Apple pushes anti-virus for Macs

At this point according to the article most OS X virus threats are proof of concept attacks, that is, there are probably not too many attacks in the wild.  What isn’t clear in the article is if these attacks will target OS X computers running as a regular user.  Unix/Linux/OS X is quite safe if run as a regular user as attack code has limited administrative privileges.
As Linux/OS X/Unix becomes mainstream we can possibly expect more hacking attempts on our systems.  I regularly scan my Linux/Unix boxes for rootkits.  I am less vigilant in maintaining my daughter’s Macbook.  I do update it from time to time:-)

A Mac OS X “virus” would have to ask your permission to install. Not much of a virus then. More like standard malware. If you download and install something and give it your password and permission, then no anti-virus program will help you.

So don’t download and install anything off of the internet?

Not unless you trust the source.

Yeah, installing something like Fire Fox from a trusted source like is fine. 

Lemrac:  I know you probably already know this, but, don’t ever run your Macbook as the system administrator, create a user account for day to day use.  A regular user has fewer privileges and will be prompted for the admin username/password if you want to change/install something on your macbook.  This is one of the real strengths of a multi-user system like OS X.

It’s not a big deal on Mac OS X, since the root user isn’t enabled by default.  But yeah, I guess for the average person “virus” means bad software.  But a virus is a specific kind of malware – it copies itself from machine to machine, with no intervention.  Which is why it’s called a virus.  You won’t see that kind of malware on Mac OS X (or Linux), since the software would have to ask your permission to install.

If you’re just surfing along, reading HTMF or whatever, and “Evil Virus would like your permission to install” pops up, what are you going to do?

Unlike a real virus, which would just install itself without even bothering to tell you, then use your computer to copy itself to others.

So yeah, there’s a difference between virus, trojan, and just generic malware.

The only crap you’ll see on Mac OS X is stuff that you intentionally download and install.  If you go to and download PiratedVersionOfSoftwareFromRussia, then you don’t know what else you’re installing.

unless of course it ran as a regular user waiting idle for you to enter your ‘sudo’ password (or whatever it is in mac) then executed as root.

unlikely but technically possible.

If you do happen to download something for your Mac from an untrusted source (and I’m sure no-one here would ever get it from BitTorrent or anything like that!  :imp:) then you can always right click on the .app file and show the package contents, while it wont give everything away, it should at least give you some idea that what your installing is really what it says it is!

Or maybe I’m overcautious and out geeking myself AGAIN!!

From Daring Fireball:

[quote]A support page on Apple’s Web site recommending users purchase antivirus software for their Macs received a lot of attention over the past couple of days, but on Tuesday Apple removed the page from its Web site.

“We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate,â€[/quote]

The BBC is never wrong!! … wrong.html

“So I’m sorry if we suggested that this was a major U-turn by Apple when it was not. Graham Cluley, who we quoted in the post, now describes the incident as “a fascinating example of how the internet can get carried away with itself”, and it is certainly true that bloggers and journalists (and I include myself) hate to be left out when this kind of storm brews up.”

Here’s a question:  if you’re running a virus scanner on a Mac OS X machine, what’s it scanning for? 

I mean, there are no known viruses in the wild for Mac OS X, so what can a virus scanner be looking for?

Sorry, but the BBC is totally wrong on this one.  There are no viruses in the wild for Mac OS X or for Linux.  If they think you should be running a virus scanner anyway, ask yourself what the virus scanner will be looking for?  How can it know what to look for if it doesn’t exist? 

The virus scanners available for Mac OS X are actually loaded with Windows virus signatures.

Apple has removed the page, by the way.

Not the first time Apple have said about Viruses either: … av_advice/

The only reason I can think WHY a Mac user would need it is if they regularly share MS Office files with Windows users, and the risk of infecting the Windows user with a Word Macro virus or something. Old School I know, but thats the only justification I can think of.

Not that I run any or really care much about sending anything to a Windows user!! … xleap.html … qtana.html

Yeah right.  A press release from a company that wants you to buy their product.

Neither of those pages describes a virus.  It’s a program that people send to you while chatting with you, and expect you to run it.  Not a virus. 

No Mac or Linux viruses in the wild.