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schweb 07-28-2011 04:55 PM

Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
 
Antivirus and malware for Mac OS X

One of the first questions that a new switcher asks is “do I need an antivirus program on my Mac?” The answer is usually no in most circumstance, but the truth is more grey than that.

Types of malware
First let’s be clear that there are many types of malware on the Internet including the big three: viruses, trojans, and spyware. Each behaves, infects, and spreads differently. Click each of the links to find out more.

As of now there are no viruses that affect Mac OS X. Viruses rely on their ability to self-replicate and Mac OS X makes that almost impossible.

There are a few cases of trojans and spyware that can infect the Mac, however following common sense browsing will prevent them. For example, don’t download software or other files unless you’re sure the source is reliable.

We highly recommend using Mac OS X's Guest Account feature when allowing others to use your machine, especially for temporary use.

IMPORTANT: never enter your admin password if prompted unless you’re absolutely sure why you’re being asked to do so!

Apple also offers a security site and security configuration guides:So when would you consider an antivirus program?
There are a few reasons you may consider running an AV program:
  1. If you’re paranoid about downloading and spreading malware and it will make you rest more easily, install an antivirus program to set your mind at ease.
  2. If you are in a mixed network environment with Windows machines or share files back and forth with Windows users on a regular basis, you might want to consider antivirus software. While it’s almost impossible for the Mac to become infected by malware, you can do your part of being a good network citizen by catching malware before you can pass it on to a Windows user on your network.
  3. If your school or company requires antivirus software to connect to their network.
Running Windows on your Mac? You need an antivirus program for Windows.
We always recommend running antivirus software on Windows, even on your Mac. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and does a great job. It’s important to realize though that getting malware on your Windows partition cannot infect your Mac.

Some considerations
  1. If you decide to install anti-virus software, do some research before installing it and be sure to choose a program that is not reviled by other Mac users. Some of the commercial AV packages are renowned for their ability to bring a healthy Mac to its knees (Thomas Reed).
  2. When choosing anti-virus software, always take the full set of features into account, as well as seeking out community feedback regarding stability and performance. Be sure that you know how to uninstall the software before installing it, in case it causes problems and needs to be removed (Thomas Reed).
  3. Use common sense and recognize that nothing is impervious to failure or exploitation. Your Mac, although it inherits a strong tradition of security thanks to its Unix heritage, is still a piece of software. As such, try to avoid anything shady or questionable and if in doubt, don't do whatever is making you question your activities.
Antivirus software options for Mac
Free options
ClamXav is lightweight and highly recommended by many users here.

Paid options
Paid solutions are available from several vendors including Symantec, Intego, McAfee (enterprise only), Panda, and Avast.

We recommend searching the forums to see what others are saying about specific antivirus software performance or issues.

Firewalls and Network Security

You should always enable the built-in firewall in Mac OS X when you're using a public network. You can find instructions for setting up and configuring the firewall for OS X 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6.

In addition, common sense prevails when it comes to network security. Don't connect to un-trusted networks and never accept data or file sharing requests from people you don't know.

Never underestimate having a strong password that you change often. The Mac's keychain can help with this or a great program like 1Password.

--
Last Updated: 07.28.2011

pigoo3 07-28-2011 05:01 PM

Heck of a post/sticky...nice job!:) I've used the program "1Password"...very very handy for remembering passwords & "auto-loading" them when necessary.

- Nick

Randy B. Singer 07-28-2011 07:00 PM

Macintosh OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and later contain a malware blocker!

Apple sneaks malware protection into Snow Leopard ? The Register

Intego Spots Malware Blocker in Snow Leopard | Snow Leopard | The Mac Observer

Inside Snow Leopard's hidden malware protection | Security | Macworld

Malware detection in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard | MacFixIt - CNET Reviews

Intego Security Memo - How the Anti-Malware Function in Apple’s Snow Leopard Works

Apple has said very little about this for public consumption. Apparently they don't want malware writing sociopaths to know what they are up against. However, since the malware blocker in OS X was first released, Apple has very quietly been updating it continually.

In May of 2011 there was a new Trojan Horse released called Mac Defender. It was the first bit of malware for OS X that became very widely disseminated. It is interesting to read about the lengths that Apple went to to protect us from it:

Mac malware 'explosion' missing in action | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

As of OS X 10.7 (Lion), many experts now say that the Mac OS is far more secure than any rival operating system:

Experts: OS X now much more secure than rivals | MacNN

Jsta281 11-21-2011 04:08 PM

So when installing virus protection (due to running windows) do you run windows virus protection installed via windows or Mac virus?

Is that a dumb question?

BrianLachoreVPI 11-21-2011 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jsta281 (Post 1329347)
So when installing virus protection (due to running windows) do you run windows virus protection installed via windows or Mac virus?

Is that a dumb question?

You would run it in/on Windows.

Randy B. Singer 11-21-2011 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jsta281 (Post 1329347)
So when installing virus protection (due to running windows) do you run windows virus protection installed via windows or Mac virus?

Is that a dumb question?

Not at all. (There are no dumb computer questions.)

Most Mac anti-virus software programs don't look for any, and in any case not all, Windows viruses.

So if you feel that you need Windows AV software, one of the free ones for Windows would be what you want.

AVG
AVG Free | Antivirus | Best Free Virus Protection

SpyBot (Anti-Spyware)*
The home of Spybot-S&D!

AdAware (Anti-Adware)
Get Ad-Aware Pro for Free with Lavasoft and TrialPay

Microsoft Security Essentials
Anti-Malware, Virus, Spyware Protection | Microsoft Security Essentials

hashman27 12-23-2011 10:22 AM

I just got a new Mac and was browsing around for good apps to download, and TechRadar recommended Sophos. (It's number 25 on their list of 30)

30 best free Mac programs to download | News | TechRadar

I downloaded it, and it's been quietly running in the background and it hasn't disturbed me once, which feels amazing after years of infuriating antivirus notifications on Windows!

But, what do you guys think? Is Sophos good enough or would you recommend anything better?

Chuckoir 12-23-2011 11:07 AM

A lot of the folks here wouldn't recommend using anything...

Having said that, ClamAV is apparently a good AV for Macs. I don't use anything on mine, and in the 3+ months I've had my iMac, I haven't been bothered by any kind of virus/malware/trojan etc.

chscag 12-23-2011 11:55 AM

+1 to what member Chuckoir stated. I likewise recommend the free ClamXav 2 program which provides a graphical interface for the Mac. It works well and uses very little resources. Currently, there are no viruses in the wild that can affect a Mac. There are several Trojans but are easy to avoid by using common sense and staying away from harmful sites.

Mishal 12-26-2011 12:51 AM

What's the Operating System of Anvi Smart Defender
 
hello guys. I just got my new Mac system. I heard about the new anti-virus software, called “Anvi Smart Defender”. not sure about that software. What's the operating system of it?

danndp 01-08-2012 11:59 PM

Have you heard about MacKeeper? it has an Antivirus included, has someone used? any recommendations with this software?

Thanks

Randy B. Singer 01-09-2012 02:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danndp (Post 1352469)
Have you heard about MacKeeper? it has an Antivirus included, has someone used? any recommendations with this software?

They have been advertising this piece of garbage like crazy.
I recommend that you stay completely away from MacKeeper!

There is just about nothing that MacKeeper does that you can't do with
other, free utilities. See:
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting

Some of what MacKeeper does can be done *better* by other utilities.

And some of the things that MacKeeper does are unnecessary and are
unnecessarily risky.

There have been reports from MacKeeper users that it is extremely hard
to uninstall. As bad, or worse, than a virus. Some users have
resorted to paying a consultant a significant sum just to get
MacKeeper fully uninstalled.

MacKeeper's developers advertise via spam and some other borderline
illegal methods (like putting up fake Web sites that purport to be for
other legitimate programs.) For instance this Web site is not really a
ClamXav site, it is a spoof site for MacKeeper:
ClamXav Review
I can't imagine supporting a company that operates in such an
unethical, dishonest, and illegal manner.

If there is something that you want/need to do, let me know, and I can recommend a legitimate utility to do it with, possibly even a free one.

danndp 01-09-2012 05:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer (Post 1352504)
They have been advertising this piece of garbage like crazy.
I recommend that you stay completely away from MacKeeper!

There is just about nothing that MacKeeper does that you can't do with
other, free utilities. See:
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting

Some of what MacKeeper does can be done *better* by other utilities.

And some of the things that MacKeeper does are unnecessary and are
unnecessarily risky.

There have been reports from MacKeeper users that it is extremely hard
to uninstall. As bad, or worse, than a virus. Some users have
resorted to paying a consultant a significant sum just to get
MacKeeper fully uninstalled.

MacKeeper's developers advertise via spam and some other borderline
illegal methods (like putting up fake Web sites that purport to be for
other legitimate programs.) For instance this Web site is not really a
ClamXav site, it is a spoof site for MacKeeper:
ClamXav Review
I can't imagine supporting a company that operates in such an
unethical, dishonest, and illegal manner.

If there is something that you want/need to do, let me know, and I can recommend a legitimate utility to do it with, possibly even a free one.

Oh my gosh!!! i will uninstall this; what software do you recommend to uninstall mackeeper? i bought the license of mackeeper because i thought that my mac was "full of all documents"; everything started when my mac got very slow after making the upgrade to lion -> http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/swi...very-slow.html

Randy B. Singer 01-09-2012 09:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danndp (Post 1352526)
Oh my gosh!!! i will uninstall this; what software do you recommend to uninstall mackeeper?

MacKeeper installs a ton of garbage strewn all over your hard drive and it is very hard to find it all and get rid of it. These are the instructions from Zeobit, MacKeeper's developers:
Uninstalling MacKeeper

However, there are reports that this procedure leaves spyware behind. This site used to tell how to completely remove MacKeeper manually, but they took down the instructions because Zeobit threatened to sue them:

Uninstall MacKeeper | [Fix-KB]

All that I can suggest is that you download:

EasyFind (free)
Freeware applications and services for Mac - DEVONtechnologies
and set it to find file names only and to include invisible files, and search for all files with Zeobit or MacKeeper in their name, and uninstall them.

You might find more useful information here:
MacKeeper Forum | How to Remove Mackeeper Fully [Fixed - http://bit.ly/qXO2zf]

Quote:

Originally Posted by danndp (Post 1352526)
...everything started when my mac got very slow after making the upgrade to lion

Lots of folks have reported this. Sometimes the problem is simply that you need to repair permissions:

OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
Item #1

Sometimes the problem is that you need to update Flash:

Uninstall the copy of Flash that you have installed with this uninstaller:
http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get...player_osx.dmg
or
http://is.gd/lrnKUG

Then download the latest version of Flash directly from Adobe, and install it:
Adobe - Install a different version of Adobe Flash Player

In some cases the problem is too hard to track down and it becomes necessary to do a clean reinstall of Lion:

HOW TO: Do a Clean Install of OS X Lion
Should you do a 'clean install' of Lion?*( - Software )
OS X Lion: How to Do a Clean Install

Randy B. Singer 01-09-2012 09:25 PM

I just found an excellent site to help you uninstall MacKeeper:

how to uninstall MacKeeper « Phil Stokes


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