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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Virus' on a mac?


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vaughan80

 
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OK, I have been told that viruses and spyware are rare on a mac as they are not programmed specifically for a mac.

The thing is, just because they aren't programmed for them does this mean the mac's can still "get" them? By that I mean - can they still end up on the hard drive of the computer, but not have any effect?
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Brendan

 
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Contrary to popular belief, Macs can get viruses, but it is very rare. You really shouldn't worry about viruses or spyware. There most likely aren't any Virus/Spyware files on your Mac.

Brendan Welsh
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todd51
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As Brendan said, I typically don't worry about them and I don't think you should have to either, just don't download stuff unless you know what it is, and avoid "bad" sites.
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Originally Posted by Brendan
Contrary to popular belief, Macs can get viruses, but it is very rare.
No, contrary to popular belief Macs could get viruses, but there are currently no known ones for OSX. Some of the MS Office Macro Viruses can impact Office for the Mac though.

To answer the question of the OP, yes they can simply sit on your hard drive and take up space. You can pass them on via E-Mail to your Windows using friends and not even know it. That is perhaps the ONLY reason to run a Virus App on your Mac right now. As for Spyware, there is none, right now.

What exactly are "bad" sites?


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Brendan

 
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Warez, Pr0n, etc.

Well, technically baggss, Macs can get viruses, it is possible - but none are out there right now to receive! Haha.

Brendan Welsh
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If there are no known Viruses for the Mac, why would Warez and Porn sites be bad?

Until a virus is out there, one can only say "could". There has yet to be a real one for OSX and the idea that a Mac "can" get one is open for debate as it has yet to be proven. The few "proof of concept" exploits have assumed that the user assists in in installing the virus by entering their password, which means it "could" happen, not that it "can".

Semantics are fun sometimes.


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Brendan

 
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Your always right!

Good point on both topics.

Brendan Welsh
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vaughan80

 
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interesting.
i suppose the key is not to ignore it because you have a mac, but not to worry about it as much. i guess it still helps to remain just as vigilant as if you had a pc.

i only go on safe sites anwyay, it's just a minor concern.
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I've ignored it for 17 years.
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I don't worry about it. I have wireless security, no hackers on to our network. I have a password on my system. Firewall on. Thats about it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brown Study View Post
I've ignored it for 17 years.

Same here. Well Said!


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any recommended free virus apps for mac os x?
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ClamXAV probably is the least intrusive. It's free and available at the macupdate.com, versiontracker.com and elsewhere.

It's worth noting that Clam's author recently said there is nothing in it to check for OS X viruses or Mac spyware. At least he acknowledges the fact, unlike other anti-virus app makers. Because there are no viruses, there is no code it could check against when looking for one.

Like the heavyweight apps such as Norton, Clam checks for Windows viruses that you might pass on to Windows users in email, but which, like any other Windows program, can't run on Macs. So if a Windows virus or spyware program lands in the Mac, it just sits there, rejected, dejected, invisible and alone.

Norton generally is considered the worst of the anti-virus apps. It's so cross-platform bad that even Windows users revile it, calling it a virus in its own right. Apparently, the Mac version is worse.
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That is good to know that the ClamXAV people say that and don't do the Norton thing and say that OSX has all kinds of native Virus's to get you to purchase their product.

Another vote for ClamXAV. It will help you keep your Windows friends safe!

I actually have sent files with Windows Virus's to my Windows machines on my Network and AntiVir in XP went nuts!
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Brown Study

 
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I did read it in its original form, but could only find this mention of it on oreillynet, a little more than halfway down the page.
Quote:
There was a recent thread on this in the Mac-L elist and Randy Singer (Co-Author of: The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th and 6th editions)), who claims to have discussed this with the developer of ClamX on a MacIntouch thread says that there is no Mac-specific virus definition database that ClamX refers to:

>>He admitted that there were no definitions for Mac-specific malware in the ClamAV database, and that he himself didn't know how to write definitions for Mac malware to include in the ClamAV database, nor did he have access to Mac malware to use as a basis for creating such definitions.<<
I came across this again, direct from Symantic (Norton) posted by Todd Woodward on July 13, 2006. It made a brief splash at the time then disasppeared. I had forgotten about it.
Quote:
Let’s start with the hot-button issue of Mac OS X viruses. Simply put, at the time of writing this article, there are no file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X. . . .
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