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  1. #1
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    schweb's Avatar
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    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
    Last edited by vansmith; 02-25-2013 at 08:54 AM. Reason: Updated info
    schweb | community leader
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  2. #2
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    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
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2011
    Location
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    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
    Randy B. Singer

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

  4. #4
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ

    Member Since
    Nov 20, 2011
    Posts
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    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?

  5. #5
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 24, 2011
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    Maryland
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    March 2011 15" MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad Core 8GB Ram | Mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4 GHz i7 16 GB RAM 2 TB HDD
    Quote Originally Posted by Jsta281 View Post
    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.

  6. #6
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    Feb 01, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jsta281 View Post
    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
    Randy B. Singer

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

  7. #7
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ

    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location
    UK
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    Specs:
    13" MBP 2.4GHz iPhone 3GS
    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?

  8. #8
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    Chuckoir's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 21, 2011
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    London, Londonshire, England.
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    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.
    Play the guitar?! Check out the [newly created]Mac-Forums guitar thread!

  9. #9
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
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    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Yosemite
    +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.

  10. #10
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ

    Member Since
    Dec 25, 2011
    Posts
    3
    Smile 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?

  11. #11
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ

    Member Since
    Feb 06, 2011
    Posts
    19
    Have you heard about MacKeeper? it has an Antivirus included, has someone used? any recommendations with this software?

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danndp View Post
    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.
    Randy B. Singer

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

  13. #13
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ

    Member Since
    Feb 06, 2011
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
    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

  14. #14
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danndp View Post
    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 View Post
    ...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

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

  15. #15
    Official antivirus, malware, and firewall FAQ
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    I just found an excellent site to help you uninstall MacKeeper:

    how to uninstall MacKeeper « Phil Stokes
    Randy B. Singer

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

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