Macs and viruses

Posted on 2004-10-28
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
About to add our first Mac...a G5 to the network.  
What is the current virus situation?  Are Macs suceptible?  Are there AV products for the Mac?
What's the best way to go?

Am looking for multiple opinions here, so don't be reluctant to post just because somebody else has.
Question by:JConchie
    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution

    The state of malware for Macs is nothing like tidal wave of crap that assaults Windows PCs on a daily basis.
    Not that there aren't isolated incidents of nefarious scripts.  Most, like this:

    do not have the ability to self-propagate.

    Apple .Mac members get a free version of MacAfee Virex, but most of the viruses it
    scans for are Windows-only.  The viruses won't infect or run on the Mac - Virex just
    prevents the Mac from acting as a conduit for the virus (via forwarded email, for instance).

    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    If you use OS9 and there's a lot of file exchanging via MO, floppies, zipdrive, jaz, and other media, then you might be able to get infected by some mac virus.  But most of them just harmless virus, but nevertheless annoying.

    You can get away with no antivirus in OSX (at least for the moment).  I ran OSXs with no antivirus.

    I'm managing a network of 60 Mac (various os8.5 till OSX Server), most of them doesn't have antivirus, and we never have any virus problem.  (Don't ask for the PCs in my network.... :()  (we started using mac 10 years ago when 6100/66 came out......)

    Rather than worrying about virus, you should :
    1. perform any update available on the OS.  If you reluctant to update the OS ("if it aint broke, don't fix it"), then at least you should do 'security update' when it available (especially when you computer is on a network and/or connected to internet).
    2. subscribe/read mac news such as on or on regular basis.  we'll never know when the first malicious virus going to appear.
    3. backup regularly.

    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    From Slashdot today:

    "The National Security Agency has just released a Security Configuration Guide for Apple MacOS X (pdf). The guide mostly contains common sense configuration information that applies to many UNIX systems. It also includes specific discussion for Apple's unique features such as KeyChain and FileVault. It should be useful to most MacOS X users and will be particularly useful for US Government organisations that use MacOS X and for commercial IT Departments that are supporting MacOS X. "

    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    by:Andrew Duffy
    The biggest virus-related problem on the Mac is Word Macro viruses which, although pretty harmless, will cause infected documents to be prevented by client's etc. firewall when they're emailed. But provided you've got a good AV solution on your fileservers, this shouldn't be a problem.

    Assisted Solution

    In my 18 years of using Apple computers, I have had only 2 viruses.  Both were planted by another user (one by an a**hole at my home, one by an a**hole at my office) from a disk.  One typed some words on a scanner dialogue box, the other played a little animation when I started up QuarkXPress.  Neither did any harm.

    Everything I have read agrees that the odds of receiving a virus over the Internet are minimal on a Mac.  The reason?  The Mac grabs only about 3% of the market share, and if you're going to write a virus, the intent is to infect as many computers as possible.  There is no logical motivation for a hacker to write a virus that he KNOWS right off the bat will only affect 3 out of every 100 computers it happens to run across.

    Plus, Mac users are generally happier, less vindictive people than Win users, and therefore less likely to write malicious viruses.
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    but macs can still be a conduit to the rest of your network.

    on the os 9.2.2's I manage, we run Symantec Enterprise 7.x (managed by a 9.1 MMC snap in on a Windows 2003 server)

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment


    Since you just got a G5 you might want to look into the .MAC membership.  I did for the same reason as you… because it includes all those other features ( -.Mac) plus Virex –which auto updates signatures for you directly from Apple.  Virex is from McAfee.  With a Mac purchase I think .Mac is $69.00/ year.  Check out the 60 day free trail first though – that way you discover for yourself how much you actually use all those features.  Good luck!

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