11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 27, 2015 8:22 PM by apple_tori
Barrybazz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have read a lot recently that the Mac is increasing vulnerable and was thinking of investing in Mcafee or Norton products - which is best or is there a better alternative?

iMac (21.5-inch Mid 2010), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (247,760 points)

    None is really needed as of now.


    Helpful Links Regarding Virus Protection


    An excellent link to read is Tom Reed's Mac Malware Guide.

    Also, visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on malware.


    For general anti-virus protection I recommend using ClamXav.

  • seventy one Level 6 Level 6 (10,570 points)

    As of now you don't need security products.  You do need to be careful what you download.   Apple has an ongoing program of protection for OS X 10.7 and above, and still keep a watchful eye on Snow Leopard.

  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (46,525 points)

    Barrybazz wrote:


    I have read a lot recently that the Mac is increasing vulnerable and was thinking of investing in Mcafee or Norton products - which is best or is there a better alternative?

    None!!!!! OS X is not like MS Windows that requires third party security tools. The best thing you can do for your iMac is to keep the software up-to-date by reguallarly running Software Update and to not download from sites or emails that demand  you do. You will get lots of useful information on this forum, most recommend the best security you can use is OS X itself.

  • ssls6 Level 4 Level 4 (2,845 points)

    I will give you my opinion.  You do not need security software if you can follow some basic rules.  Only install software from trusted sources.  Never input an admin password if prompted from any webpage or email attachment. 

  • davidsignal Level 3 Level 3 (525 points)

    Windows doesn't require third party secuity tools either.   If you can't excercise caution in what you are downloading, then those products are an option, but they will cripple your drive speeds and CPU utilization, mostly unneccessarily as they scan everything that is read/written to your hard drive.


    If you are on a home network with a router, then you don't need a firewall either.  The only things that get through to your computer through a router running NAT is traffic that you initiate on your own computer.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (150,990 points)

    1. 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.

    2. All versions of OS X since 10.6.7 have been able to detect known Mac malware in downloaded files, and to block insecure web plugins. This feature is transparent to the user, but internally Apple calls it "XProtect." The malware recognition database is automatically checked for updates once a day; however, you shouldn't rely on it, because the attackers are always at least a day ahead of the defenders.
    The following caveats apply to XProtect:
    • 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.
    3. 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 reasonably sure that it hasn't been modified by anyone other than the developer. His identity is known to Apple, 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.
    Gatekeeper has, however, the same limitations as XProtect, and in addition the following:
    • It can easily be disabled or overridden by the user.
    • A malware attacker could get control of a code-signing certificate under false pretenses, or could find some other way to evade Apple's controls.
    For more information about Gatekeeper, see this Apple Support article.
    4. Beyond XProtect and Gatekeeper, there’s no benefit, in most cases, from any other automated protection against malware. The first and best line of defense is always your own intelligence. All known malware circulating 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. The threat therefore amounts to a battle of wits between you and the malware attacker. If you're smarter than he thinks you are, you'll win.
    That means, in practice, that you never use software that comes from an untrustworthy source. How do you know whether a source is trustworthy?
    • Any website that prompts you to install a “codec,” “plug-in,” "player," "extractor," 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 visitors who were infected with the "DNSChanger" malware. That exception to this rule no longer applies.)
    • Pirated copies or "cracks" of commercial software, no matter where they come from, are unsafe.
    • Software of any kind downloaded from a BitTorrent or from a Usenet binary newsgroup is unsafe.
    • Software with a corporate brand, such as Adobe Flash Player, must be downloaded directly from the developer’s website. If it comes from any other source, it's unsafe.
    5. Java on the Web (not to be confused with JavaScript, to which it's not related, despite the similarity of the names) is a weak point in the security of any system. Java is, among other things, a platform for running complex applications in a web page, on the client. That was never a good idea, and Java's developers have had a lot of trouble implementing it without also creating a portal for malware to enter. Past Java exploits are the closest thing there has ever been to a Windows-style "virus" affecting OS X. Merely loading a page with malicious Java content could be harmful. Fortunately, Java on the Web is mostly extinct. Only a few outmoded sites still use it. Try to hasten the process of extinction by avoiding those sites, if you have a choice.
    Java is not included in OS X 10.7 and later. A discrete Java installer is distributed by Apple, and another one by Oracle (the developer of Java.) Don't use either one unless you need it. Most people don't. If Java is installed, disable it — not JavaScript — in your browsers. In Safari, this is done by unchecking the box marked Enable Java in the Security tab of the preferences dialog.
    Regardless of version, experience has shown that Java on the Web can't be trusted. If you must use a Java applet for a specific task, enable Java only when needed for the task and disable it immediately when done. Close all other browser windows and tabs, and don't visit any other sites while Java is active. Never enable Java on a public web page that carries third-party advertising. Use it, if at all, only on well-known, password-protected, secure websites without ads. In Safari 6 or later, you'll see a lock icon in the address bar with the abbreviation "https" when visiting a secure site.

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

    6. Never install any commercial "anti-virus" or "Internet security" products for the Mac, as they all do more harm than good, if they do any good at all. 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 modifies or duplicates low-level functions of the operating system, which is a waste of resources and a common cause of instability, bugs, and poor performance.
    • By modifying the operating system, the software itself may create weaknesses that could be exploited by malware attackers.
    7. ClamXav doesn't have these drawbacks. That doesn't mean it's entirely safe. It may report email messages that have "phishing" links in the body, or Windows malware in attachments, as infected files, and offer to delete or move them. Doing so will corrupt the Mail database. The messages should be deleted from within the Mail application.
    ClamXav is not needed, and should not be relied upon, for protection against OS X malware. It's useful only for detecting Windows malware. Windows malware can't harm you directly (unless, of course, you use Windows.) Just don't pass it on to anyone else.
    A Windows malware attachment in email is usually easy to recognize. The file name will often be targeted at people who aren't very bright; for example:
    ClamXav may be able to tell you which particular virus or trojan it is, but do you care? In practice, there's seldom a reason to use ClamXav unless a network administrator requires you to run an anti-virus application.
    8. The greatest harm done by anti-virus software, in my opinion, is in its effect on human behavior. It does little or nothing to protect people from emerging threats, but they get a false sense of security from it, and then they may behave in ways that expose them to higher risk. Nothing can lessen the need for safe computing practices.
    9. 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, for instance a public Wi-Fi hotspot, where you don't want to provide services. Disable any services you don't use in the Sharing preference pane. All are disabled by default.

  • MadMacs0 Level 5 Level 5 (4,470 points)

    Something else for your reading pleasure: Do You Need Mac Antivirus Software in 2013?

  • alanmil Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I use mackeeper and it does alot more it will track your imac if stolen very good

  • seventy one Level 6 Level 6 (10,570 points)

    Once your Mac is infected with MacKeeper, you probably won't want to recover it.

  • seventy one Level 6 Level 6 (10,570 points)

    Thank you, BarryBazz.


    See you have a sense of humour.   Incidentally, Norton is not good for Macs either.

  • apple_tori Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for the time you put into your article. I'm amazed and informed. Up to this point I have been relying upon Norton. It feels a bit scary to disable this, but it seems to make sense. On one of our windows computer, when Norton was installed, the computer began acting up.


    I'm still nervous to not have any antivirus or malware software on our macs, but your article makes sense.


    Oh, and I made the deadly mistake of purchasing mackeeper. With all of those ads and testimonies, I was a sheep following the herd. I have paid dearly for this terrible mistake.