Thanks for the response. So why does norton, mcaffee, etc make products? Am I really safe without it? I felt very safe on linux I am hessitant on Mac. I suppose Apple tends to be more active in software updates than MS is - is that why its not needed?
So why does norton, mcaffee, etc make products?
I suppose the long-time A-V developers have a large enough installed base to make it worthwhile to continue. Most of the new ones have only recently branched off from the Windows community to try and take advantage of the publicity a year or so ago when Flashback reportedly infected 600,000 OS X users. It remains to be seen whether sales will support their continued presence in the market or not. Almost all rely on hype and advertisement to scare users into buying their products with promises to guard against tomorrows threat. I'm still waiting for the first of them to prove they were able to stop even one of the so called "zero-day" infections from occurring. All the ones I have checked on were not able to get protection out for one to three days after discovery.
I felt very safe on linux I am hessitant on Mac.
I'm not sure why that is since with OS X they have much in common. Most of the vulnerabilities have been due to third party problems. Oracle's Java, Adobe's Flash, Microsoft Word and now IBM Notes all keep poping up in the news with a variety of un-patched vulnerabilities being exploited. Updates to OS X security involve far fewer updates by comparison.
I suppose Apple tends to be more active in software updates than MS is - is that why its not needed?
I'd say it's more the built-in functions of the Quarantine, XProtect and GateKeeper capabilities which both remind a user of possible dangers represented by newly installed files and can prevent the execution of un-trusted processes, if the user chooses to adopt this approach. I haven't experienced the MS software update experience for a few years now, but when I was there were plenty of security updates on a frequent basis and a lot of them covered some very old issues. The XProtect system is capable of pushing updates out every 24 hours at this time and it's been exercised a couple of times when the malware developers were able to update things on their end in a rapid manner. I don't know whether MS has that capability with their Security Essentials software or not, but I would hope so.
So why does norton, mcaffee, etc make products? Am I really safe without it?
They make products because there is malware out there, and that means that there's a market for their products.
You're definitely safer with anti-virus software installed, but how much safer is a good question. If you take certain precautions, you're pretty safe already, even with no anti-virus software installed at all. So the gains would be very marginal, and you would trade a certain amount of performance and stability to get them (depending on what anti-virus software you use).
See my Mac Malware Guide for more information about how to protect yourself and what role anti-virus plays. Be aware that many viewpoints in forums like this one can be highly biased against anti-virus software. There are some good reasons for that, but those reasons are generalities that are often treated as absolutes.
You should listen to Thomas! His opinions are balanced, colorful, many-sided, and unbiased. Also, his arrogance knows some bounds. My opinions are unbalanced, black-and-white, one-sided, and biased, and my arrogance knows no bounds.
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