Forwarding Address: OS X

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Looks like time for anti-virus software

If you missed the malware news last week, I have some catch-up links on my blog, but the most important one is ClamXav, the open source anti-virus package for OS X.


  • Trojans exist for every operating system. OS X has had an attempt at a trojan released before and this one is nothing new. There are still no viruses for OS X in the wild. Only another very poor attempt at a trojan.

    You should probably report that correctly instead of spreading more misinformation and making it appear that OS X is more vulnerable today than it was yesterday.

    Anti-Virus software is still unnecessary on OS X. Common sense will stop these trojans just like it will stop trojans on any operating system. No piece of software can stop users from doing dumb things on their computers.

    By Blogger Marcus S. Zarra, at 8:20 PM  

  • The problem is, there are an awful lot of downloads that ask for Admin Password for installation (more than is probably really necessary); regardless of how trusted the source poiting to a file may be (often, someones blog, in an article tossed off in three minutes.

    What sort of files and packages and installers will ALWAYS ask for a Admin Password? Not all do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:53 PM  

  • Marcus -- you're right, there are no known OS X viruses in the wild, and there are trojans on every platform, and the vulnerability of the OS is a technical matter that has not changed since last month.

    Here's why I think it's still a good time to start looking at AV software: IMO the emergence of these two threats (impotent as they are) is a signal that the Mac is becoming a more attractive target.

    Yes, common sense will stop these particular examples today. However, I think the arrival of something more virulent is inevitable. In that event I think it will be better to have installed AV software a day early than it will be to find yourself a day late.

    By Blogger pbx, at 11:19 AM  

  • You can be a month early and the virus definitions will still not be updated until after the virus is released.

    In addition, this position is based on the presumption that OS X is as vulnerable as Windows or nearly so. Some believe, quite strongly, that OS X is designed better and more securely. BSD has been out for a long time and is extremely secure. OS X has been designed with security in mind.

    Is it possible that a virus could be written for OS X? Sure, anything in the world is possible. Is it likely? No it is not.

    My biggest issue? People who claim to be supporters of the Mac community running around screaming that the sky is falling. It was a trojan, they happen, this one sucked, the next one might be better. In the end there is nothing that can be done to stop them except user education.

    Until a viable virus exists for Mac OS X there is no reason to run anti-virus software and slow down your system.

    By Blogger Marcus S. Zarra, at 8:53 AM  

  • OK, now you're just being cranky!

    >You can be a month early and the virus
    >definitions will still not be updated
    >until after the virus is released.

    They only need to be updated before I actually receive the thing, not before it's released. Your argument also works against security patches -- why bother with them if an exploit has already been found in the wild?

    >In addition, this position is based on
    >the presumption that OS X is as
    >vulnerable as Windows or nearly so.

    I don't know whose position you're decribing. Not mine.

    >Is it possible that a virus could be
    >written for OS X? Sure, anything in the
    >world is possible. Is it likely? No it
    >is not.

    There's our difference of opinion. We disagree on the matter of likeliness. I don't really know what's going to happen, and neither do you. Maybe we should make a wager!

    By Blogger pbx, at 7:45 PM  

  • The good reason to run anti-virus applications is to not spread viruses received from infected machines through Word macros for ex. I was convinced about that a short while ago, because my job involves a lot of files exchanges over the net (I am a translator) and sometimes machines are infected and transmit stuff that I will transmit too, even if I am not the target. It is just being a good net citizen to remove the crap from what you get. Like condoms...

    By Blogger Jean-Christophe Helary, at 5:39 AM  

  • good


    By Anonymous ???, at 12:28 AM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:35 AM  

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