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back to article Apple tells Mac users: Get anti-virus

For the first time, Apple is recommending the use of anti-virus tools to protect Mac systems. Long something of a phantom menace, strains of malware capable of infecting Mac machines have gradually been increasing in prevalence over recent months. In addition, VXers are making more use of web-based attack and applications …

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Anonymous Coward

Fuck that shit

I don't use anti-virus on my PCs, I'm certainly not using it on my Macs. I'll stick to backups and sensible browsing. In my experience of disinfecting machines, it's usually a damn site quicker to nuke the machine and restore from backups.

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Detect Windows viruses on Mac

What the article fails to mention is that 99% of the viruses the Mac Anti-Virus Tools detect are actually WINDOWS viruses, not Mac ones.

So, Mac users are protecting themselves against something that can't harm them in 99% of cases.

A Mac could, in theory, pass a Windows virus on to a Windows user though, but to me that's justice!!!

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IT Angle

Malware != Virus

Surely anti-virus programs protect against viruses and Malware is something else entirely, requiring a different type of application to protect against it?

Therefore it seems Apple are recommending AV just to cover their backs in case something comes along and Apple would then be able to say "we told you to use AV".

As far as Macs go, there still hasn't been a virus on OS X and Malware in the form of trojans etc can only be protected to the point of user stupidity - ie, if you run an unknown app and it suddenly asks for Admin rights, you can be fairly confident it's probably up to no good.

Business as usual as far as my Macs go then (ie, no AV along with an update-to-date version of common sense)

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Silver badge

Jobs done ..... and What-do-we-do-now Spike. :-)

Well, at least no one can say that Steve didn't do his bit to breathe life into the Virus Industry.

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Ray
Unhappy

fruit and nuts

i suppose this has happened simply because there are enough mac desktops to make it financially viable to develop virii for mac platforms. victim of their own success?

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Jobs Halo

A voice of reason

John, nice article.

At last a voice of reason!

I've been a long time mac head, and am proud of it, but I'm not stupid either - (Honest I'm not!) - and think AV for all platforms is a good idea.

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Anonymous Coward

If these viruses...

...are using (say) Flash for the exploit and managing to affect Applex, then you can bet that Linux systems will become increasingly vulnerable 9well, once they become popular enough to be worthwhile).

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Dan
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Stop

Odd

Why haven't they recommended ClamAV for home users and is free? They ship it MacOS X Server.

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Flame

MAC USER TELLS INDUSTRY:

STOP BUILDING, SO CALLED ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE THAT BURIES ITSELF IN LIKE A TICK AND DOESN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING

I'm looking at you Norton. Don't think I hadn't noticed.

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Jobs Horns

I'm a Mac, I'm a PC

Not to smug now, are we ?

I've been running XP for the past two years without any anti-virus, anti-spyware or third-party firewall. The secret is to run as a Limited User:

http://blogs.msdn.com/aaron_margosis/pages/TOC.aspx

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I think probably -

- it's a very poorly worded document that mean "one of multiple pieces of software", not multiple simultaneous packages. Still, could be wrong.

This really surprises me. There's still virtually nothing that can harm a Mac without user aid – typing in your password – and antivirus can't help if it's a case of PICNIC. It just validates the stupid scare mongering that so-call security companies do.

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Multiple virus scanners

You can read "Apple encourages widespread use of multiple virus scanners" in two ways. I don't think it necessarily means multiple scanners on the *same* machine, just that if there's a variety of scanners out there in widespread use that makes it more difficult for malware writers to circumvent a specific bit of AV software.

As far as I know there are still approximately zero actual viruses (as opposed to proof of concepts that you need to manually install) out there that threaten the Mac, but has often been pointed this doesn't mean there couldn't be one in future, so one should never be too complacent.

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Jobs Halo

Been using ClamXav for years

Whilst I would argue that Macs are generally more resistant, somebody somewhere WILL eventually devise a successful virus that attacks Macs, to the point of detractors being justified in blurting an unrestrainable "See? Told you so...", only to suffer terminal schadenfreude. Inevitable.

The overall resistance level combined with a lower profile can only take you so far, and common sense dictates that all extra levels of security are worth having. Most Mac owners I know are of the same opinion, being almost universally dull in their common sense attitude. The days of the old-style utterly rabid Mac fanatic appear numbered round these parts. Good thing too.

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They aren't encouraging multiple virus scanners on one machine

I think you've misread Apple's post. They're not suggesting that anyone installs multiple antivirus utilities on one machine. The statement says "the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities". What they're saying is that if there are multiple antivirus utilities out there in widespread use, rather than just one antivirus utility that dominates, then virus programmers will have a much harder time, because in order for their virus to successfully propagate they'll need to circumvent them all. So they're encouraging people to not necessarily follow one particular antivirus software vendor, just because it's got a bigger name, but saying that there are multiple options out there, and they are all just as good, and the fact that there are multiple out there protects you further.

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You can read it two ways

"Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple anti-virus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult," doesn't necessarily mean installing multiple utilities on single computers. I can just as easily be read as promoting the widespread use of a variety of applications, so that the platform isn't reliant on just one package which becomes easy meat for the nasties.

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Paris Hilton

@I think probably

>> There's still virtually nothing that can harm a Mac without user aid – typing in your password

When the first wild OSX virus came out - that the argument seemed to be users had to type password, but reading a few Mac Forums at the time it was reported users could be set up so they were admins and password wasn't needed as part of install process

of course 90% of windows MalWare is stopped in tracks if user doesn't run the attachments on the email

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Jobs Halo

A badly written support note and article

Mac users should worry about their Windows colleagues (it's a bit like having an injured puppy in the room) and have some sort of antivirus software running but ClamXAV is more than good enough and free.

I think it was more to pacify sysmans in mixed networks who can't bear the thought of not installing crap on computers to make them run slower and infuriate their users.

www.thefreemac.com

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Linux

Why not engineer the product (OSX) to be secure?

Hi,

Why should a consumer need to buy (install, admin and manage) a 3rd party product to protect an operating system?

Why do we accept that it is OK for OS vendors to ship products which they are apparently aware are vulnerable to common threats during ordinary and standard usage (e.g. a home computer user)?

Sure.. nothing can be guaranteed to be 100% secure at any time.. but as a vulnerability is discovered it should be fixed.. and if there is a period before the fix is delivered then the OS vendor and their product needs to be able to cope by itself... not require the customer to buy an "extra product".

I do not understand why we accept this approach from the vendors... they can only continue this practice if we (consumers) keep falling for it.

I use Linux... and as we all know.. there have never been and there aren't ever going to be any viri/worms/malicious code anything for *nix systems.... ;-)

Steve.

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Dead Vulture

Sensationalism

Nowhere in the technical note does Apple say "to protect OS X from viruses". As pointed out by others, people often install anti-virus software on a Mac to prevent them inadvertently passing Windows viruses on to others.

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Anonymous Coward

bragging rights?

but surely Macs will only be infected by a much higher class of viruses - won't they?

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Paris Hilton

@Fuck that shit

Yes, I used to think that sensible browsing with no AV would be just fine and dandy until one day I browsed across what looked like a sensible site and before I knew it the little turd of a payload was deployed. It wasn't until a few days later I began to suspect something was up.

Took me about 3 days to rebuild from scratch, and a subscription to AVG.

One day the Mac's time will come (I should point out I have one too) and it *will* be necessary to run AV software. Who knows what exploit is lurking in the wings.

Paris, because she's the apple of someone elses minds eye.

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God no. Not Symantec or Norton.

I think I'd rather just have the viruses thanks. They are better written.

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Boffin

why not?

As an experienced Mac user for over 18 years, I run ClamXAV on my own G5 Tower at home, and on the one at work. I have so many Windows-produced files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint to name but a few) emailed to me on my work email PC - sometimes I forward them home to work on, but the results arew generally emailed to others. I run ClamXAV which has picked up a couple of Windows nasties, and I don't therefore forward the fruits of the ungodly to unsuspecting users.

It's only good manners & polite consideration.

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Jobs Halo

Two Replies...

@ Steve Adams:

"I use Linux... and as we all know.. there have never been and there aren't ever going to be any viri/worms/malicious code anything for *nix systems.... ;-)"

Mac OS X is a *nix operating system too y'know, and has the same level of security.

@Toastan Buttar

Yes, I can be just as smug as before because there are still no viruses or malware for OS X, only Trojans which are impossible to protect against because they rely on user stupidity. And yes, running your account as a 'normal' user rather than an administrator will always help with security, you've still had to carefully tip toe around the minefield of viruses/malware on Windows, I haven't had to do anything :) I don't think you read the article fully because while Apple seems to recommend AV software, there's no actual reason to do so.

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Gates Halo

"I'm better than all of you, I'm a viscount"

So after two-button mice, Pentiums, screen resolutions and everything else they've copied from PCs despite arguing all along that they were inferior, the latest addition is Norton and the need thereof.

But hey, Macs are still super superior, right....

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Stop

the most important aspect of this...

is what webster phreaky thinks about this.....has he woken up yet? i'm so looking forward to his unbiased opinion...

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Alert

@ Steve Adams

> there have never been and there aren't ever going to be any

> viri/worms/malicious code anything for *nix systems.... ;-)

Sorry, and OS X would be a GUI running on top of which operating system?

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Jobs Horns

hahahaha

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa!

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No need for AV on Mac/Linux because there's no virii

I think that's called Security through Obscurity. And we all know what the pros think about that.

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Coat

Not the first time, surely...

Just be a pendant, but I'm sure this isn't the first time Apple has recommended the use of virus scanners. Back in the early 90's System 6 and 7 Macs were plagued by floppy-born viruses.

Back the we all used John Norstad's excellent and free Disinfectant. http://homepage.mac.com/j.norstad/disinfectant-retire.txt

Mine's the anorak.

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Dead Vulture

Actually...

@ Steve Adams:

"I use Linux... and as we all know.. there have never been and there aren't ever going to be any viri/worms/malicious code anything for *nix systems.... ;-)"

One word, two syllables. RootKit

And yes, I'm a Mac user - and yes, I'm using ClamXAV

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Flame

Hmmmm

So why recommend paid for crap like Norton or McAfee. I use iAntivirus from PC Tools very good and free.

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Jobs Horns

ClamXAV is useless...

..as it is not a real-time scanner.

Free comes at a cost.

Keep your heads in the sand fanboys, but you will get bitten soon enough and then there will be a lot of very dead Mac's to show for it.

Your leader has spoken so run along and buy what he has ordered you to.

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Jobs Halo

Bareback

I, for one, will continue riding the internet bareback on my MacBook. Yes, I run AVG on my VMWare Fusion Windows install, but until I see a real threat, I don't think I'll be spending money to slow down my Mac unnecessarily.

I'd love to know what these AVs are protecting against.

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Gates Halo

Yawn

Who cares? I'm off to blunder my way across all sorts of dangerous porn sites knowing I'm completely immune...

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Webster phreaky has been spotted....

having a very loud arguement with a sales assistant at an O2 shop. The police were eventually called.....

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Sam

A quick tune

Aaaaand if you tolerate this, then the Penguin will be next, will be next, will be next, will be ne-xt..

You'll be singing that all afternoon now.

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Rob

@Everyone on at Steve Adams ...

"I use Linux... and as we all know.. there have never been and there aren't ever going to be any viri/worms/malicious code anything for *nix systems.... ;-)"

I think it was sarcasm, they really need to invent tone of voice in ascii. Sadly though I think alot Mac users actually beleive this statement.

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Ever looked at the mircosoft.com site?

1. Go to microsoft.com

2. select the tab "using your computer", and what do you see?

"Protect your computer. Learn 4 steps to help you avoid viruses, spyware, hackers, and more"

3. Select that and you see "Step 3. Use updated antivirus software"

So, Microsoft prominently states that you should use antivirus software (and if you click a bit more also offers one ...). Nice way to make money, first sell the disease and the sell the cure ...

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Happy

Creating a market

AV has always thrived on fear and ignorance for its success, and it must seem like a terrible waste to the AV makers that the Apple market has been immune to their charms for so long, so if Steve was to throw them this particular bone, I'm sure they will be grateful.

That said, I have been online for over 10 years, an MS user man and boy, with nary a bit of AV software ever, nor any infections either. And for those unfortunate, or silly enough to be infected, I have never seen a virus that couldn't be handled or prevented with basic IT skills. A virus is just an application like any other, and while some are trickier than others, I have never seen one that warranted a re-install. Nor have I seen anyone equipped with AV that was immune to them either, if anything they suffered from a false sense of security, and a hobbled machine limping along under the weight of bloated AV.

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Boffin

A pedant writes

The plural of 'virus' is 'viruses'.

There are no such words as 'viri' and 'virii'

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Paris Hilton

Oh I love it...

All those people who won't install AV software until they see a real threat...

So you DO have to have your brains removed to buy a Mac, then? Don't you see that when you see a real threat, it's too late 'cos chances are you're infected?

Paris, 'cos even she wouldn't swallow some of the stuff the fanboys come out with...

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Alien

Soooo bored.

I'm sooo bored today that I actually read through all the above comments.

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Jobs Horns

"Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple anti-virus utilities"

Great way to reduce performance and cause conflicts between them.

Also, I see apple recommend norton and mcafee... Looks like apple need to do some research into this 'security' business...

Also, it seems the end of mac fanboys' smug 'macs don't have vulnerabilities' is ending at last... Of course macs have vulns, just until now nobody has bothered to exploit them. Windows is possibly more secure due to regular patches.

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Alert

Macs aren't immune

Just because the vast majority of malware/crapware/viruses run on Windows doesn't mean Macs will always be free of those critters.

Aside from the "REAL" people who buy Macs [for business, for audio and video editing] you will still have those morons [they always seem to be blonde, female and an IQ of Britney Spears or less ... if that's possible] who will click on some attachment or open up some web site and will get infected. As more morons will buy a super expensive surfing/email system, more and more crapsware will appear becausethese morons know nothing about computers.

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Paris Hilton

You iFanatics scare me...

It almost sounds like you wear a lack of protection as a point of pride? What next? No need for condoms as since you are a Mac user STDs will not infect you? I run OSX with protection as I think that just because no one has identified any viruses doesn't mean none exist! Plus just think about how these security companies work - 90% of their consumer base are windows users plus all those corporate windows boxes means they will devote 95% of all effort to windows threats. Do you think that they are geared up as much for Mac OS based attacks when they appear?

To use one of our much loved car analogies - if you were in one of the safest cars on the road (dunno which one... VW? BMW? Volvo?) would you not wear a seatbelt because the car maker told you this was one of the safest cars on the road?

Something PH might think was sensible...

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FAIL of an Ad

Only posting this comment here 'cause it's the only place I could click fast enough before the AMD ad took over.

You gents have an ad from AMD ("The future is Advertising, erm, Fusion") which completely takes over the front page and doesn't let me do anything but look at that single banner ad. I can't see the front page for more than a second or two unless I block the ad...which I can't do on this machine.

Time to find a new advertising channel than doubleclick?

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Shouldn't AntiVirus Software be part of the OS?

I realize when viruses were a new idea, Symantec and their like started up to respond quickly to the problem.

However, now that viruses are mainstream, doesn't it seem like antivirus software should be just a part of the OS? Much like a software firewall?

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Gold badge

Engineer to be secure

"Why not engineer the product (OSX) to be secure? "

"Sure.. nothing can be guaranteed to be 100% secure at any time.. but as a vulnerability is discovered it should be fixed.. and if there is a period before the fix is delivered then the OS vendor and their product needs to be able to cope by itself... not require the customer to buy an "extra product"."

Vulnerabilities ARE fixed as discovered (although, I've found Apple MUCH slower about doing this than say Canonical...), and "if there is a period before the fix is delivered then the OS vendor and their product needs to be able to cope by itself" is nonsense. People are HAND designing these viruses and spyware to successfully affect the system. These systems are *designed* to be secure but people do make mistakes... if coders were perfect there'd be no security updates. (That said I run Ubuntu rather than OSX).

That said, I'm thinking this may cover things pretty well:

"if you run an unknown app and it suddenly asks for Admin rights, you can be fairly confident it's probably up to no good." The big difference on the Mac (and Unixes in general), THEY DON'T JUST RANDOMLY DECIDE TO RUN CODE. (Also, Ubuntu at least has stack smashing and etc. support, that the app can't just request to turn off like in Vista.)

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whoa. i just saw a flock of pigs perform a couple of loops and then break the soundbarrier

mac ? visurs and other nasties. That's just unheard of. Besides, isn't it u-nix based. I thought that was immune...

Maybe mac is becoming popular enough that the bad boys have found a new pond to phish in...

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