4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 9, 2012 12:48 PM by Linc Davis
D_hood Level 1 Level 1

I am new to mac and i do some file sharing, I was wondering would a anti virus still be needed? If so which would you recommend and why. I dont mind if i have to pay for it.

Solved by Niel on Dec 9, 2012 8:37 AM Solved

ClamXav and Sophos are potentially good to use. Any Mac OS X antivirus product which actually costs money should be avoided.



  • Niel Level 10 Level 10

    ClamXav and Sophos are potentially good to use. Any Mac OS X antivirus product which actually costs money should be avoided.



  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10

    You don't need an antivirus in OS X. If you want, you can install one of the applications that Niel said, but you don't need them. See > http://www.reedcorner.net/mmg/

  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 Level 7
    Mac OS X

    Based on these tests carried out by Thomas Reed, I've been trying out Sophos for Mac for about two weeks now. Unlike the 'paid' av packages, it doesn't seem to cause any problems and is easily uninstalled (which I intend to do in another two weeks).


    If you feel as if you need something - even for your own peace of mind - give Sophos a trial run, at least. DO NOT buy any av software.



  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10

    This comment applies to malicious software ("malware") that's installed unwittingly by the victim of a network attack. It does not apply to software, such as keystroke loggers, that may be installed deliberately by an intruder who has hands-on access to the victim's computer. That threat is in a different category, and there's no easy way to defend against it. If you have reason to suspect that you're the target of such an attack, you need expert help.

    All versions of OS X since 10.6.7 have been able to detect known Mac malware in downloaded files. The recognition database is automatically updated once a day; however, you shouldn't rely on it, because the attackers are always at least a day ahead of the defenders. In most cases, there’s no benefit from any other automated protection against malware.


    Starting with OS X 10.7.5, there has been another layer of built-in malware protection, designated "Gatekeeper" by Apple. By default, applications and Installer packages downloaded from the network will only run if they're digitally signed by a developer with a certificate issued by Apple. Software certified in this way hasn't actually been tested by Apple (unless it comes from the Mac App Store), but you can be sure that it hasn't been modified by anyone other than the developer. His identity is known, so he could be held legally responsible if he distributed malware. For most practical purposes, applications recognized by Gatekeeper as signed can be considered safe.
    Note, however, that there are some caveats concerning Gatekeeper:
    • It can be disabled or overridden by the user.
    • It can be bypassed by some third-party networking software, such as BitTorrent clients and Java applets (see below.)
    • It only applies to software downloaded from the network. Software installed from a CD or other media is not checked.
    For more information about Gatekeeper, see this Apple Support article.


    That being said, the best defense against malware is your own intelligence. All known malware on the Internet that affects a fully-updated installation of OS X 10.6 or later takes the form of so-called "trojan horses," which can only have an effect if the victim is duped into running them. If you're smarter than the malware attacker thinks you are, you won't be duped. That means, primarily, that you never install software from an untrustworthy source. How do you know a source is untrustworthy?
    • Any website that prompts you to install a “codec,” “plug-in,” or “certificate” that comes from that same site, or an unknown one, is untrustworthy.
    • A web operator who tells you that you have a “virus,” or that anything else is wrong with your computer, or that you have won a prize in a contest you never entered, is trying to commit a crime with you as the victim. (Some reputable websites did legitimately warn users who were infected with the "DNSChanger" malware. That exception to this rule no longer applies.)
    • “Cracked” copies of commercial software downloaded from a bittorrent are likely to be infected.
    • Software with a corporate brand, such as Adobe Flash Player, must be downloaded directly from the developer’s website. No intermediary is acceptable.
    Java on the network (not to be confused with JavaScript, to which it's not related) is a weak point in the security of any operating system. If a Java web plugin is not installed, don't install it unless you really need it. If it is installed, you should disable it (not JavaScript) in your web browsers. Few websites have Java content nowadays, so you won’t be missing much. This setting is mandatory in OS X 10.5.8 or earlier, because Java in those obsolete versions has known security flaws that make it unsafe to use on the Internet. The flaws will never be fixed. Regardless of version, experience has shown that Java can never be fully trusted, even if no vulnerabilities are publicly known at the moment.

    Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be as safe from malware as you can reasonably be.

    Never install any commercial "anti-virus" or "Internet security" products for the Mac, as they all do more harm than good. If you need to be able to detect Windows malware in your files, use the free software ClamXav — nothing else.
    Why shouldn't you use commercial "anti-virus" products?
    • Their design is predicated on the nonexistent threat that malware may be injected at any time, anywhere in the file system. Malware is downloaded from the network; it doesn't materialize from nowhere.
    • In order to meet that nonexistent threat, the software duplicates low-level functions of the operating system, which is a waste of resources and a common cause of instability and poor performance.
    • By modifying the system, the software itself may create weaknesses that could be exploited by malware attackers.
    ClamXav doesn't have these drawbacks. That doesn't mean it's entirely safe. Using it to delete or move email messages can corrupt the Mail database. Such messages must be deleted from within the Mail application. ClamXav is not needed for protection against OS X malware. It's useful only for detecting Windows malware. If you don't need to do that, avoid it. Windows malware can't harm you directly. Just don't pass it on to anyone else.
    The greatest danger posed by anti-virus software, in my opinion, is its effect on human behavior. If you install such software, which does little or nothing to protect you from emerging threats, and you get a false sense of security from it, you may be less alert to the threats and therefore more exposed to them. Nothing can lessen the need for safe computing practices.
    It seems to be a common belief that the built-in Application Firewall acts as a barrier to infection, or prevents malware from functioning. It does neither. It blocks inbound connections to certain network services you're running, such as file sharing. It's disabled by default and you should leave it that way if you're behind a router on a private home or office network. Activate it only when you're on an untrusted network, like a public Wi-Fi hotspot, where you don't want to provide services. Disable any services you don't use.