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Mac malware

1/1: With Macs being actively targeted by malware, how will you protect your Mac?

I already have antivirus software on my Mac 567 (33.99%)
I will install antivirus software on my Mac 48 (2.88%)
I will consider installing antivirus software on my Mac 244 (14.63%)
I definitely won't install antivirus software on my Mac 746 (44.72%)
Other (explain in the comments) 63 (3.78%)
Other polls | 1,668 votes | 13 comments

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Mac malware
Authored by: excarnate on Apr 12, '12 10:08:31AM

Just as with Android, I don't load antivirus/antimalware software unless it can actually do something useful for me.

For the latest, updating Java resolves that. The antivirus software I see for the Mac only protects against threats that are resolved, either by software patches or by normal caution (use NoScript, AdBlock, Flash Block, BetterPrivacy plugins; read email in plaintext and don't automatically show 'images'; use the firewall (I even use Little Snitch); et cetera).

So far, the antivirus/antimalware software for Macs and for Androids doesn't really do much, if anything, for me.

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Mac malware
Authored by: cerberusss on Apr 12, '12 10:12:48AM

The big downside of anti virus software is that it's often slow and bloated. I'll just have to be extra careful :-(

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Mac malware
Authored by: bkhl on Apr 12, '12 10:50:47AM

Updated the OS and checked my computers for the trojan. Apple was too slow plugging the hole obviously, but other than that this was nothing surprising. There will be security holes–they will be plugged in when found–you will have to stay up to date. It doesn't mean virus scanning is more or less unnecessary than it was before.

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Mac malware
Authored by: SirPavlova on Apr 19, '12 12:31:36AM

I ran Windows XP for years without antivirus, both pre- & post-SP2. My yearly paranoia scans showed no infections whatsoever. When I finally switched to a Mac, my XP system was still running as snappily as the day I installed it, unlike any system I've ever seen with antivirus rubbish all through it.

Updates, knowing the system, & not using IE. That is the whole of the Law. Nothing's going to protect you from a 0-day worm except luck.

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Mac malware
Authored by: pete on Apr 12, '12 11:14:27AM

I *MIGHT*, one of these days (or rather - years,) install anti-viral software. That is if threats warrant installing one. I have yet to see any real threat that affects me.

If you go to iffy sites, or open spam e-mail, then you should install something.

So for now, I won't bother doing much of anything. I checked my iMac, and it's clean.

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Mac malware
Authored by: Makosuke on Apr 12, '12 01:11:05PM

This has prompted me to check that I had disabled Java on all of my browsers, which I should have done long ago, but that's about it. I'm going to do an extra check for this specific malware at work, but otherwise no change there, either.

Not to say that Apple shouldn't have patched this MUCH sooner, but the marginal benefit of AV software detecting something like this--which I'm not positive it would have until well into the spread--isn't worth the substantial performance and stability hit of AV software to me.

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Mac malware
Authored by: hamarkus on Apr 12, '12 01:32:42PM

I had made the decision to disable Java already about two years ago but I was not diligent enough to disable it always directly after having it enabled for a particular website. I intend to be much better with this. Together with Click-to-Flash, that drastically reduces vulnerability to security breaches of these two plugins.

I also run Little Snitch and I have Sophos installed for years already but disabled (ie, it does not nothing but update itself).

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Mac malware
Authored by: BMarsh on Apr 12, '12 01:21:22PM

Had to fix more problems with Anti-Virus software (and more serious problems) than from the Trojans on people's Macs.
On my own systems being careful of what I load means so far I am not loading anti-virus software.

I wrote a quick applescript to check for any variant of the Flashback trojan, (same steps used as if you were using Terminal, just faster to double-click the Applescript)
Over 100 systems checked in the past week, no positives yet.

2009 I did have to remove a couple variants of the DNS trojan off of about 4 Macs, about 1 in 2010, and a couple in 2011, 2 more DNS trojans earlier this year (most were from people using pirated software, or accessing porn websites, only a couple were fooled by fake installers while visiting websites)

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Mac malware
Authored by: stottm on Apr 12, '12 02:36:10PM

Anti-malware software does not work and it hasn't worked for a long time. Out of the 25 or so Mac Anti-Virus applications, I doubt that many actually detected and stopped any of the Flashback variants! Even in big enterprise environments, it is our advanced network packet analysis and threat protection that alerts us to infections. We haven't seen the enterprise AV software stop much except really old malware.

It is smarter to remove or disable third party code engines such as Java and Flash. i.e. disable Applets and Flash from running automatically. New Mac's don't even ship with either installed. Most mainstream sites have stopped using Java Applets and even Flash is going away in favor of HTML5 solutions. This is mainly so iPads will work.

Restrict your dangerous web surfing activities to an iPad where you are much less likely to get infected. Heck, I use the iPad more for surfing than I do my PC or Mac's anyway.

The Flashback malware originally tried to fly under the radar as long as it could. If a Mac had AV software it self-destructed on that Mac so as to not be detected. The authors were trying very hard to go unnoticed by the security community.

Apple released a Java update 003 today and it includes an automated removal tool so even if someone was still infected, once they run this update the infection is removed and the Java vulnerabilities fixed. No user interaction required other than installing the updates.

Apple needs a trip-wire system that can validate authenticity of OS files and they need to update their open source and third-party gravy more often. i.e. all the BSD open source utilities and software plus Java, etc. Get Oracle to distribute an OS X version of Java and stop customizing the Oracle code. Mac OS X is worlds better than Windows when it comes to exploits and the spread of worms. But they need to get more serious about security. They have strayed a bit too far from their NeXTStep / OpenStep roots, too many compromises have resulted in security risks.

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Mac malware
Authored by: baltwo on Apr 12, '12 02:39:40PM

Install Apple's Java Update 3, which contains a remover tool. See : for details.

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Mac malware
Authored by: mchagers on Apr 13, '12 12:10:46AM

As I understand it, many threats simply delete themselves to avoid detection if they find any software that would allow this such as Little Snitch and even Apple's Developer tools.
So you could say that having the Developer tools installed constitutes a form of virus protection.

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Mac malware
Authored by: e_whizz on Apr 16, '12 05:40:56AM

I'd like to see a poll on who actually got infected by this malware.

You see, these last few variants would not install if you had Office 2008, 2011 or Skype installed (amongst others).

The number of people running a recent Mac, with the Java loophole, without the above software narrows the 'market' for this malware considerably.

I run a tech support company specialising in Mac users, and I have yet to find anyone infected.

The only two sources of information about the 'extent' of this outbreak, were two companies that sell Antivirus software. Methinks they are somewhat self interested in exaggerating the problem in several ways. All the news outlets and web pages that just re-reported these two companies reports, are guilty of sloppy journalism, without checking their sources and providing other sources of non-biased corroboration.

But it is probably a good idea not to get complacent. And we should be pushing Apple to get this covered, rather than rely on thirdparties to fix vulnerabilities in the operating system.

The best thing that Microsoft has done in recent years is provide their own scanner in the form of Security essentials. Apple should provide the same. The one that runs in the background is ok, but it should expose some positive reinforcement that it is doing something and your system is ok.

All this two-bit antivirus software that is coming out now for the Mac is mostly pretty crappy, and causes more problems than they 'fix'. MacKeeper and Dr.Web are two such examples that cause significant problems with you Mac — ridiculous slowdowns to begin with.

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Mac malware
Authored by: Gary1701 on Apr 19, '12 05:54:29PM

One of the keys to defeating this was to keep your Mac updated. Working in a MacWarranty Repair Store, we've seen that those who fell victim to this malware, were those who did not keep their Mac's updated. My advise is to keep your OS updated. It's not a perfect world, but currently updates solve far more problems then they create.

My 2 cents worth ...


Making the most of my Mac!

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