11255 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Sep 10, 2008 1:16 AM by Neoblackout
At this time there have been no confirmed Mac OS X viruses (subject to the semantic debate about whether the iChat exploit is properly classified as a virus or a trojan horse and not counting the Word macro virus that can affect Office v.X or non-updated copies of Office 2004), very few trojans and no adware or spyware. I therefore do not feel that antivirus or antispyware software is necessary at this time. It's never wise to become complacent, though, so security precautions are not wasted. Such security precautions mostly are common sense: don't download and run files from sites you don't know, don't double-click on attachments in emails you aren't expecting and/or from people you don't know, and make sure you password your system and keep that password secure as well as not having your system available and unattended (which also is a precaution against theft). In addition, it's possible for someone to inadvertently forward a Windows virus or worm to a PC user though you'd have to do it manually and said Windows malware cannot infect the Mac.
In addition, it's possible for someone to inadvertently forward a Windows virus to a PC user though you'd have to do it manually, and said Windows virus cannot infect the Mac.
If you do decide you wish to run antivirus software, I think that the donationware clamXav should be more than enough provided you remember to scan your system from time to time.
If you are running Windows on your system, either via BootCamp, Parallels Workstation or another solution, then that copy of Windows is subject to all the myriad exploits common to the Windows world, so you need to take full precautions, including running both antivirus and antispyware software.
Do You Need Anti-Virus Protection for Your Mac?
According to Rich Mogull's article, Should Mac Users Run Antivirus Software?,
"The reality is that today the Mac platform is relatively safe. There are hundreds of thousands of viruses and other malicious software programs floating around for Windows, but less than 200 are known to target the Mac, and many of those are aimed at versions of the Mac OS prior to Mac OS X (and thus have no effect on a modern Mac).
It's not that Mac OS X is inherently more secure against viruses than current versions of Windows (although it was clearly more secure than Windows prior to XP SP2); the numerous vulnerabilities reported and patched in recent years are just as exploitable as their Windows equivalents. But most security experts agree that malicious software these days is driven by financial incentives, and it's far more profitable to target the most dominant platform."
Mr. Mogull is a computer security expert. I recommend reading the entire article as it is quite informative.
For additional information on viruses, trojans, and spyware visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on viruses and spyware.
Recently one or two trojans have been discovered in the wild but fortunately they require the user to install something before they can have any effect. Avoid the item named "1023.dmg."