fend off malware.
I help hundreds of Mac users every week on about a dozen Mac forums. I can tell you unequivocally that *yes* it can hurt. Just about every anti-virus software program that does interactive scans has been implicated with causing some nasty software conflicts on users' Macs. Sometimes this results in decreased performance, sometimes it manifests itself as a rotating cursor that shows up way too often and impedes your work, sometimes as flaky behavior. See:
Macintosh OS X Beachballs!

As I said, if we can't dissuade you from using anti-virus software, I recommend that you download the free Virus Barrier Express, do a scan with it, and then when you find that you don't really have any malware that you uninstall it. That way you can have peace of mind and your Mac won't be negatively impacted.

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dtravis7

 
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Randy, does Virus Barrier Express run in the background after you close it? What I am seeing is if you close the app it's gone and nothing running unless I am missing something. Avira and many others even if you close them have processes running in the background.

Doing a Scan with VBE and CPU is around 14% and Ram usage maybe 38Mb.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Randy, does Virus Barrier Express run in the background after you close it? What I am seeing is if you close the app it's gone and nothing running unless I am missing something.
From the App Store page, it looks like it does fully interactive scanning. (That is, yes, it runs in the background all the time.)

Personally I use the full commercial version of Virus Barrier:
Mac Antivirus Protection for Business - Virus Barrier 2013
Not because I think that I need it...I don't. But because in my work I need to be able to tell clients that I have anti-virus protection. (Because they usually don't know the difference between a Mac and a Windows PC.)

The full commercial version does fully interactive scanning. I've never had any problems with it whatsoever (though I have heard from a couple of users who have), but in the past decade it has never once flagged anything that I needed to be protected from either.

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macgig

 
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some say you don't need AV on mac. Can't hurt to have it. 22 yrs on mac, I've always used free AV protection and never had a virus or malware that I was aware of. I'm not risking it, the protection is free. may as well use it.

I've used clamXav for a few years. it's got an ugly interface. Just installed avast, and I like avast.. avast makes a great AV for the PC, and the mac version is good too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
............
In Safari 7 (in Mavericks), go to:
Safari menu --> Preferences --> Security --> click on Manage Website Settings
There you have fine control over how Java works on each Web site..............
Hi Randy - thank you for addressing my post w/ your thorough comments - concerning the above Security tab, only JavaScript is present which I do have enabled; in 'Manage Website Settings', I see no Java (do have Adobe Flash, Amazon DL, & QuickTime), so assume that it is not on my computer. Dave P.S. running Safari 7.0.1
burnedfaceless

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
Actually, if you read Thomas Reed's latest test of all of the available anti-virus software for OS X, you will see that ClamXav doesn't do as thorough a job as one might hope for. It only identified 72% of the malware samples in the test:
The Safe Mac » Mac anti-virus testing 2014

I've found that lots of folks want anti-virus software no matter what you tell them. Some have legitimate reasons to have it (e.g. their workplace requires that they have it, they have to be able to tell their clients/customers that they are keeping their data safe by having it, etc.). Others are just paranoid about malware and you can't assuage their fears. Many Mac users these days are Windows switchers and it is difficult for them to believe that the Mac doesn't suffer from malware like their Windows PC did.

For folks who feel that they must have anti-virus software, I recommend this one, because it is the best at recognizing known viruses, and it's free:

Virus Barrier Express
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/viru...11642093?mt=12

However, once you use it to do a scan, and you have satisfied yourself that you don't have any malware on your Mac, I recommend that you uninstall it. The thing is, most anti-virus software is more trouble than it's worth to keep installed.
What? The adage doesn't hold? 400 French sailors I mean Mac users can be wrong and I shouldn't follow their path.

If the front of your sail starts luffing that's called a header, you need to tack as soon as you see that.

In seriousness thanks for the detailed information.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgig View Post
some say you don't need AV on mac. Can't hurt to have it.
We've already addressed this. Many AV packages continue to run in the background...which depending on the computer...can slow things down...sometimes a lot. This "slowness" is then experienced 100% of the time using the computer. For some folks...this is too high of a price to pay for virus protection on a computer that is very unlikely to "catch a virus".

We've had many a member complain that their Mac was running slow...we later found out they were running AV software. After uninstalling the AV software...computer speeds returned to normal.

As also has been said MANY times in this thread. Running AV software is a personal choice. There are risks & rewards (although personally...I find it hard to find the rewards in the current computing environment).

Quote:
Originally Posted by macgig View Post
22 yrs on mac, I've always used free AV protection and never had a virus or malware that I was aware of. I'm not risking it, the protection is free. may as well use it.
Since virus's/malware on a Mac are so rare...this analogy is like a person living in Miami, Florida who says..."Been living in Miami, Florida for 22 years. Brought my Buffalo, New York snow shovel with me...and haven't had to use it yet!"

Chances are...if you didn't run any AV software on your Mac's for the last 22 years...you most likely would not have gotten a virus. Nothing is 100% in this world. But when it comes to virus's and Mac's...we are pretty close to 100%...especially if basic "safe computing" practices are followed.

Just something to think about.

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I dunno I'm pretty safe when it comes to computers. On Windows I'm aware of processes and can detect processes that disguise themselves when I really was learning it.

I've learned computer security and I respectfully disagree that Macs can and will get viruses even if you play it safe.

Granted Mavericks has an autoupdate feature. I've tried to tell my brother and sister to download Mavericks but they're dumb and probably won't.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burnedfaceless View Post
I've learned computer security and I respectfully disagree that Macs can and will get viruses even if you play it safe.
They most likely will. It's an operating system, not a vacuum in space. It is not perfect and the notion that they are somehow impervious to viruses neglects any recognition of one simple aspect of human history - if something can go wrong, it will. What evidence do you have that would suggest that OS X is somehow prepared for a future that no one can foresee?

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