4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 15, 2010 9:13 AM by thomas_r.
NJ Analyst Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have been using Macs for almost three years with no virus or malware problems. Recently, Comcast, my ISP, has offered Norton Security (Anti-Virus, Malware, Confidential, Firewall) to its subscribers, both OSX and Windows OS versions. I understand that there are no known Mac viruses, but there are a variety of malware on the Internet that may present problems to OSX users. Moreover, I do exchange files with Windows users, so I need to be careful about transferring files that may contain viruses, etc. Is there any conflict or problem with using Norton Security for OSX on my Macs? I have installed a copy on my iMac and so far, no issues or excessive resource consumption has been noticed. Thanks.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • CT Level 6 Level 6 (17,245 points)
    From all I've read, there IS one bit of serious malware for the mac. It's called "Norton". I wouldn't recommend using it on the Mac OS.

    I interact with other users extensively, exchanging files, etc. I think I am typical; I have no virus/malware protection in place (except for common sense).

    Having said that, if you are running windows on your mac, that would be a good place to put Norton.

    charlie
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,845 points)
    Someone else, sounded like the same deal, same type of thread replies.

    One person with AOL email mentioned that their email account ended up sending spam as a result of a virus.

    Adobe has an update for their PDF reader, Flash, and we have to look to Apple for Java and Safari vulnerabilities.

    You could try ClamXav and that is probably your best bet. As for Norton, check their Community Forum of course. And Google.

    As long as it doesn't conflict or use up resources and result in slower Mac operations, and you have a backup and are testing it, sounds fine, and wise thing to do.

    What has been true, well Symmantec has come out with a new version recently, which is why I recommended checking with their own forums.
  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (30,455 points)
    One person with AOL email mentioned that their email account ended up sending spam as a result of a virus.


    I've seen such claims numerous times before, but of course never with any actual evidence of a virus. I would be skeptical of any such claim. It's common for accounts with weak passwords on certain frequently-exploited hosts (like AOL) to be hacked and used for sending spam, and no virus - no interaction with the user's machine, for that matter - is required for this sort of thing.
  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (30,455 points)
    I understand that there are no known Mac viruses, but there are a variety of malware on the Internet that may present problems to OSX users.


    Not very many, and they're very rare. (See my [Mac Virus guide|http://www.reedcorner.net/thomas/guides/macvirus> for more details.) It's far more likely that you'll be tricked into giving up personal information by some scam, and though some security software can protect you against known phishing sites, only your own brain can protect you against scam attempts using previously unknown phishing sites. Having such software in place only makes you complacent and thus more likely to become a victim.

    Moreover, I do exchange files with Windows users, so I need to be careful about transferring files that may contain viruses, etc.


    This is a quite valid reason to have AV software, though I'm always of the opinion that Windows users should worry about protecting themselves, and I'm not going to help them pay for security on their poor choice of an insecure OS.

    Norton is a notorious troublemaker according to reports here... How overblown those reports may be, I don't know, but if I were going to install AV software myself, I'd use something less intrusive, like [clamXav|http://www.clamxav.com>. I've also heard good things about (but have no personal experience with) Sophos.

    Also, note that the Norton firewall is completely unnecessary, since there are two firewalls built into the Mac OS that you can use (one configurable through System Preferences -> Security and one command line only).