5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2008 6:30 AM by Jeff Kelleher
f1stevef Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I am new to Mac and wonder why I hear and read that anti-virus software is not usually required ? This seems to be completely the opposite advice I hear for PC users.

I use my iMac mainly for internet and e-mail, would readers advice I do actually install an anti-virus solution ?

Note - There is a bit of debate on the BBC News website on this subject at the moment.

Many thanks in advance.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 Level 7 (30,460 points)
    Because there are no Mac OS X viruses "in the wild."
  • kdb1 Level 3 Level 3 (770 points)
    The big anti-virus companys have been warning about the anticipated onslaught of mac virus for sometime, it hasn't happened, but guess what, they make a lot of money
    scaring people into buying the product, and then subscribing for updates.
    I find the whole business model suspicious, they could even be writing the viruses for all we know.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)
    Some things, like clicking on a link and opening an email may not be safe; visiting a web site; an unpatched vulnerability in Flash, Java, or other plug-ins, those still exist.

    If you see a pop up that tells you to click on to scan, or alerts you that "your system....." it is malware. Ad servers can be infected. Google has had to try to clean their cache system.

    But virus in the traditional meanings of malware/spyware and rootkits or that AV traditional looks for...

    If you find that your email program doesn't filter junk or spot phishing exploits, you may, especially if you share files, or your ISP would hold you responsible for forwarding an email that while benign on OS X could affect the recipient's system.

    You didn't mention that the BBC thought it was UN-necessary:

    Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder and head of anti-virus research at Kaspersky, predicted a "significant rise" in Mac viruses back in April 2007. Has it happened? Not yet.... Symantec and McAfee both sell anti-virus software for Macs. So does anyone have any anti-virus software installed on their Macs? I don't on my machines. So am I smug and stupid or smug and wise?


    Now, do I own but not use AV? Yes. I want to have something in place, if it is needed. ClamXav, Intego both offer programs or suites. Safari is not my browser of choice by default, but it does log errors, and the iPhone might be the most likely portal for a worm or virus, someday.
  • Gnarlodious Level 4 Level 4 (3,215 points)
    anti-virus software is not usually required

    The undeniable fact is, Apple programming is just better. More concern for security, tighter control of access, and faster updates on potential exploits.

    It's very simple really. A better system.
  • Jeff Kelleher Level 4 Level 4 (3,015 points)
    I feel pretty safe from malware using OS X. I would not be bold enough to insist that there will never be a virus (or lots of them) going around someday.
    You can get a free and well tested/used product here.