View Full Version : Mac Newbie - do I need AV and firewall software?

20th February 2011, 07:06 PM
I have been working wit computers for almost 30 years but never used a mac!

So a simple question what free AV and firewall software do I use. I am used to AVG and MS Security Essentials on the PC.

If I use fusion or parallels, do I install AV in the VM?


20th February 2011, 07:46 PM
If I use fusion or parallels, do I install AV in the VM?


Yes install AV into a windows guest.. The windows guest is like a windows physical. Prone to the exact same issues.

As to the OSX install, you should be right without both, but I do know people who do install them. I'll let you decide (and allow others to comment on this further)

20th February 2011, 08:20 PM
Run Time Machine, in the event that something goes wrong you will have a full backup, useful for HDD failure, etc as well. I don't use antivirus and I don't see a need for it and if something is likely to infect a mac i'd imagine there will be a post about it on 9to5 mac or TUAW about it. The few viruses* that do exist require you to manually install them, they disguise themselves as programs such as an illegal iWork and if you illegally download it and it gets you well that'll teach you for being stingy. Having said that no computer is completely immune from viruses if it is dealing with data from the internet or other computer, a Mac is no exception but having no antivirus is a risk many mac users are willing to take. I'd recommend not wasting your money, buy a 1tb external drive and just backup.

20th February 2011, 09:03 PM
Had my own Macs for 6 years now. Never have installed AV or a Firewall

20th February 2011, 09:20 PM
Mac's don't need antivirus. But I'm telling you, if your one of those people who will believe that your Mac needs antivirus no matter what then I can't help you. Don't bother looking around the internet for ''proof'' Mac virus' exist or whatever. Not saying you're one of those people, but they are extremely common.

21st February 2011, 05:03 AM
Simple answer: no you don't need AV software ....there is a dramatically lower number of viruses for osx compared to windows - this may change in the future

21st February 2011, 05:58 AM
No AV on the Mac partition and continue to run Security Essentials on the Windows partition. In fact there are no Mac OS X viruses.

Turn the OS X firewall off and leave your modem/router to handle that.

21st February 2011, 07:27 AM
In fact there are no Mac OS X viruses.

Wrong. (First ever virus for Mac OS X discovered (http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2006/02/macosxleap.html) and others.)

There are viruses on the Mac - albeit, currently, not that many. Because of the way OS X is designed, the chance of infection is lower but if you're downloading pirated Mac software from the Internet then there's always a chance you'll get infected.

At the moment, though, there aren't very many viruses in the wild and, aside from pirated software, your chance of infection is fairly low.

Do you need AV software?

At the moment, not really.

On your Windows install? Definitely - just because it's in a virtual machine that doesn't change the fact that it's Windows and subject to all the same risks as if you'd installed it on a hardware instead of virtual hardware.

Probably the only situation where I'd say don't bother for the Windows side of things is if you've installed it to use one program and that program doesn't access the Internet. In that case, you might get away with it - but don't forget that Windows, by itself, is going to use the Internet so avoiding that risk is difficult.


21st February 2011, 01:04 PM
One other question. If I do use a 3G card to access the internet at times, then I would have no protection at all?

21st February 2011, 09:55 PM
Personally I have the osx firewall on and use the free antivirus offering from sophos just to be safe. In the many years of owning and using macs, both in business and at home, I have never had a single virus as far as im aware.

22nd February 2011, 02:55 PM
I've been using Mac's since I was 2. I'm coming up to 20 years old now, and I've NEVER experienced a virus on my mac or any other ones I've ever used (including clients).

The closest thing I saw to a Mac virus was a popup window in a browser of a clients computer. One of those scam websites that looks like Windows XP. They paid my ex work $75 to tell them it was a website. :|

22nd February 2011, 04:39 PM
Hi Boxman, I've been a Mac owner now for nearly 3 years. A few months ago I had an attack of the 'nerves', I saw a promo for Sophos (free version) and I installed it.
I found that things didn't work quite as well or as quickly so I uninstalled it and won't be installing any more virus detectors, from what you've read in this forum, you don't need them.
If you install MS Windows, well then you've opened the gate to contamination. (Why people install Windows is beyond me, why buy a Mac if you want to run Windows ? Install Office for Mac 2011 and you're quite "with it")
You'll have difficulties with the Mac OS but it won't be anything that you can't overcome yourself or via this forum.
Do yourself a favour and go to Peach Pit Press and get Robyn Williams and John T's (forgotten) book on understanding Snow Leopard, you won't regret it.

22nd February 2011, 05:20 PM
Thanks for the tips. In a day I have everything running very well. Except for the dodgy mac mail.

Anyway I do need Windows as I use Access and MS Money as well as my TV tuner card in Media Center.They are all working fine. With AV in there of course.

5th March 2011, 04:28 PM
You shouldn't need an antivirus if thats all you're running; infact depending on what VM software you use - you can simply disable the network adapter so that its an offline vm... Then theres no chance of viruses.

Mac Ram
5th March 2011, 06:34 PM
You shouldn't need an antivirus if thats all you're running; infact depending on what VM software you use - you can simply disable the network adapter so that its an offline vm... Then theres no chance of viruses.

Unless you stick a USB into the machine.