12 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2012 8:04 AM by 808193
808193 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hello - We just left our computer support tech who was doing some routine maintenance on our Desktop PC.   He strongly recommended that we install an anti-virus software on our MacBook Pro.  He mentioned that many Mac users don't even know they have viruses on their laptops.  He also said that because of the powerful operating system that Apple has, viruses might not shut a system down as they do on a PC, but they are slowing the Macs down, and can be running in the background.

 

We would appreciate thoughts and comments about this.  We are new Mac users, and have been told that Macs DO NOT get viruses!!  Our daughter has had a MacBook for almost 2 years and hasn't mentioned that it is running differently. 

 

Thank you again community...so appreciate the wisdom and experience out there!


MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • 1. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (41,525 points)

    Personally I would totally ignore his recommendations especially when he talks about many user having virus which so far don'r exist at the present time.

     

    My recommendation is find someone else who is at least knowledgable with Macs to talk to instead of him.

     

    It has been my experience that the only thing that AV software is good at on a Mac is slowing them down or causing problems.

     

    Allan

  • 2. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    Michael Wasley Level 5 Level 5 (6,810 points)

    808193 wrote:

     

    We just left our computer support tech who was doing some routine maintenance on our Desktop PC.   He strongly recommended that we install an anti-virus software on our MacBook Pro.


    Fire your computer support tech and find one who knows about Macs.

  • 3. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    michaelsip4 Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)

    maybe this post will help a little more    https://discussions.apple.com/message/20008529#20008529

     

    I am a widows user with a mac as well and at times i get lost in all of rhetoric....but this post contains

    insights that may halp you understand a little more and give you a point of reference for informed decision

  • 4. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    Barney-15E Level 8 Level 8 (35,275 points)

    You need to hire a new computer support tech.

     

    See Thomas' Mac Malware Guide: http://www.reedcorner.net/mmg/

  • 5. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,365 points)

    808193 wrote:

     

    ...  He also said that because of the powerful operating system that Apple has, viruses might not shut a system down as they do on a PC, but they are slowing the Macs down, and can be running in the background...

     

    Our daughter has had a MacBook for almost 2 years and hasn't mentioned that it is running differently.

     

    Fire your computer support tech and hire your daughter.

     

    His ignorance is wasting you both money and time.

  • 6. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    the0pticnerve Level 2 Level 2 (240 points)

    "This: There is no need for any special security software for a Mac."

  • 7. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    drdocument Level 4 Level 4 (2,995 points)

    Your Mac with fully updated software is quite safe.

    And as long as you adopt good safety practices (such as avoiding downloads from questionable sites and not clicking links in emails unless you are absolutely sure of their safety) you are unlikely to "pass along" any malware for other platforms.

     

    But definitely keep an eye on Mac news sources for alerts and keep OS and other software up to date.

  • 8. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    Russa Level 4 Level 4 (1,315 points)

    His comment about many Mac users not even knowing they have viruses is shooting from the hip. Did you ask him what viruses? Certainly if he could make the virus claim he would also know which ones are prone to infect Macs.

     

    "Routine maintenance" for Windows machines does not necessarily carry over to the Mac. What did he do change the oil? Sorry, couldn't resist. Did he run a scan using some security product, defragment your disk, and then upgrade your Windows software? This is little more than pushing a couple of buttons. I hope you didn't pay for this.

     

    By and large, Virsues are not prevalent on Mac machines; only running MacOS X. However, there have been two recent virus/malware infections that have rasied the awareness of potential threats to Mac users. MacDefender and Flash are recent malware infections. See http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-57429419-263/mac-malware-infection-rates-re maining-constant/  However, these infections haven't been as virulent as viruses in the PC/Windows world.

     

    If you plan to send/receive files from Windows users it's pobably a good idea to have some form of virus/malware protection. You wouldn't want to pass a Windows virus to one of your friends. Also, if you run a Windows virtual machine, an AV software package is probably a good idea. Software that monitors internet conection and alerts you of phishing or anomalies is good too.

     

    Personally, I use Intego Virus Barrier 6 (UK company). Norton users have reported strange things with their Macs but I never experienced problems. Kaspersky is a Russian company with development around the world. ClamXAV and Sophos are free. It's up to you. Most of these software packages look for known viruses.. so having these packages will only find things that are known to exist.. except the anomaly dectection software packages. However, as I said, there aren't many threats there yet with the Mac. 

     

    As long as you keep your MacOS X and your application software current you'll be well protected. Purging Safari or other browsers of cookies every month is a good idea too. AV and malware just gives you more (some consider over-the-top) protection.

     

    If your Mac is slowing down and it's about 3-4 years old, you might consider getting more memory or a new larger disk. Run Activity Monitor utility app and check your memory and disk usage. 

     

    Good luck. This is a religous decision.

  • 9. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    drdocument Level 4 Level 4 (2,995 points)

    Good points by Russa.

     

    Personally, I use ClamXav and limit it to checking "exposed" folders (Downloads, Mail Downloads). Running AV software and allowing it to be constantly monitoring everything is overkill and negatively affects overall performance.

  • 10. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,725 points)

    drdocument wrote:

     

    Good points by Russa.

     

    Personally, I use ClamXav and limit it to checking "exposed" folders (Downloads, Mail Downloads).

    Just FYI, you should know that mail attachments are not stored in "Mail Downloads" unless they are viewed or opened. If you want to scan mail attachments while they are still just segments of the message then you should be scanning the Mail folder, instead. Usually best to turn off "Scan e-mail for malware and phishing" so that only the attachments are scanned, especially if you choose to automatically delete or quarantine infected files, to avoid corrupting the mailbox index.

     

    There was a recent discussion on this subject and tests conducted @ markallan.co.uk…viewtopic.php?p=16516#16516

  • 11. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,725 points)

    I need to correct a portion of what I said above. I did some further testing this afternoon of Apple Mail (not my default e-mail reader) and found that ClamXav scans e-mail attachments while they are still just segments of the message only if you have "Scan e-mail content for malware and phishing" checked. If unchecked, it skips scanning the entire file.

  • 12. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    g_wolfman Level 4 Level 4 (1,120 points)

    If you have exposed shared folders to which others can write (shared dropbox folders, for example, or any folders exposed via File Sharing that have write access) then I would recommend allowing ClamXav Sentry to monitor those as well.  Especially if the shared folders can be accessed by Windows users.

  • 13. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    drdocument Level 4 Level 4 (2,995 points)

    Yes. Oops. Should have noted that "Downloads" and "Mail Downloads" were only examples.

  • 14. Re: Anti-Virus Software
    808193 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your input everyone!