Antivirus for Mac

Posted on 2014-03-28
Last Modified: 2014-04-06
Any recommendations for antivirus programs for a MacMini?

Things on the order of a real AV, like AVG and also supplementals like malwarebytes and superantispyware, that is.

Ron Hicks
Question by:Ronald Hicks
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LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 150 total points
ID: 39961427
Try Eset. We have used other bands of AV apps but ESet is better than average after comparing them to previous av apps we have used.
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

jhyiesla earned 75 total points
ID: 39961591
Mostly you don't need one... having said that I do run different products on my Macs mostly because of Windows virus that they could possibly store and transmit.

I have tried several over the years and found two that seem to work well...although it's hard to confirm as I've never gotten a Mac virus and am pretty careful about where I go and what I download.

For one Mac I am using a free product from Sophos. It's available from their web site. It seems to be fairly light on my Mac and just runs. On another one, I run Intego's Mac Security.  Again seems to be fairly quiet and not super intrusive of my resources. Mostly on the Mac, if you are running OS X, you don't need supplementary programs like MWB and in fact I don't think there is a version of MWB for the Mac.

Assisted Solution

smksa earned 75 total points
ID: 39961927
you can try MacKeeper Antivirus for MAC mini
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LVL 30

Assisted Solution

serialband earned 100 total points
ID: 39962692
Macs don't get the Windows viruses.  As long as you turn off all your Sharing in your System Preferences, you also won't have to deal with any of the linux attacks or attempts at installing IRC bots on your system.  If you do turn those on, you should firewall them properly if it's being used on the internet.  If it's for personal use, then you should change the default ports so that script kiddies don't keep hitting them.

For the moment, it's actually still quite safe on a Mac without any Antivirus.  When there's enough systems, they will eventually target Macs, but they have enough Windows systems to deal with now.

If you're evaluating for a mixed environment business, I 2nd ESET.  It's lightweight and non-intrusive and will prevent viruses from hopping over to your Windows systems.

Author Comment

by:Ronald Hicks
ID: 39963076
My friend's mac seems to be spamming people, although I'm not sure it is her mac or even anything else of hers (yahoo acct, iPhone)

Any further thoughts based on this?   She's very careful; uses her computer only for work.
LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 150 total points
ID: 39963080
Have log into her mail account and change the password
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

Eoin OSullivan earned 100 total points
ID: 39963604
@ron - Your friend with the Mac who is apparently sending lots of SPAM.

1. It is very unlikely it is a virus or malware as the Mac is largely unaffected by these HOWEVER it is no harm to install an antivirus program on the Mac to reduce risks of infected mail attachments (with Windows malware) being forwarded by this person to others with Windows PCs.  ESet, Avast and Sophos have good reviews and are fairly lightweight.  Stay away from Norton or MacKeeper as they are bloated or unreliable or resource hogs.   Theres a free antivirus for Mac called ClamXAV which isn't bad either but isn't quite as thorough as the commercial software.

2. In recent months the nature of email spam has evolved and hackers now rely largely on social engineering type attacks.  These are emails which claim to be from your Bank claiming your account was compromised or a courier company who cannot deliver a parcel or Amazon or Apple or Yahoo or Google saying your account was hacked.  The emails usually contain a link to a login screen which is fake and as a result they get your REAL username and password.    Many, many, many people see the incoming email, panic and login before they realise they've been duped.  Where possible get your friend to CHANGE their password for all their email services just in case they were compromised.

3. Another increasingly common source of spam is via social networks.  Certain pages on Facebook or certain less than scrupulous iPhone apps and some other sites will give that service permission to access your friend network and as a result they can potentially get a number of emails.  You can then get emails which APPEAR to come from someone you know but are actually a completely different sender such as but with an alias of your friends name .. so in the sender field the recipient will see the NAME = trusted friend but actually the sender is  This is the worst kind of spam because there is NOTHING you can do to stop it.  The hacker has your network of friends names ... and emails and can email everyone pretending to be someone else in the group.  Apart from changing your email address - vigilance is the only protection.

In conclusion, while it is probably a good idea for your friend to install an antivirus solution it is unlikely the cause or source of the spam.  Change passwords on all their key services such as email and bank services if they have any indication their core email account was hacked.  Finally be vigilant for these social engineering and fake sender emails .. delete and do not click links or respond.
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

serialband earned 100 total points
ID: 39964072
Who does the spam purport to come from?  If the sender address is the Mac Owner, it's less likely that it's coming from her system.  The spammers usually use an account from the contact list that isn't the owner to throw off the search.  It's more likely coming from a Windows user that has her email in their contact list.  Emails are easily spoofed.  Find her friends or business contacts with Windows systems and have them run their antivirus. This is the most likely scenario.  Her computer may even have been turned off during the times the emails were supposedly sent.

Having said that,

As a POSIX operating system, OSX could technically have rootkits just like linux.  If your friend with the Mac turned on a lot of sharing, there's a minor possibility.  It can technically run scripts for IRC command and control systems, assuming an OSX based command line IRC service was installed.  You can also send mail on the command line, just like on linux.  The ones made for linux usually come with binaries that won't work on OSX, but maybe someone made a break through and packaged a Mac one based on the OS signature.

You can actually go to the command line to check for activity, just like linux.

Here's software that you can download to scan your mac for possible rootkits.

If you want a simpler install, you can install Homebrew from and run brew install rkhunter.

Author Closing Comment

by:Ronald Hicks
ID: 39981949
many thanks to all.

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