Do Apple Mac OS X users need antivirus software?

“ClamXav is a free virus checker for Mac OS X. It uses the very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine to scan mail and attachments. As a testament to its effectiveness, Apple now bundles ClamAV with Mac OS X Server 10.4. Unfortunately for those who are not system administrators, ClamAV is a command line tool, so it isn’t user-friendly for the average Mac owner. That’s why Mark Allan developed ClamXav. It uses the powerful ClamAV engine and definitions, but adds a more accessible user interface,” François Joseph de Kermadec writes for MacDevCenter. The article by de Kermadec explains how to use ClamXav and also touches on whether or not Mac OS X users need antivirus software.

Full article here.


  1. i agree that an OS X virus *could possibly* come in the future. Like ‘No Virues, Please’ said, anything is possible…

    HOWEVER, all virus protection must rely on previously known viruses. That’s why you always have to update these applications. So running virus checking software on OS X, which is looking solely for Windows-based and possibly pre-OSX virii is pretty much useless to most/all OSX users.

  2. “Just waiting for the right time…”

    Well, using your logic, they’ve been waiting for 5+ years so far already, so what’s been holding them back? You’re going to tell us that nobody at all has ever tried now for 5 long years? Please. That’s an eternity in the internet/cyber world. I’d say that the security of OS X pretty much speaks for itself by this point since it’s had zero viruses now in over 5 years on the market…

  3. “Viruses are a Windows issue, and other platforms should not have to waste time and energy helping clean up Windows messes.”

    Agreed. It’s absolutely not the responsibility of others. After all of these years, Windows users should be well aware by now of what they need to do to protect themselves should they decide to continue to use that flawed operating system. And if they don’t want to do what’s necessary, they either need to switch to OS X or Linux, or suffer the consequences then.

  4. An evil side of me says we should do everything we can to help bring these viruses to the attention of misguided Windows users… So let’s keep shovelling them around!

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  5. RE Compulsory virus software: My son’s have this compulsory virus requirement on their school Windoze network. Solved by having the school subscribe to Sophus for Mac (as well as for Microsoft) and setting the software up on the Mac to subscribe to the Sophus database via the school on connection to the Active Directory network. A pain, but it was the only way they’d allow their laptops to connect to the network.

  6. Seems that the software is free and is regularly updated. If a company requires anti virus for every machine, ClamAV is a viable choice, but I dont worry about it as most ISPs and Email providers take care of it and OSX is just so great

  7. Sophos… they have quite the reputation for creating “proof of concept” trojan horses and exploits for Mac OS X — just to scare people into buying their product. The really pathetic part is that their “proof of concept” trojan horses and exploits always turn out to be bullsh*t.

  8. “Key components include a customizable graphical user interface and Internet access. These building blocks enable Toyota’s preferred system suppliers to build full-featured in-vehicle multimedia systems.” – excerpt from Al’s linked article.

    This is even worse than people talking on their cell phones while driving.

    Back on subject: Virus protection in the UNIX community seems to come from the UNIX users themselves. Some of the LINUX folks at our facility have told me that if someone writes a virus for a flavor of UNIX, shortly thereafter a fix pops up. I’ve noticed that Apple programmers tend to be rather proactive in this with their security updates. I don’t know if this can be considered “virus protection”.

  9. I do not think that we should gloat about NEVER having had a virus on our Macs. In my school we have a peecee room beside the Mac room. In 6 years we NEVER had a day when the kids could not use the Macs, HOWEVER we have never had a week in 6 years when all the the peecees were working. Several virus problems have closed the room on numerous occasions.
    But get this!!!!!!! we still buy peecees in school… they are “compatible” I cannot get my head around this nonsence but I reserve right right to gloat and to be honest I love the fact that my Mac is not compatible with these viruses

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