General Question

kb12345's avatar

Free antivirus download for Mac?

Asked by kb12345 (423 points ) July 5th, 2012

Just wondering if there is a free anti virus download that I could download for my Mac. I searched but a bunch of odd sounding ones came up and I wasn’t sure if they were okay or not.

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11 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I like ClamXav have used it for three years. It is shareware, donations are appreciated.

jrpowell's avatar

Depends on what your goal is. Apple actually has a built in one called Xprotect that silently runs in the background.

There are currently 19 things it cleans up. Here is a pic of my Xprotect plist.

So, I feel pretty safe without using a additional one.

I do use Little Snitch so I am alerted to out outbound network requests.

gorillapaws's avatar

I wouldn’t suggest installing AV software on the Mac, assuming your software is up-to-date. If some major new threats start cropping up, then this advice might change. As things are now, AV software is likely to cause more harm than it solves. Also, when Mountain Lion ships, if your hardware can run it, the default settings will make your system pretty damn secure, because only software written by developers who are registered with Apple can run on your system (this protection can be changed if you want though). This means any software registered with Apple can be disabled if it’s discovered to be malicious.

XOIIO's avatar

Gorillapaws is wrong, there are plenty of exploits, one which they used testing Mac vs of vs Linux for hackability and Mac went down first, one example just puts a little extra code in the calculator app and it starts up, after you click something on it boom, your whole system is theirs

gorillapaws's avatar

@XOIIO they had physical access to the machines though right? Also, this won’t be possible under Mountain Lion.

XOIIO's avatar

Nope. Over the internet connection they had, and it wont take long before something else comes up for the new Mac os

gorillapaws's avatar

@XOIIO the apps are sandboxed, which means a calculator cannot get access to root. Apps are only able to access what their entitlements allow, and in the calculator case, they have no entitlements. How were they able to inject code into a remote app on a system over the internet?

gorillapaws's avatar

@XOIIO I’ve been having a hard time tracking down the details of what you’re describing. Could you post a link?

Buttonstc's avatar

There is a significant difference between the situation which you describe (testing Mac vs. Linux for hackability—most likely at a conference of some sort) and the presence of a Mac virus “in the wild”

At least from what ive read, there are no current Mac viruses in the wild. An organized teat or challenge at a developers conference don’t qualify.

Of course, at some future point in time theres no guarantee that a malicious hacker could unleash a virus into the wild but Apple would be getting a patch out a whole lot quicker than Windoze ever has. But developing effective Mac viruses is a lot of work. Unlike Windoze systems, this isn’t something which can be done by any beginner script kiddie.

And the other factor is the small market share occupied by Mac OSX. Those who write viruses get a much bigger bang for the buck if notoriety or criminal activity is their objective.

As market share increases, this may not always be the case but for now Apple systems just aren’t first on the target list.

And my own personal opinion is that iPhone users are a much bigger target just based on numbers alone. I don’t have anything specific upon which to base that opinion but it just seems logical to me. Those who are more sophisticated about computer tech can comment upon how accurate that opinion is :)

robmandu's avatar

Anti-virus software ≠ Unhackable.

While @XOIIO makes a valid point about the theoretical hackability of computer systems, @gorillapaws and @Buttonstc focus on real-world threats… of which there are hardly any for users of Mac OS X.

A couple of high-profile espionage malware programs – Stuxnet and Flame – were intentionally released onto target systems. Stuxnet in particular came into notoriety as it was originally built to only run on a set Iran’s Siemens-brand industrial equipment… but it escaped into the wild and ended up running on normal folks’ Windows machines… where not a single anti-virus program did anything to stop it for months.

I used to run anti-virus on my Mac… until I got sick and tired of the sluggish performance and frequent crashes (sounds like a virus infection, eh?). Running a/v free now for over 5 years.

Two things you do need:
– A properly configured firewall (usually provided by a router, but also in the operating system)
– Wariness about trojans and phishing – for which there are no a/v protections available… just your intellect.

XOIIO's avatar

@gorillapaws Trying to find it, I thought it was a hack a day article but it must have been a link in the comments.

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