General Question

jaytkay's avatar

Recommended Mac OS virus scanner/antivirus?

Asked by jaytkay (25767points) July 16th, 2010

I would like to scan a Macbook (OS 10.5.7) for viruses, I am not at all familiar with the available software.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

wgallios's avatar

It’s Unix based, just don’t use a root account. This way if you download anything it would require root access to access system files, and obviously you wouldn’t use your root password on software you don’t know what it is. Good security measure when using Unix based operating systems.

You can however try installing Clam AV. I sometimes use it on Linux systems, I think it might have a Mac OS install (I have read that it comes with the Mac OS Server), worth checking out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clam_AV

gorillapaws's avatar

Most AV software for OSX causes more problems than it solves. There really aren’t any viruses out there in the wild (although there are a couple of trojans where you may have been tricked into installing them, but they require you to enter your password for them to do any harm).

gtreyger's avatar

@gorillapaws is correct. No need for AV on OS X. I would recommend updating your software either to 10.5.8 or to spend $30 and upgrade to 10.6.4. Apple includes many plugs for the security holes in the updates. AV on OS X really does do more harm than good.

jaytkay's avatar

OK, I will give Clam a try.

I just want to scan, not install a resident program.

Thanks, everybody!

gtreyger's avatar

@jaytkay are you suspecting you have something?

jaytkay's avatar

@gtreyger A friend’s Mac is wonky, cursor has a mind of its own. I think the trackpad hardware or software is messed up. He is focused on the idea of a virus, I figured it’s easy and cheap to eliminate the variable.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jaytkay a virus would be the last place I would check. I would repair permissions, reset the pram, and use the hardware verification disk that came with the Mac. Also be sure to upgrade to the latest version of the OS.

jaytkay's avatar

@gorillapaws Thanks, good advice. It’s been a very long time since I had to troubleshoot a Mac, that helps.

DeanV's avatar

I actually use an antivirus on my Mac, but only when sending files to Windows users. I think of it as courtesy, and I’ve actually caught a couple things.

justn's avatar

Every time I’ve had AV software installed on my Mac, it made it do things that it shouldn’t. Last piece I had installed was from Intego and I uninstalled it after a day of my Mac acting just plain weird. I’d go with the above and recommend ClamXav. Never had a problem running that.

DeanV's avatar

@justn Intego is absolutely awful. I got it free a while back and didn’t even bother to install it.

jerv's avatar

Clam really is the only way to go if you’re not dealing with Windoze.

justn's avatar

@dverhey I got it free in a MacHeist bundle a while ago. That software was, pardon my French, SHIT!

Meltd's avatar

Norton do a version for mac which is very thorough. It seems to be a bit too militant though- if I download an exe by mistake norton goes crazy assuming it’s a virus! Also when imail download spam from gmail it assumes they’re viruses too! Clam is good but will only scan specific files and folders, not system wide.

jerv's avatar

After reading the results at AV Comparatives, I really am unimpressed with any version of Norton.

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