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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thinking of buying an iMAC (24" LCD - mid range model) system as a "self given" Christmas present (LOL!!!) in a few more months. Simple 'typical' home system used for email, internet surfing, video/audio downloads, IPod connectivity and typical school home work tool.

With above in mind, I also came across an ad for "Norton™ AntiVirus 11 for Mac®". Is Virus Detection really needed on the iMAC and if so, what product would you recommend? Is Norton ok or is there better different products (assuming it is needed)?

thanks.
 

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IAMSTIG
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First off STAY AWAY from all norton products for Mac or PC...there are better, cheaper and less bloated options for the PC. For Mac you do not need any Anti Virus or Spyware software at this time. The only reason to install such a thing would be to screen your incoming email for PC viruses so that you don't inadvertently forward them to windows users but that's a something that should be done though education ie knowing what to look for rather then a piece of software that may or may not catch it anyway and won't pose any risk to you.
 

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For the average Mac OS X user, the answer is a simple one word - "No" - NOT required.

But Trogans are another recent problem for Mac OS X users that can be downloaded under various disguised names, and be very aware if you're offered a 'video enhancer' to download and install and the installer would have a name something like 'Mac Cinema' install or some such. It's a Trojan!!!

But a Google search for 'Mac Trojan' etc. can keep you up to date.

Patrick Mead-Robins
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First off STAY AWAY from all norton products for Mac or PC... ... ... The only reason to install such a thing would be to screen your incoming email for PC viruses so that you don't inadvertently forward them to windows users but that's a something that should be done though education ie knowing what to look for rather then a piece of software that may or may not catch it anyway and won't pose any risk to you.
I agree with the Norton statements, and it's up to the Windows users to have mandatory software and any daily virus updates installed.

But to save any Mac user any embarrassment in case an infected file was sent to the windoze user, ClamXav with the ClamAV engine engine installed is a good donation-ware solution and then use it's Clam Folder Sentry to keep check of what gets downloaded.

Patrick Mead-Robins
Mac Solutions
250-652-1860
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... I also came across an ad for "Norton™ AntiVirus 11 for Mac®". Is Virus Detection really needed on the iMAC...(?)
Not needed on the iMac, or any Mac, for that matter.
 

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To me, one of the biggest malicious programs out there for the Mac, is Symantec AntiVirus. :D
 

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Is Virus Detection really needed on the iMAC
No, you don't need the headaches of anti-virus software. Viruses are a problem in the Windows world, not the Mac world.

Just do these things:

1. Do regular software updates.

2. Your everyday user accounts should have "administrative" permissions turned off. Create an account called "admin" and give it the admin permissions. Whenever a piece of software needs access to a sensitive area of your Mac, you will get prompted to enter the admin password; you can decide to allow the software access on a case by case basis. Not sure you trust the software? Don't let it in.
 

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~

since you seem like a casual user i'll just add that new imac models are expected shortly and they're rumored to be cheaper. nothing worse than making a purchase and finding out if you'd waited a couple days you would've gotten a better deal!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
since you seem like a casual user i'll just add that new imac models are expected shortly and they're rumored to be cheaper. nothing worse than making a purchase and finding out if you'd waited a couple days you would've gotten a better deal!
Yes. I'm a new user. And, I don't currently have any spare money. If/when I do buy a new iMAC system, it would be 1 week or so before Christmas - using Christmas as the main "emotional" reason to buy. (giant smile).

.
 

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Norton AntiVirus: Possibly one of the worst programs ever created for the Mac platform. Stay away. Stay far away!

ClamXav: Highly recommended. Very frequently updated. small, does the job. As noted above - currently its only real purpose is to clean your Mac of accumulated Windows viruses (that you've acquired via downloads, email attachments, and in Microsoft Office files) that wouldn't affect you anyway.

Otherwise, just be careful about which installer programs you allow to add new programs to your Mac. As noted above, be especially wary if you've been asked to install a new "QuickTime codec" to view certain *ahem* video files found in less-reputable places online. There is also a known trojan hiding in the illegal (pirated) copies of Apple's iWork suite and Photoshop found on some torrent sites. Again, just be sensible.

Above all, when in doubt, ask ehMac! We're here to help (and collectively snicker at Windows virus problems from time to time).

Lastly, on the day when the end-of-world, Troja-virus-sneezeball from hell finally appears to wreak havoc on all that is Holy... er.... Mac, you'll here about it here before it gets within reach of your computer. :)
 

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Update

I recently heard that H1N1 could infect a geek and be transferred to his computer creating a new strain of flu virus that could -- okay, I'm lying -- down.
 

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2. Your everyday user accounts should have "administrative" permissions turned off. Create an account called "admin" and give it the admin permissions. Whenever a piece of software needs access to a sensitive area of your Mac, you will get prompted to enter the admin password; you can decide to allow the software access on a case by case basis. Not sure you trust the software? Don't let it in.
I disagree with this as a security tip. For me, my data is more important and valuable than the computer or system itself. The sensitive data would be the data in my user account. Any trojan could simply delete all of my personal data in my account without having to ask for a password, whether or not the account was administrative or not.

My security tips:
- In Safari, turn off "open 'safe' files after downloading
- pay attention when the OS asks "this app was downloaded from the Internet.Do you want to run it..." (or something like that). If you thought you were downloading an image, then you won't get this question. This is especially true when receiving attachments from people you know (they may have a virus sending these to you)
- don't download "unknown" applications. If you are downloading a new app, check out what others have to say about it on versiontracker and elsewhere. Don't be the first to try out software from an unknown company.
- don't install codecs for quicktime when prompted. Chances are, you already have codecs necessary to view legitimate content. Aside from perian and flip4mac, there's really not much else you need.
- If you use MS Office (depending on the version), make sure the ability to run macros when a file is opened is turned off.
- back up your data!
 

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My security tips:
- In Safari, turn off "open 'safe' files after downloading
- pay attention when the OS asks "this app was downloaded from the Internet.Do you want to run it..." (or something like that). If you thought you were downloading an image, then you won't get this question. This is especially true when receiving attachments from people you know (they may have a virus sending these to you)
- don't download "unknown" applications. If you are downloading a new app, check out what others have to say about it on versiontracker and elsewhere. Don't be the first to try out software from an unknown company.
- don't install codecs for quicktime when prompted. Chances are, you already have codecs necessary to view legitimate content. Aside from perian and flip4mac, there's really not much else you need.
- If you use MS Office (depending on the version), make sure the ability to run macros when a file is opened is turned off.
- back up your data!
This is a pretty good all-around summary of Security on the Mac. I'll only add this:

1. The Mac OS X Firewall (a software firewall) is off by default. LEAVE IT OFF. Your router is already doing the same job only better. The software firewall is for those few people who are without a router.

2. In Safari, UNCHECK the checked preferences that autofills "Other forms."

3. Following up on hayesk's last suggestion, use Time Machine or a clone program to make regular backups. For best effect, use BOTH. External hard drives are CRAZY cheap these days, there's really no excuse anymore.
 

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Yes. I'm a new user. And, I don't currently have any spare money. If/when I do buy a new iMAC system, it would be 1 week or so before Christmas - using Christmas as the main "emotional" reason to buy. (giant smile). .
A bit off-topic to your original post, but to save some $$$'s I'd strongly suggest checking out the "Refurbished Macs" at the Apple.ca Store Welcome to the Apple Store - Apple Store (Canada)

It changes and gets updated frequently, but if they have the model you're looking for you can sometimes save yourself a few hundred dollars - and they have the same warranty as a brand new model.

Patrick Mead-Robins
Mac Solutions
250-652-1860
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Beaugeste
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What about Snow Leopard

Does it have anti virus scanning capabilities as rumoured before it's release?

Edit: found it by doing a search. Looks like it does have some malware catching capabilities but from the Sophos video, SL didn't catch malware from a USB stick,which their AV program did.

I just updated my Clamx av to their Beta version and it found 3 trojans on 3 mp3 files I've downloaded from Lime wire. This is interesting as I have only about a dozen mp3's in all from that site, and these are "serious" type music (folk and world music traditional songs),so now I'm going to check my kids' Macs since they're always downloading songs..
 

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I just updated my Clamx av to their Beta version and it found 3 trojans on 3 mp3 files I've downloaded from Lime wire. This is interesting as I have only about a dozen mp3's in all from that site, and these are "serious" type music (folk and world music traditional songs),so now I'm going to check my kids' Macs since they're always downloading songs..
Leaving aside the highly questionable ethics you are teaching/allowing your kids, had you not discovered this you would have been inadvertently passing on trojans to susceptible PCs by the process of filesharing. I'm told that this is one of the main ways such things spread and that a reasonably high percentage of P2P files are similarly infected.

Limewire is IMHO bad news all around and I'd encourage you to seek alternatives, among which is that very nice iTunes store which has tonnes of great folk and world music ...
 

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Does it have anti virus scanning capabilities as rumoured before it's release?
The Server version does - just like it always has. For the regular version, just download ClamXAV from the developer.

...SL didn't catch malware from a USB stick,which their AV program did.
Anti-virals need continuous updating, and thus, a product like ClamXAV is a bit retrograd because it has a slower update cycle. Of course, this is not actually a problem, because outside of about three dozen known examples of Mac based viruses - all of which can only run on specially prepared machines and afflict only certain specific combinations of upgrades, and have never propagated beyond the laboratories - there are no OSX viruses.

The purpose of ClamXAV is to clamp down on the transport of the bulk of viruses, and it does that task entirely well. It is up to Windoze users to do what they need to do to protect their system, including regular updates of their virus scanners. Macs are adept at transfering viruses since they are not afflicted by them.

Of course, it is different if you are using BootCamp - where all regular anti-virals need to be implemented on the Windoze side of things. (There are even some that will operate out of a virtualizer, even if it is sandboxed, so one should respect viruses inside the sandbox as well, and make sure the virtualizer is always up to date).

...trojans on 3 mp3 files I've downloaded from Lime wire.
MP3s can't have attached "trojans", since they are compressed music files, not executables. The virus scanner in that case is issuing false positives. Of course, if the file was ZIPped, then a trojan could be embedded within the ZIP file, but not within the MP3. The only other case is if you downloaded an image of an entire CD, which could contain a Rootkit - which won't affect the Mac because OSX doesn't doo Rootkits, but can clobber the Windoze side of things, because Windoze does Rootkits.

USB keychains that are used at schools should always be scanned, because the bad IT environment in schools is ripe for viruses, trojans, and all other forms of malware. The OSX side of things will not be affected by "music" files that have "viruses" - though if they are swapping such things with their Windoze based buddies, that could be a much bigger bit of grief...
 

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1. The Mac OS X Firewall (a software firewall) is off by default. LEAVE IT OFF. Your router is already doing the same job only better. The software firewall is for those few people who are without a router.
Does turning off the OS X actually make any difference?
When I had only one Mac at this house, there was no router - I connected to the net straight via the DSL modem and I had the OS X firewall turned on as well as activating the Stealth option.

When I added to Mac laptops at the same location, I also added the needed wireless router but I never turned off the OS X firewall or Stealth at the main G4 Mac.
Can't say that I have noticed any problems with the firewall on - what should I be looking for?
 

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Does turning off the OS X [firewall] actually make any difference?
Yes. OS X's firewall blocks certain ports, and a hardware firewall may (or may not) block certain other ports.

This can cause a lot of headaches when trying to do something beyond "surf the web" (port 80) or "check email." For example, iChat needs unusual ports to be open for it to work.

It could be that you're not experiencing a problem because you don't do anything that uses non-standard ports, in which case the OS X firewall is not causing issues, but is not giving you any extra protection either. It's a bit like wearing two condoms. :)
 

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It's a bit like wearing two condoms. :)
Better safe than sorry - just kidding.

Still don't really understand.
Taking your example with iChat (which I don't use btw).
But if I launched iChat and wanted to use it, wouldn't the OS X software be smart enough to enable whichever port is required?
I can't imagine that the average Mac user would think - oh, I decided to use iChat so I better go into my firewall and enable port xyz.
 
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