Macs don't need an antivirus?

By 19ran69 ยท 78 replies
Feb 22, 2011
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  1. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Sucks you are going to leave at least in part because of this... Just out of curiosity I looked back at slightly over 1 year of posts in Alt OS and didn't find any started by a mod talking about the necessity of AV on a Mac...

    The percentage of Mac users on this board is incredibly low. Those of us that do post seem to have at least an 'intermediate' level of knowledge about things. So I'm not entirely sure what it is that causes you to want to leave. Losing a Mac user, even if its a casual user, is pretty detrimental to the survival of at least the Mac portion of Alt OS.
  2. ChinoNYC

    ChinoNYC TS Enthusiast Posts: 85

    Yeah, that kinda sucks. We don't need to lose a key member of the Alt OS Universe. Caravel, coooommmmmeeeeeeeee bbbbbbaaaaaaaaacccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk...

    Okay, that was kinda nutty on my part. In all seriousness, we can all agree to disagree on several topics. That much is common ground. But to disagree all for the sake of anti-virus apps on a Linux distro, of all things, well then we have a problem here. Caravel was right about a key point. You have to be running as root to execute certain tasks, whether it be Linux or *NIX. Add to the fact that the majority of embedded malware and spyware were specifically programmed and coded for Win OS'es without the need for administrative privileges.

    I don't claim to know anything about Linux or any of their distro flavors. In fact, I started using Fedora Core 10 last year and I still have not gotten around to whether to use Gnome or KDE as my desktop environment. And I'll be the first to tell you that it's very cumbersome and has a steep learning curve, one that I will be able to master within time. So I wouldn't know a wristlock from a wristwatch in that environment, much less know if an antivirus solution is warranted in Linux under any circumstances.

    Okay, I will stop ranting now. :D :D
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    You are right that there are those that espouse arguments for which they neither cite authoritative references and/or clearly identify a lack of experience :)

    Suggestion: Make Y O UR case, cite references and as they say, "Just consider the source" and giggle to yourself. The UseNET group on NNTP suffered from "too many experts" too, but when we read personally flames, it's a strong clue that there's an issue. I've written SUID *nix code so you can evaluate - - and I would bet many can't :)

    PLEASE revist and resume your contributions ! ! ! :grinthumb
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    This CAN be true only if the admin does silly things with permissions, groups, and shared passwords. If true, the illness is on the Admin, not the system.:eek:
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    horse-dookie. ALL computers with the exception of closed loop systems need security software.
  6. wizardB

    wizardB TS Booster Posts: 121   +23

    I agree but we are not talking admins here we are talking users and anybody that has serviced any machines no matter what the OS knows what lengths they will go to thinking they actually are making their comps better,I and probably most of you could run our machines almost forever without a problem but the average user does not have the sense to not click yes just so he can see the picture of that special:) woman hence my affirmation that all comps should have AV and only an ***** say other wise and I stand by that...and if someone wants to take it personal that is their prob not mine or anyone elses I really get tired of so called experts going off in a huff just because someone question their special OS and claim that it isn't perfect!
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    oh boy :eek:- - I'll take my own advice and
    "Just consider the source" :blackeye:​
  8. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Doesn't matter what computer or OS you use if you willingly download and run a file.
  9. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    At the same time, what if the Mac computer did not have AV, and then the subsequent Windows computers it sent to did not have AV either? Every computer (mac included) involved in the movement of that infection is at fault for potentially spreading that particular copy of the virus. The likelyhood or ability to be infected by a virus does not take it out of the infection path, so I would still agree with the "as a precaution for other computers" mindset, especially in a mixed OS environment. It only takes one weak link to break the chain, though nowadays even the weakest link is quite resilient compared to 5 years ago.
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Caravel is referring to me, regarding this thread: (Around page 2 I believe).

    As others have said, its a shame to see you leave, but I wish you all the best Caravel.
  11. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I accidentally bumped into this thread, and having read it all the way, it would have been better if caravel stayed and continued his valuable contribution (as many have already wished). Anyway, debate of nix superiority aside, I think 'a user needs to be vigilant about how they set up their box / usage etc.' I haven't bothered with any of Nix distros in years but the last time I had 'any kind of virus' on my PC was in way back in 1992 ..... so my experience tells me if you are careful (with right set configuration) no matter which system you are using you should be okay.
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I see your point. But I don't think it is the Mac user's responsibility to filter interactions between PCs. I think in a professional/corporate environment the PC users are going to have AV whether they like it or not (business decision made by their IT dept), so it will be caught somewhere.
  13. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Kinda like not vaccinating your child on the assumption that other parents will vaccinate their kids?

    Typhoid Mary didn't get sick, so she didn't care about washing her hands when she handled food of other people who then got sick.

    I agree that your average private Mac user probably wouldn't worry about what they pass on to another private user, but in a mixed corporate environment that's a pretty stupid strategy.
  14. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Caravel never said it shouldn't be used in a mixed corporate environment though - I know for certain that in a corporarte environment whether its 'nix, BSD or Windows, the computers will all have AV installed one way or another because of the network - Caravel was the first to accept this, and to point it out, so its unfair to suggest he's saying any different.

    I used to definitely be one of the "it must have it regardless of the OS" crowd, but I'm relaxing more now, as what many have said (including Caravel) makes a lot of sense, it really isn't needed in a home or otherwise un-networked non-corporate environment, and it shouldn't be up to 'nix or BSD users to police everything for Windows users - thats there own job.
  15. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I was replying to SNGX1275, that's why I quoted to what I was responding to. =)
  16. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    As far as I am aware they're both making the same points, so its rather valid tbh.
  17. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18


    Why don't you read your post again, and then my post, and find me the instance where I was suggesting anything about what Caravel was saying. I was replying to SNGX1275. You're basically putting words into my mouth that by disagreeing with SNGX1275, I'm somehow putting words into Caravel's mouth.

    Now if you substitute SNGX1275 with Caravel in your original post you may have a point, but disagreeing with person A does not imply that I'm suggesting that person B is saying something different.

    So I'm going to stick by MY opinion that in a mixed corporate environment EVERY computer should have a AV (I'm going to assume that anyone using a Linux system at work knows what they are doing so they're exempt, but Macs, yes they should have an AV in a corporate environment, especially considering that you're average Mac user has the security sense of a naive four year old (Sure mister, I'd love that lollipop and I'll get into your dark van and help you look for your puppy).

    Most Mac users I talk to don't believe a virus would ever make it onto their computer, and if told that they need to have an AV to protect other computers in the network, they'd probably make some smug suggestion that perhaps everyone should switch to Macs and then they won't have any problems. Hence my Typhoid Mary reference.
  18. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

  19. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    It does, I read it some months ago as it happens - an interesting read it is.

    Ok, gwailo247...

    Yeah you have got me on this occasion. I thought (at the time) that SNGX had replied to Caravel, and you were continuing the conversation, which is why I also referenced him.

    That however couldn't be further from the truth, since it was in fact madboyv1 that was being replied to - I'm at a loss as to how I could have made such a mistake tbh. Sorry about that.

    That said, I stand by the following comments as a generalisation:

    I hope that clears it up - Sorry for the confusion, for the subsequent response (that continued it further) and for not reading up enough first.

    Having re-read everything, I made little sense in my (referenced) post, and it was waste really!
  20. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    No worries, its all good.
  21. lewisje

    lewisje TS Rookie

    Now that it has been easier lately for the Pwn2Own hackers to penetrate OS X than Windows Vista/7, and given the evident cluelessness of Mac owners, as demonstrated by the Mac Defender outbreak, it should not be long before drive-by downloads silently targeting the Mac via browser plugins (especially the always-included, rarely-updated, and often-vulnerable Java Runtime Environment) are widespread; I've heard mixed reviews of Sophos and I know from my brief time owning an old Mac that ClamXav sucks, so I hope that a good free anti-virus program appears for the Mac...maybe Apple will make one with low resource usage and few false positives in the vein of Microsoft Security Essentials, perhaps after acquiring an AV vendor (as Microsoft did with Forefront).
  22. superty12

    superty12 TS Enthusiast Posts: 413

    Every OS needs an antivirus. There are several modes of infection a piece of malware can take that are ungoverned by the operating system. Email, browser, trojan, scareware, other software. The two in the middle I will explain, just in case. A trojan is a piece of software that claims to be one thing and does another. Scareware scares you into downloading a fake antivirus by telling you the computer is infected. Then it can make you buy their fake software or do malware functions.

    BTW, this thread is a flame war.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,548

    I have a question. Since Mac OS has a lot more programs that don't have to be installed than Windows. (".exe" ** type files that run as programs***, but don't need installing), tend to be rarer on Windows than on Mac. Can't this me taken advantage of by malware, and if not, why not?

    **(I think the Mac equivalent is ".dmg". Not sure though).

    ***(SIW being a notable exception).
  24. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    To make system changes, or run scripts usually requires elevated privileges (e.g.root), which is why generally there isn't so much of an issue. This is true of all Unix, BSD and Linux OS', OS X included.

    However, someone blindly using the computer with root privileges, or entering the password to run as root without first questioning why they are doing so puts the system at risk.
  25. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    CC - I think leeky answered better than I could have. But to help your understanding of .dmg, thats really just something like a Windows ".iso" (or linux for that matter). The thing is, instead of programs for Macs (in the modern OS X era) coming as .zips, a lot of them just come as .dmgs, then, when OS X sees one of them - like if Safari* dls it or you double click one, they mount, just like it would in Windows if you put the install disk in (except no autorun*).

    * This kind of changed with that Mac malware thing that was such a news story a month or so ago. That may have done something like autorun, I honestly have forgotten how it launched. I do know that Safari has some thing by default (or it did) where it launched known safe file types. That is a pretty big security problem in itself and I'm not sure Apple corrected it, instead they probably only just added that file type to some known malware list - Apple's psudo built in AV.

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