Just say no to Mac anti virus programs

By Tyler

8 responses. »

Mac virus, trojan horse and worm issues are like unicorns – everyone says they’ve seen one, no one can prove it.

It’s long been a myth that Macs are immune to the evils of the internet. Viruses, worms and Trojan horses all can adversely affect your Mac experience, but to date, there has never been a widespread (I’ve never heard of any) attack involving any of these three in the wild. Plenty of proof of concepts by bored hackers, but nothing that will affect your average Mac user. Mac anti virus programs aren’t necessary.

This does NOT mean you are immune, but it also doesn’t mean it’s time to rush out and buy or download the latest mac anti virus protection software. Education is your absolute best defense against anything bad online, so here’s what you need to know about the big three:

1. Viruses won’t spread or hurt your computer unless you let them
Easily the most common of the aforementioned three, viruses are usually an executable file (application or script, so a program that DOES something) that spread by attaching themselves to another file like an email. They cannot be spread, nor can they work, without YOUR help. Don’t send people attachments if you don’t know what they are and don’t open, install and give your password to files you didn’t specifically download. Pretty simple, eh?

Mr. T is the fool this time.

2. Worms really, really suck
Worms are all of the bad parts of a virus without any of the human-interaction parts. They can spread on their own, essentially taking over your email system and sending themselves to your entire address book. I still haven’t seen or heard of a Mac worm in the wild, so like before, be wary of weird attachments. Using a webmail system like gmail is also a great way to catch these ahead of time and way before they’re even on your computer.

3. Trojan horses are just mean
Trojan horses look like normal computer files but do something totally unexpected once activated. They almost always require a password to install or activate. Don’t download or install weird programs. Problem solved.

Viruses, worms and trojan horses are a huge problem because far too many computer users rely solely on anti virus software to warn them of any threats. Because Windows computer make up the vast majority of PCs, and many of those are used at work where the user may not have the level of control or know how to prevent these problems, we have become over reliant on software to do our jobs for us.

This would be akin to leaving your doors unlocked and installing an alarm system on your house and setting it to call you when someone breaks in, instead of having the alarm go off. I hope that sounds just as stupid to you as it does to me.

So join me in saying no to unnecessary, memory-hogging, confusing anti virus software that does more harm than good to your computer. Practice smart computing and Macs will never have to worry about viruses, worms and trojan horses like Windows users do.

Don’t trust software to protect you from everything.

About Tyler
Storyteller. Inspirator. Opens bananas like a monkey. Minimalist runner. Eliticist. Have my name on my shirt. Knows all the words to Baby Got Back.

8 Responses so far.

  1. Darren Kopp

    November 16, 2010 at 11:36 am

    This is wrong on so many levels. You are going to end putting a lot of users at risk if they follow your advice. First, saying "you just have to be smart about it" doesn't protect you. You could be on Facebook and get exploited through an ad.

    Are you ever on public wifi? Someone who could be infected sitting next to you at a starbucks could get you infected by exploiting an open port. They can exploit you by having a custom created email that causes an overflow in the mail program of your choice even without you opening it.

    The first line of defense you should have is antivirus. These are put out by companies who have teams of security experts who are fastest to respond to the latest threats. The next would be the to keep your operating system up to date. Finally, it's to keep all your programs up to date.

    by the way, if you don't think that this can happen, you should follow the pwn2own contest.

    2010: http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/03/25/pwn2own-2
    2009: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/pwn2own-2009-s
    2008: http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/03/28/mac_h

  2. Kevin

    November 18, 2010 at 6:05 am

    This article provides the worst advise I have ever seen. Just because the author has never heard of a virus does not mean they do no exist. I have never seen a man walk on the moon…doesn't mean it never happened. The reason there you used to not hear about viruses on Macs is becuase very few people used them compared to Windows computers. Now that Macs are becoming more popluar, the number of viruses will skyrocket. Virus makers will go for the target rish audience. Articles like this, make it even easier for them.

    • Darren Kopp

      November 18, 2010 at 10:05 am

      architecturally more secure? don't kid yourself here.

      • Dan

        November 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

        I'm not the only one to say so..

        "Windows is better for gaming due to the large amount of games that are available for it. Mac, however, has better overall security and is less prone to attackers"
        <a href="http://www.technewsworld.com/story/66819.html?wlc=1290126251&quot;

        • Kevin

          November 23, 2010 at 11:38 am

          I question the Author's experience of the quote you mention. He only has 12 years running a computer maintenance and service business. Nothing there gives me confidence in what he says. I have worked in the network security field for the last 15 years. Every network defense-in-depth strategy has as its inner root an antivirus and a host-based firewall/IDS on every system in a addition to a secure OS. Building a secure wall and not watching it is useless.

  3. fedya

    April 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    As for i'm uisng antivirus software for Mac. Bought it form ProteMac company. On work has their Logon Sentry http://protemac.com/

  4. Just say no to Mac anti virus programs Maciverse » Images Search

    April 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

    [...] http://www.maciverse.com/just-say-no-to-mac-anti-virus-programs.html 09 April 2012 3:12am – Images « Apple Reminding Mac Users They re Not Immune to Viruses Antivirus Mac by Gasser » [...]

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