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

virus protection


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urbanman2004

 
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I would suggest ESET but for some reason it causes my Mac to freeze up and I have to restart my machine. Sophos would probably be your next best option.
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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanman2004 View Post
Sophos would probably be your next best option.
Sophos is one of the anti-virus programs most often associated with slowdowns and persistent beachballs. (Though not for everyone. So there is no need for folks to post "but it works fine for me.")

The best choice, in terms of both efficiency in detecting different types of existing malware, and in rarely causing flaky behavior, is Intego's Virus Barrier. (However, I've heard of at least one instance where a user's Mac exhibited the rotating beachball problem when using VirusBarrier.) Unfortunately, the free version of that program was pulled from the Mac App Store because of Apple's policies regarding apps that interact with other programs. Intego doesn't make the free version available from its Web site. But the full commercial version is still available directly from Intego:

Security and Protection for Mac | Intego

The Safe Mac's Thomas Reed switched to recommending Dr. Web Light when
the free version of VirusBarrier was pulled from the Mac App Store.

The Safe Mac » VirusBarrier removed from App Store

However, I see that Dr. Web Light is no longer available from the Mac App Store either. Fortunately, Dr. Web Light is still available for free from the Web:

Dr.Web CureIt! — download free anti-virus! Cure viruses, Best free anti-virus scanner!

At the recent WWDC, Apple announced that it will be easing Mac App Store restrictions on applications that interact with other applications. Hopefully that means that free anti-virus programs will return to the Mac App Store.

Randy B. Singer

Mac OS X Routine Maintenance • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanman2004 View Post
I would suggest ESET but for some reason it causes my Mac to freeze up and I have to restart my machine.
I guess this is a good reason not to recommend ESET.

- 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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chas_m

 
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Luckily, "virus" has a clear definition, so we don't have to rely on people's personal interpretations of what it means. And by the standard definition of a computer virus, there are no viruses for OS X (nor are there ever likely to be).

That said, the Mac can still be made vulnerable through the use of social engineering malware, trick ware and other types of malware (malware ≠ virus). Apple has done A LOT to contain this problem, but cannot defeat human gullibility (or in some cases good ol' stupidity).

I think Randy's last paragraph in his earlier post summed up the situation nicely:

Quote:
I can tell you that I've used one of the top-rated anti-virus (AV) programs, Intego's Virus Barrier, continuously ever since OS X was released, roughly 13 years ago. I use AV software, not because I think that I need it (I don't think that I need it), but because my work requires it. In all that time, my AV software has never flagged anything that I actually needed to be protected from.
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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Luckily, "virus" has a clear definition, so we don't have to rely on people's personal interpretations of what it means.
I don't think that it is at all clear. At least, it isn't clear that it is the definition that you want to ascribe to the term. To the majority of computer users, "virus" equals "malware." The only people who know the difference are computer nerds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
And by the standard definition of a computer virus, there are no viruses for OS X
I think that it is misleading to go around saying that there are "no viruses for OS X" without qualifying yourself, when you know that most people take that to mean that there is no malware for OS X. The latter not being the case at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
(nor are there ever likely to be).
It's not likely, but it's also not impossible. There have already been several viruses created for OS X. "OSX.Exploit.Launchd" was a proof-of-concept virus for OS X that appeared in 2006, as was "Inqtana" and "Macarena".
The Safe Mac : Mac Malware Guide

Some of the more advanced versions of Flashback might also be defined as viruses, as they are completely self-installing and self-propagating. (Of course, there are Java patches to protect you from Flashback now.)

The above is not intended to indicate that there is a significant malware threat for OS X (there isn't at all), or that Mac users need anti-virus software, or that they should be afraid of malware. Relative freedom from malware is still a big strength of the Macintosh platform.

But folks who go around saying that there are "no viruses for OS X" and that there "never will be" in order to get users to believe that there is no malware for the Macintosh are incorrect and they need to educate themselves.

Randy B. Singer

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chas_m

 
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With respect, I must protest the over-simplification of my previous post. Words have meanings, usually clarified in dictionaries. They don't just mean whatever people want them to mean, or think they mean. As an attorney, you are better acquainted with this than most people.

So when I say the Mac doesn't have any viruses nor is likely to ever have any, I base this not on my own personal interpretation of what constitutes a virus, or any "layman" version, but on the generally-accepted definition seen here and elsewhere:

https://www.wordnik.com/words/computer%20virus

I'm not responsible for, nor can I edit my posts to accommodate, the fact that people often confuse any sort of malware or problem they don't understand with the term "virus," anymore than I can endorse the US political interpretation of "socialism." I have to use the accepted general definition in order to communicate my point properly.

In my previous post, I qualified my statements correctly based on those definitions (you even quoted me qualifying that I'm using the standard definition of "computer virus"!). I didn't say -- and took pains to avoid the inference -- that because the Mac doesn't suffer from viruses means that it is immune from any sort of threat. As for Flashback and similar threats, we both should have mentioned that Apple itself includes an anti-malware tool within OS X -- called XProtect -- that is silently and periodically updated to stop such third-party threats, further removing the need for users to worry excessively.

In my view, the right way to have an intelligent discussion about potential threats to the Mac is to make sure that we're all using a common nomenclature with the standard definitions understood. This is especially crucial in a text-based medium, which is why people here spend a LOT of time (gently and patiently) deciphering and seeking clarifications on what inexperienced users describe so that we full comprehend what they intended to say and mean. It's very important -- as important as giving the correct answer as you so often and brilliantly do -- that we not create false impressions by allowing incorrect definitions of words to propagate. Allowing "virus" to mean "any kind of malware threat" by accepting that terminology would wreak great harm, and consequently I did and always do take the time to clarify what I mean when I say there are no viruses for Mac.

In my original post, I didn't say there "never will be" viruses as you infer at the ending. I actually said "nor are there ever likely to be," which is not the same thing. Nothing is impossible, but there are some things we can be pretty certain about even if its not possible to quickly prove it. I've drunk the kool-aid on the truth of evolution, despite my lacking a degree in biology. I understand UNIX and OS X (and in particular what Apple has done with regards to security over the past few years) to make that statement with great confidence and understanding of what it would take to create an actual "virus" for OS X today.

We are, as far as I can tell, on the same page when it comes to viruses and significant threats to the Mac. You've mistakenly claimed that I'm trying to "get users to believe that there is no malware for the Macintosh" when in fact my post above *very clearly* qualifies the "virus" statements to NOT include malware or other types of threats, as a re-reading will confirm.

My long record of posts to Mac-forums on this topic also consistently differentiate between the threat of "computer viruses" and other sorts of threats, as I think you would find doing a search. If I'd said "there aren't any viruses on the Mac" and left it at that, it would be true but worthy of score for being incomplete, and not helpful in disseminating the reality and complexity of the situation.

Luckily, I don't do that.

As always, I marvel at the thorough and updated tips and program recommendations you freely provide for users here and elsewhere. You are a much-appreciated resource that I am constantly referring others to when they want the straight scoop on all things Mac. Thanks very much for all you do, sir.

Last edited by chas_m; 06-08-2014 at 06:32 PM.
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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Words have meanings, usually clarified in dictionaries. They don't just mean whatever people want them to mean, or think they mean. As an attorney, you are better acquainted with this than most people.
In addition to being an attorney, I have two degrees in Anthropology. Within that field I've studied both linguistics and folklore. I know that language, including the English language, isn't static, and it isn't as a third grade English teacher might portray it. Words mean what people think they mean. They aren't set in stone, nor are they governed by a strict set of rules imposed by some authority. A dictionary definition can therefore be incorrect and/or hopelessly out of date. (Dictionaries get updated all the time.) In linguistics we use the term "common usage makes it right." And if common usage has made something "right", then it is not necessarily appropriate to go around forcing another definition on people. Indeed, some folks consider this to be annoying and rude. (Hence the term "pedantic.")

As an attorney I know that to be clear, you need to use the best words so that folks understand the idea you are trying to get across. Often that means using common idiom, if that seems the best choice, rather than go through the trouble, and uncertainty, of educating your audience.

I rarely come across anyone who is a personal computer user who thinks that "virus" means anything other than "all malware." Only folks who hang out on computer discussion lists all the time commonly know the difference, and not always then.

That being the case, I never assume that anyone knows the dictionary definition of "virus", and I never use the term without defining it if I don't intend it to mean what my audience likely thinks that it means. Doing otherwise would be misleading.

Most Mac users don't care about the difference between self-propagating malware (viruses), and Trojans, etc. At least they don't in the context of the question: "Are there viruses for the Macintosh?" All they want to know is if malicious software threats exist that they should be concerned about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
As for Flashback and similar threats, we both should have mentioned that Apple itself includes an anti-malware tool within OS X -- called XProtect -- that is silently and periodically updated to stop such third-party threats, further removing the need for users to worry excessively.
Go back and read my previous posts in this very thread. I mentioned Quarantine/XProtect and even gave links to more information about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
In my original post, I didn't say there "never will be" viruses as you infer at the ending. I actually said "nor are there ever likely to be,"
Yes, and I agreed. Writing a virus for OS X is hard. It's time consuming and expensive and it is likely not a profitable endeavor for the sociopaths who might consider writing one for profit.

But, as I pointed out, there have *already* been several viruses created for OS X. I was just making the point that while it may not be "likely", that it isn't impossible as many folks like to go around saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
... If I'd said "there aren't any viruses on the Mac" and left it at that, it would be true but worthy of score for being incomplete, and not helpful in disseminating the reality and complexity of the situation.
Exactly. Saying that "there are no viruses for the Macintosh" is technically correct, but, given the definition that most people use for "virus", it would also be a deceitful statement without further explanation.

Thank you for your clarification!

Randy B. Singer

Mac OS X Routine Maintenance • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html
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