Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 8:13 AM (in response to Mark Piaskiewicz1)
If you really think you need something that causes more problems than it can possibly solve, take a look at Thomas Reed's Anti-Virus testing: http://reedcorner.net/news-favorites/.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 12:11 PM (in response to Mark Piaskiewicz1)
I haven't used Avast, but recently Thomas Reed tested Avast among many others, and it came out as one of the best for detecting known malware samples (though results may likely vary for different situations). On the other hand, ClamXav did not fare as well.
However, keep in mind that Avast is one of the AV utilities that installs a number of additional tools, including browser extensions and preference panes, along with some kernel extensions, and this more extensive installation footprint may result in some incompatibilities and problems.
I usually recommend a lighter-weight AV package that is less intrusive, such as Sophos home edition which has a relatively small footprint on the system. While iAntivirus from the Mac App Store is free and the most self-contained solution (ie, it does not install launch daemons, updaters, and other helper tools), it does not have a built-in updating routine (part of the Mac App Store restrictions, which require updates through the store only), so its definitions may be significantly out of date.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 4:50 PM (in response to Linc Davis)
I've had Avast installed for about two months with no ill effects, with the possible exception of the file system shield slowing disk to disk file transfers. I'm still testing this and it's looking like may have been a bug in the prior version. My Mac has to coexist with Windows machines (even itself running Parallels) so I prefer it be malware free.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 5:31 PM (in response to Topher Kessler)
I read that article as well as one on Ars Technica and that's why I chose Avast. I'll have to look into Sophos and see if it would work for me. I need one that will flag dangerous emails. A smaller footprint would be nice. I wound up with iAntivirus on my Mac but I have no idea how it got there. I used it for a little while but the lack of definition updates made me think it was orphanware so I removed it. I used ClamXav for years but it never struck me as a good solution.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 5:41 PM (in response to Mark Piaskiewicz1)
To do this you will need one that actively scans incoming e-mail (ie, with some sort of Mail plugin), or which you run on a regular basis with a scan directed at your e-mail client's message database (ie, /Users/username/Library/Mail for OS X's built-in Mail client). I'm not sure of the features of each that will do this, but overall you can configure most to accommodate this need in some way, if it is one you truly need for your setup.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 6:15 PM (in response to Linc Davis)
Good article. I've been an Apple user for almost 30 years and never had a virus but I (begrudgingly) run Windows on the Mac as well as having a number of friends who also use Windows so an AV program on the Mac is the first line of defense. As long as it works and remains unobtrusive I have no problem running it. As far as safe computing practices, after all these years I better know what I'm doing or I deserve what happens.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 7:45 PM (in response to Mark Piaskiewicz1)
Mark Piaskiewicz1 wrote:
My Mac has to coexist with Windows machines (even itself running Parallels) so I prefer it be malware free.
You should not rely on any Mac A-V software to protect your Parallels processes. Most will do an adequate job of finding Windows malware on the Mac side, but you should run a separate A-V product on the Windows side to cover all your bases there.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 7:48 PM (in response to Mark Piaskiewicz1)
The ClamAV® scan engine was originally an e-mail scanner and Apple still distributes it with their OS X Server software for that purpose. You do have to be cautious not to allow any A-V software to move or delete e-mail as it will certainly corrupt the mailbox index, which can result in several mail issues down the line.
Currently Being ModeratedJul 14, 2013 11:52 PM (in response to Mark Piaskiewicz1)
When I read this earlier today, I thought I should respond when I had time, but Topher said almost everything I would have said (no surprise) so I'll limit my remarks on Avast! to one entry in the Comment section of Thomas Reeds test article when responding to a question of why Avast! wasn't a "no-brainer" choice:
Although avast! certainly has a high detection rate on its side, keep in mind that there are any other factors that should determine which anti-virus software you use. Do not rely solely on testing like this to make the choice. Evaluate the features that you feel you need that each program offers, and make sure that you educate yourself as to what the risks actually are before installing anything.
As far a ClamXav is concerned, the unfortunate thing about it is that it must rely entirely on a scan engine provided by others. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good scanner and improvements are being frequently rolled out by Sourcefire/ClamAV®, but in the end it is the signature database that matters. Signature writers are working much harder these days to keep up, but they are totally reliant on samples being submitted to their site or to VirusTotal. They don't have a 24-hour watch center looking for new outbreaks or a lab to do detailed analysis of what the malware does and how it does it. It's mostly up to users and the other subscribers to VirusTotal to share what they find. I've been through more than one epidemic here in the forum and the last thing most users want to be bothered with is providing a sample of what infected them. They will stop at nothing to make it disappear forever and have no idea where it came from.
That being said, there are several of us available to work around the clock here to obtain samples of any new Mac malware and get it to any and all A-V vendors capable of putting a stop to it, but as I said it takes some user cooperation to do that. It doesn't happen very often, but ClamAV did have at least one new variant in it's database before Apple or any other A-V software we tried. But that is very much the exception. Commercial software can easily afford to commit the resources necessary to stay on their game, where a not-for-profit organization has no chance of keeping up.
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