14 Replies Latest reply: Oct 26, 2012 8:15 AM by thomas_r.
JAC151 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I know that malware is rare on Macs, but I still would like to have an on-demand scanner, if for no other reason than to bring me peace of mind.  I would like one that also scans for windows malware just to be safe.

 

Do you have any ideas on good malware scanners?

 

I have tried:

ClamXav from Mac App Store (upon research I found that ClamXav has poor detection rates)

Virus Barrier from the Mac App Store (but it has very poor ratings)

Bitdefender form the Mac App Store (but I heard that it was new and unproven on Mac OSX)

iAntivirus form Mac App Store (its definitions are never updated, so its out)

Avast for Mac (I heard that it doesn't scan for Windows Malware, plus it runs constantly so it slows my system)

 

I don't know if the negatives above are true, they are just what I have heard.  Any feedback? 

 

Thank you

JAC151

  • 1. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    Keith Doherty3 Level 4 Level 4 (1,735 points)

    Your Mac already HAS a built in Malware scanner within the OS it runs in the back ground and Apple issue description updates as needed.

     

    There are not even a handful of risks known

     

    Further Apple has updated Java and turns it OFF by default and doesn't ship with Adobe Flash - THESE are the two culprits for most infections on Windows and potentially Mac OSx.

     

    Your Mac will not infect any PCs directly, however you could forward an infected file via e-mail. that said you should never forward an e-mail you received from an unknown source as a basic good citizen.

     

    If you want to get an anti virus specifically for scanning e-mail try out Intego Internet Security Barrier X6 Dual Protection if you must.

     

    In ten years of running OSx right from 10.1.2 through to 10.8.1 I have only ever run Clam in the back ground.

    Much/Most of the paid for anti virus on OSx remains in the scareware field.

  • 2. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,510 points)

    As Keith says, unnecessary but if you must I'd recommend ClamXav

    , it's the most compatible for Mac developed for unix systems and harmless unless used recklessly.

     

    All AV software will take a bite out of your performance. ClamX probably least of all. Especially if you use it to just scan from time to time.

  • 3. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    JAC151 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    That is another issue with me.  Flash.

     

    When I got my MBP it had snowleopard and then Lion.  During those two OS's I browsed the web with Safari and never gave a thought to flash.  All videos on Youtube and Cnet just played, but when I upgraded to ML I got a notice that I had to install Flash.  I thought it was a trick.  Why didn't I get that notice before ML?  Did previous OS's have Flash?

  • 4. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,990 points)

    Apple stopped including the Flash player in OS X as part of their installation I think starting in Snow Leopard. No big deal, you just go to Adobe's site and get it yourself.

  • 5. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,725 points)

    JAC151 wrote:

     

    I have tried:

    ClamXav from Mac App Store (upon research I found that ClamXav has poor detection rates)

    I have read in one review that it only detected 75% of the malware that Sopos detected, but without knowing exactly what these files were, I'm unable to judge whether that's significant or not. I do know that there were a few years when the ClamAV folks did not have an OS X signature writer on their staff, so few if any definitions were included in the database.  That has change over the past few years and I am not aware of any currently circulating OS X malware that it does not detect. I'm not too concerned about obsolete malware that is either not in circulation or has already been patched by Apple to prevent it from being effective. I wish the author had listed the malware missed by the apps he tested so users can make an informed decision for themselves.

  • 6. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,725 points)

    JAC151 wrote:

     

    That is another issue with me.  Flash.

     

    When I got my MBP it had snowleopard and then Lion.  During those two OS's I browsed the web with Safari and never gave a thought to flash.  All videos on Youtube and Cnet just played, but when I upgraded to ML I got a notice that I had to install Flash.  I thought it was a trick.  Why didn't I get that notice before ML?  Did previous OS's have Flash?

    If you migrated your old system to the new one, then Flash was brought with it. I don't know whether Apple changed something to disallow that, or not, but one thing that did change a few months back was that the XProtect system for Lion and Mountain Lion was changed to disable any version of FlashPlayer that has security vulnerabilities deemed by Apple to be unacceptable. I can only guess that you may have had one of these vulnerable versions installed.

     

    Once you update to the latest version, go to System Preference and find the a Flash pane where you can opt for it to upgrade automatically in the background so you never have to worry about it again and insure you are getting the genuine thing from Adobe and not the malware that has often used Flash update to conceal it's real purpose.

  • 7. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    Russa Level 4 Level 4 (1,315 points)

    Intego Virus Barrier 6 runs fine, has an internet/network screening capability,  and has email screening tool running in the background. allows you to set your filtering and scanning levels.

    Kaspesky is a Russian company outscourcing alot of work around the globe.. hmm.

    Clam XAV is free but you get what you pay for

    A lot ofpeople say Norton breaks their machine.

  • 8. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (27,925 points)

    Your Mac already HAS a built in Malware scanner within the OS it runs in the back ground and Apple issue description updates as needed.

     

    Actually, that's not quite the way it works. The built-in malware scanner (called XProtect) only scans applications, and only looks at them the first time they are opened. There's no background scanning going on. Although this works pretty well in practice, there are flaws. In particular, if something sneaks in before a definition for it is added, it won't be caught later.

  • 9. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (27,925 points)

    ClamXav from Mac App Store (upon research I found that ClamXav has poor detection rates)

     

    As MadMacs0 points out, I don't really care about the detection rates of extinct malware. If you'll never see it, why bother scanning for it? I also have no idea how it performs with Windows malware, but that doesn't really concern me much either. ClamXav does a good job with recent Mac malware, and that's what counts in my eyes.

     

    One other app that is missing from your list is Sophos. It is free and it's good. I like the way its on-access scanner works, and it didn't affect my performance in any perceptible way when I tested it, but you could turn that off and use it only as an on-demand scanner. Its on-demand scanning is quite slow, though... but that does also seem to mean it's low-impact. I played a game of Bioshock (or something like that, don't remember exactly) while Sophos was doing a scan of the whole hard drive, and never a stutter in the game.

     

    As for the others on your list, I'd pretty much concur with what you've found. Add to Avast's criticisms that it has a tendency towards false positives, labeling parts of the system as malware.

  • 10. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    JAC151 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I talked to AppleCare and they said that the Mac didn't have anything called "XProtect" but I've always heard of it.  I can't even find any good articles that actaully describe what it is...

  • 11. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (27,925 points)

    XProtect is not an application that you can easily point to and say "there's XProtect." It's an underlying technology. I'm a bit disappointed, though not really surprised, that a first-tier tech support person at Apple wouldn't know about it. For more information about how the built-in anti-malware protection works, see my Mac Malware Guide... specifically, the section titled "How does Mac OS X protect me?"

  • 12. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,725 points)

    JAC151 wrote:

     

    I talked to AppleCare and they said that the Mac didn't have anything called "XProtect" but I've always heard of it.  I can't even find any good articles that actaully describe what it is...

    By some happenstance, I was asked to describe it just yesterday here.

  • 13. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    Tycoon24 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    JAC151 wrote:

     

    I know that malware is rare on Macs, but I still would like to have an on-demand scanner, if for no other reason than to bring me peace of mind.  I would like one that also scans for windows malware just to be safe.

     

    Do you have any ideas on good malware scanners?

     

    I have tried:

    ClamXav from Mac App Store (upon research I found that ClamXav has poor detection rates)

    Virus Barrier from the Mac App Store (but it has very poor ratings)

    Bitdefender form the Mac App Store (but I heard that it was new and unproven on Mac OSX)

    iAntivirus form Mac App Store (its definitions are never updated, so its out)

    Avast for Mac (I heard that it doesn't scan for Windows Malware, plus it runs constantly so it slows my system)

     

    I don't know if the negatives above are true, they are just what I have heard.  Any feedback? 

     

    Thank you

    JAC151

     

    Sounds like you've only tried antivirus apps that can be found from the Mac App Store, is this the only place you will get AV software? I suggest checking out the list of Mac antivirus from Top Ten Reviews. They have a solid lineup that will be your best options.

  • 14. Re: Any ideas on good malware scanners?  Please.
    thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (27,925 points)

    That's not a very good review site. Very questionable, IMHO. Some of those I would actively recommend against, and it doesn't include the two that have performed the best in my own testing. Plus, that site has absolutely no information about what testing was done to lead to those ratings. It also gets revenue directly, via advertising, from some of the companies whose products it is recommending, which is a serious conflict of interest.