Virtual machine and Norton/McAfee

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The Tech Support of both Norton and McAfee have confirmed that their products will not run on a W11 virtual machine on a M1 chip Mac. That is, with the software installed in W11. In the past I ran (at different times of course) both of these on a W10 vm using an Intel chip iMac.

Norton Tech Support has told me however that by installing their product on the Mac side (Monterey), the vm will automatically also be protected.

Putting aside the issue of whether Monterey needs antivirus protection or how such software effects how the Mac will run, it does not sound right to me that installing the antivirus software in Monterey will protect W11 running in a vm. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this or the technical knowledge of Monterey to know if this is true.

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Norton Tech Support has told me however that by installing their product on the Mac side (Monterey), the vm will automatically also be protected.
Nope, that's not how it works. The VM is totally isolated, so you don't get the benefit of any protection on the Mac side suddenly going into the VM itself.

Since the version of Windows that runs on the M1 is a test project at best. 😃 I can imagine that a lot of software might not work correctly. If Microsoft create a version of Windows that will work on Apple Silicon going forward, other app makers will follow suite.

One thing you might want consider is removing network access to the VM so that it's isolated. This might work if your workflow supports it.
 
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It's nonsense. Virtual machines, by design, are segregated from the host OS, other than whatever file sharing mechanisms are needed to move files between the client and host. AV software on the host can't monitor what goes on inside the VM. It's literally nonsense.
 
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That's what my instinct told me. Thanks.

It looks like I'm going to have to buy a cheap Windows laptop to run the several Windows programs I need to run.
 
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That's what my instinct told me. Thanks.

It looks like I'm going to have to buy a cheap Windows laptop to run the several Windows programs I need to run.

Quite frankly, unless you have crazy sensitive personal information in the Windows VM, why even bother? Is the built-in protection not good enough? One good strategy with VMs is to keep a fresh clean copy on hand that is known to be free of malware. If the one you work from is compromised, delete it and copy the clean one, then pick up where you left off. Of course, in these cases, make sure you save your data/project files on the host OS.
 
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From what I've read, Microsoft Defender is better than nothing but nowhere near as good (effective) as the Norton product.
 
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From what I've read, Microsoft Defender is better than nothing but nowhere near as good (effective) as the Norton product.

Norton is very good at manipulating the market. A couple old stories going back to my Windows days. PC Magazine gave Norton AV their "coveted" Editor's Choice Award to Norton because they liked the UI. It actually peforrmed WORSE than some of the others, but they gave it an award anyway. Symantec also happens to be one of their bigger clients. Another story going back... Norton did well in tests on AV simulators. A large group of security professionals protested them being rated so high because in their opinion, Norton did poorly because they incorrectly detected a simulated virus while the competition correctly didn't detect it. It's a little more complex than that, but the gist of what I'm saying is that their product is very heavily engineered to fare well in tests. As an analogy, Samsung rigged Android on their phones to detect when benchmark software was being run and when it did, it would boost the performance of their CPUs. Or something to that effect. Bottom line? Don't trust these people or reviews of their products. A lot of "reviews" are just paid product placements. I can't tell you myself if MS Defender is better or worse than Norton AV, but I would consider taking what Tom's Guide has to say:

While the Microsoft Defender antivirus may be enough to keep your PC free from infection, it just can’t match the extra features available with paid antivirus software.

Most premium and even some mid-range security suites include a VPN, a password manager, parental controls or identity-theft protection – all for less than if you purchased each feature on its own.

So ask yourself... do you really NEED those extra features?
 
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No, I do not need all those bells and whistles. But I really do need antivirus, anti-keylogging, and anti ransomware protection. THere are so many reviews that it is difficult to know which are "real" and which are sponsored or influenced by sponsors.
 
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It's nonsense. Virtual machines, by design, are segregated from the host OS,...AV software on the host can't monitor what goes on inside the VM. It's literally nonsense.

That's true, as far as it goes.

Your VM software, if it is something like Parallels, and all of the associated files, including Windows' OS files, doc files and applications, are basically just stored in their own folder on your hard drive. While it is true that AV software running on your Mac has no idea what is going on in your VM, most of the better AV programs for the Mac CAN be set to scan the folder that holds your VM files and everything associated with it. It will scan your VM folder exactly as it would any other folder on your Mac. (That is, it isn't working in the Windows environment, it is just checking them as raw files.)

This might make AV software for your Macintosh very useful for scanning for malware in your VM folder, except for one thing. NO MACINTOSH AV PROGRAM, to my knowledge, scans for ALL Windows malware. At best, they only scan for the subset of Windows malware that might show up via e-mail attachment.

So Macintosh AV software isn't really ideal to protect you from malware when running Windows is a VM.

Also, as any long-time Macintosh user will tell you, Norton/Symantec/McAfee products are all garbage. At least for the Macintosh. I don't know if they are worthwhile for Windows, but just by association I'd avoid them.
 
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...I really do need antivirus, anti-keylogging, and anti ransomware protection.

Do you?

It may be that you can completely do without any sort of anti-virus software for Windows when running Windows under virtualization on your Macintosh, yet be completely safe.

Here's why. While Windows running in virtualization on a Macintosh is theoretically just as susceptible to malware as Windows running on a PC, folks who run Windows on a Macintosh don't open themselves up to possible Windows malware infection the way that folks who actually use Windows PC's do.

Most folks that I know of who are running Windows on their Mac are doing so just to run one or two mission critical applications. They don't use Windows for anything else.

By and large, the nasties that a Windows PC can get come either via e-mail or the Web. If you don't use Windows to access the Internet, or for e-mail (and there is no need to, since there is excellent Macintosh software with which you can do that), you have cut off all of the biggest vectors for Windows infection.

Now, if you are also careful about what you install on your Windows partition from other external sources
(i.e. don't share programs or files with non-protected Windows PC's via flash drive), you can completely avoid any Windows malware.

So it's easily possible for it to be completely unnecessary for you to need to run anti-virus software for Windows running on your Mac. You just have to take stock of what it is that you will be using Windows for and be careful not to open any vectors for infection.


THere are so many reviews that it is difficult to know which are "real" and which are sponsored or influenced by sponsors.

Sadly, just about ALL of the AV reviews that you see on the Web are either disguised advertisements, from shill sites, or they have been paid to reach certain conclusions. You need to find sources for testing that are known, reliable sources, with nothing to gain monetarily. I don't know offhand of any such source for Windows AV software. The only one that I knew of for the Macintosh has shut down, this was their last published comparison test:

https://www.thesafemac.com/mac-anti-virus-testing-01-2013/

You can scroll down to the table to see how each product ranks. Note how poorly the Norton and McAfee products fared.
 
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That's true, as far as it goes.

Your VM software, if it is something like Parallels, and all of the associated files, including Windows' OS files, doc files and applications, are basically just stored in their own folder on your hard drive. While it is true that AV software running on your Mac has no idea what is going on in your VM, most of the better AV programs for the Mac CAN be set to scan the folder that holds your VM files and everything associated with it. It will scan your VM folder exactly as it would any other folder on your Mac. (That is, it isn't working in the Windows environment, it is just checking them as raw files.)

I can't speak to how Parallels works, but VMware stores everything in a package, and in that package are a number of files which includes a virtual disk image (Virtual Disk.vmdk) plus a bunch of similarly named images with numbers appended. No one of these is "the" disk image, but in aggregate they are (something akin to multi-part RAR files, I guess?). I have no way to view the contents directly myself, and I would presume AV software can't either. VirusBarrier doesn't seem to be able to given how instantaneous a manual scan of each of these is.
 
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No, I do not need all those bells and whistles. But I really do need antivirus, anti-keylogging, and anti ransomware protection. THere are so many reviews that it is difficult to know which are "real" and which are sponsored or influenced by sponsors.

I don't really have much to add beyond Randy's spot-on reply to this. But one thing I want to throw out there is that you "may" be able to avoid using Windows entirely if your apps can be run under Crossover. Crossover basically "tricks" Windows apps into thinking they are running in Windows. "Tricks" isn't exactly the right word here, but anyway... not all apps will work well or even at all this way, but if they do work flawlessly, you will have zero concerns about Windows malware because you won't be running Windows. You can read more about it in the link below and check their compatibility list to see if your apps are known to work or not. There are other options that I personally prefer, one being Wineskin, which works in a similar manner to Crossover but packages up each Windows app into a single tidy Mac-like app package. This can be a little more complicated, but if your apps are readily available, I can test them to see if they will run.
 
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That's true, as far as it goes.

Your VM software, if it is something like Parallels, and all of the associated files, including Windows' OS files, doc files and applications, are basically just stored in their own folder on your hard drive. While it is true that AV software running on your Mac has no idea what is going on in your VM, most of the better AV programs for the Mac CAN be set to scan the folder that holds your VM files and everything associated with it. It will scan your VM folder exactly as it would any other folder on your Mac. (That is, it isn't working in the Windows environment, it is just checking them as raw files.)

This might make AV software for your Macintosh very useful for scanning for malware in your VM folder, except for one thing. NO MACINTOSH AV PROGRAM, to my knowledge, scans for ALL Windows malware. At best, they only scan for the subset of Windows malware that might show up via e-mail attachment.

So Macintosh AV software isn't really ideal to protect you from malware when running Windows is a VM.

Also, as any long-time Macintosh user will tell you, Norton/Symantec/McAfee products are all garbage. At least for the Macintosh. I don't know if they are worthwhile for Windows, but just by association I'd avoid them.

Another nail in the coffin. Useful information. Thank you.
 
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Do you?

It may be that you can completely do without any sort of anti-virus software for Windows when running Windows under virtualization on your Macintosh, yet be completely safe.

....
Most folks that I know of who are running Windows on their Mac are doing so just to run one or two mission critical applications. They don't use Windows for anything else.

By and large, the nasties that a Windows PC can get come either via e-mail or the Web. If you don't use Windows to access the Internet, or for e-mail (and there is no need to, since there is excellent Macintosh software with which you can do that), you have cut off all of the biggest vectors for Windows infection.
I have two must have software items that run only on Windows, and unfortunately one of them needs the web to work and the other is updated via the web. Parallels allows for disconnecting from the web. It had already occurred to me to do that but I need to use a browser for part of the work that must be done.
 
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I don't really have much to add beyond Randy's spot-on reply to this. But one thing I want to throw out there is that you "may" be able to avoid using Windows entirely if your apps can be run under Crossover. Crossover basically "tricks" Windows apps into thinking they are running in Windows. "Tricks" isn't exactly the right word here, but anyway... not all apps will work well or even at all this way, but if they do work flawlessly, you will have zero concerns about Windows malware because you won't be running Windows. You can read more about it in the link below and check their compatibility list to see if your apps are known to work or not. There are other options that I personally prefer, one being Wineskin, which works in a similar manner to Crossover but packages up each Windows app into a single tidy Mac-like app package. This can be a little more complicated, but if your apps are readily available, I can test them to see if they will run.
Thank you, I was not aware of these programs and will look into them.
 
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Right now I'm leaning towards a stand alone inexpensive Windows laptop but if I go the CrossOver route I will post.
 
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Thanks but I already have the latest version of Parallels and a licensed version of W11 installed. I just haven't been using it and this is getting untenable.
 

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