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Virus Protection
#59412 09/03/21 05:55 PM
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DO YOU NEED ANTIVIRUS PROTECTION ON A MAC?

I ran across this question on another forum the other day and it got me to thinking about the current state of the art.

Background
  • I have blown hot and cold on antivirus software over the past 25 years. Wavering between running without third party protection and a variety of apps ranging from ClamXAV to Kaspersky and currently MalwareBytes Pro.
  • I have long contended the best protection is keeping macOS scrupulously up-to-date.
  • I have always been careful of where I go and what I do on the internet and what software I get from what source.
  • I have never had a malware infection on any of my devices


The Current Environment:
  1. The threat environment has evolved radically over the years. It has become far more organized and far more malevolent.
  2. The “virus” threat of twenty years ago still exists, but the range of exploits and how they are distributed has become far more sophisticated often relying far more on human engineering than software engineering to the point viruses of old are seldom heard of today.
  3. There is a spectrum of threats ranging from “Malware” (ransomeware and other exploits that have very real economic impact), through technically legal but highly annoying adware, to PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs you didn’t know you were getting).
  4. The potential for harm ranges from total financial disaster to annoying pop-ups or sluggish system performance.


The Facts Are...
  1. No computer device or software is immune to attack but some are a lot harder target than others.
  2. Macs and macOS are very hard targets
  3. iOS and iPadOS are harder targets
  4. Beginning with Catalina (macOS 10.15), macOS has included a XProtect a built-in antivirus scanner that “checks for known malicious content whenever...
    ☞An app is first launched
    ☞An app has been changed (in the file system)
    ☞XProtect signatures are updated
    and a corresponding Malware Removal Tool.
  5. Currently I have MalwareBytes Premium


My MalwareBytes Premium subscription is coming up for renewal
  1. Should I renew the subscription?



"Sacred cows make the best hamburger"

- Mark Twain
Re: Virus Protection
joemikeb #59413 09/04/21 05:06 PM
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From what you have written renewing your subscription might be akin to wearing suspenders and a belt. I prefer to think of it more like wearing a helmet while riding a bike—I'm a careful rider, I pay attention, I am not going to fall but I may not see that uneven pavement as dangerous when it is or, heaven forbid, that idiot driver whom I couldn't believe would roll through the stop sign (it's only a cyclist, not a car). For the comparatively minimal cost, the subscription adds another level of peace of mind. Just sayin'. smirk


On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.15.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!
Re: Virus Protection
joemikeb #59418 09/06/21 11:52 AM
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Genericizing your analysis of the relatively recent XProtect/MalwareBytes situation makes it sound much like past analyses of the longstanding macOS/TechTool Pro situation, and you haven't weaned yourself off of TTP yet (although you've suggested that it's coming with the next paid upgrade).

Since "Premium" is ambiguous, I don't know what your MBP renewal will cost, but if it's cheap enough, you may best serve yourself by being consistent with your caution and weaning yourself off of it rather than going cold turkey.


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Virus Protection
artie505 #59419 09/06/21 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ira L
For the comparatively minimal cost, the subscription adds another level of peace of mind. Just sayin'. 

Originally Posted by artie505
Genericizing your analysis of the relatively recent XProtect/MalwareBytes situation makes it sound much like past analyses of the longstanding macOS/TechTool Pro situation, and you haven't weaned yourself off of TTP yet (although you've suggested that it's coming with the next paid upgrade).

Since "Premium" is ambiguous, I don't know what your MBP renewal will cost, but if it's cheap enough, you may best serve yourself by being consistent with your caution and weaning yourself off of it rather than going cold turkey.

FYI:

  • Actually TTP has gone the way of many apps over the years that have outlived their usefulness. I deleted it when it would not run on Monterey and for the life of me I can think of no reason to pay for another upgrade. The only feature I have used or paid any attention to in years is TTP's ability to show the complete S.M.A.R.T. report with all the values for HDs and the equivalent NVME reports for SSDs and Drive Scope does that equally well.*¹
  • The Premium in MalwareBytes Premium means regular, even daily, signature updates and automatic scanning anywhere from every three hours to weekly intervals as opposed to manual scanning in the free version. Ultimate is MalwareBytes Premium plus VPN.*²
  • A single Premium subscription is nominally $3.33 per month.*³


Thanks for the input! Both of you have confirmed my inclination, but I still have not made up my mind. XProtect appears to have the most likely vulnerabilities covered but, like MalwareBytes, it can only detect KNOWN malware signatures so there may be value in double-checking using different signature databases. I have some time left on the MalwareBytes for Mac subscription so I don't have to make a decision until sometime next month so I am going to postpone the decision on whether or not to renew the subscription and se how I feel then. (It took at least three releases and >$150 in upgrade costs with no real benefit to give up TechTool Pro). The fundamental problem is not MalwareBytes, it is the number of subscriptions and the total cost just keeps going up.


_______________

  1. TTP 14.X is the only Micromat product certified for use on Apple Silicon although Drive Scope does work.
  2. Actually with Apple Pay, and logon with Apple combined with Private Relay and Hide My Email in Monterey there don't seem to be much need for a VPN. (Even if you were dealing with highly sensitive information and/or we're in an area with repressive internet regulation onion routing and a compatible browser like Brave or TOR would be a better alternative and Onion Routing is Open Source.)
  3. Paid annually so it is a one time hit of $39.96 + TTL.



"Sacred cows make the best hamburger"

- Mark Twain

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