Page 1 of 1

How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: October 26th, 2013, 2:51 am
by Joanna
My question is related to the fact that antivirus software dramatically decreases performance (memory used) causing the computer to crash because almost all of the memory is used. It is shown as Safari web content (Safari extension of Norton). The difference is 2GB or more used with Norton and 650 MB used without.

I was using Norton Internet Security (antivirus, firewall, identity). I have it also on Windows based computers and I am very happy with it. But is Mac OS (Mountain Lion, going to upgrade to Mavericks) safe and protected against viruses? I am also using 3rd party software.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: October 26th, 2013, 1:43 pm
by squiffy
I have never had an issue not running antivirus software on a Mac. There just aren't enough credible threats out there. I have personally avoided using Norton products since OS 9 came out.

I have installed ClamXav to help prevent spreading a windows virus that may be attached to an email. No performance hit has been noted when using it.

I just checked activity monitor and it shows clamd is using 240MB and clam sentry is using 20MB.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: October 26th, 2013, 8:10 pm
by mark_42
It depends on your computing habits. Has Norton caught any problems yet? If not, you're probably safe without it. Personally I've been using Avast (free) for about a year and the only problems it ever finds are on Parallels' VM file (Windows) and occasional hits in my junk mail folder. Prior to using Parallels I never bothered with any AV software and never had a problem. Then again, I've only ever downloaded software from reputable sites and never follow links in spam emails. YMMV.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: October 26th, 2013, 11:41 pm
by Joanna
Thank you for your post, I will check it out.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: December 13th, 2013, 2:13 am
by kimberlywashington
I thought Macs don't need antivirus software..?

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: December 13th, 2013, 10:09 am
by Turboladdade
kimberlywashington wrote:I thought Macs don't need antivirus software..?


As mentioned above, the only purpose AV on Macs serves is to catch Windows malware that may be embedded in an email or file or something before you send it to someone else who uses a PC. I haven't installed AV on any of my Macs in 13 years.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: December 13th, 2013, 10:20 am
by mark_42
I run Win 7 using Parallels. Strange as it may seem, my Mac version of Avast (free) seems to find infected software in the Windows HDD file more often than Avast (free) for Windows does while Windows is running.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: December 13th, 2013, 10:40 am
by Joanna
I have a third-party software installed (like MS Office and some other), so I don't feel it's safe. I decided to go back to Norton Internet Security. So far it works ok, it does take up memory (I have only 4 GB and for what I am doing it's not enough) but I didn't have a frozen computer so it's ok.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: December 13th, 2013, 11:29 am
by Turboladdade
Having third-party software like Microsoft Office installed doesn't make you any more likely to get Windows viruses on your Mac. Like, there aren't degrees of possibility. It's impossible.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: December 16th, 2013, 10:25 am
by Joanna
Ok, thanks for the information.

Re: How safe is it to run a Mac without any antivirus software?

Posted: May 30th, 2017, 2:06 am
by Gabbymac
I guess everyone heard about new malware that comes with unknown email and kills Mac. So I want to advice everyone to be careful with unknown e-mails and not to open them.