My thinking is no. There are a handful of viruses out there in the form of malware and trojans. But about the only way to get them is to visit shady sites and/or download shady software. Its not like windows where a simple email infects 2000 people or some backdoor port opens up for no reason.
Anti-virus, I don't bother with. Anti-virus software can only protect against known viruses, and since there aren't any in the wild for OS X (Trojans and other malware are not viruses) there's really nothing to check for. The one thing anti-virus might be able to do is to prevent passing along viruses that have no effect on OS X to other Windows users.
The best protection is to make sure that you don't download anything you don't trust, and never enter your password when asked unless you know and trust what is asking.
I have limited knowledge about such subjects. But, i will tell you what i know about windows based on some articles i read. It may be possible in a mac too - pages of legitimate/good sites can be compromised to silently exploit flaws in your browser. Then, some malicious code is downloaded in the background. Besides that, the downloads on a legal site can also be compromised.
So, always going to "good" sites does not guarantee safety.
I don't have anti-virus on my Mac, or my previous mac and never got a virus in the three years I have had them. On my Windows machine, I have had at least 5 in the past 3 years and they always take me days to clean it up. In many cases on Windows I have to do a fresh install of the OS and all my software.
Anti-virus is such a loaded term. I am pretty sure that there are no real virus software out in the real world that attack OS-X.
There was a malware that got a lot of press a week or two ago. Initially Apple support stonewalled, saying that there is no need for anti-malware. After a bit, they relented and are patching OS-X to prevent that particular attack.
In the past, the bad guys(tm) didn't bother to write attacks on any Apple product because of two key reasons: 1) Apple had no real market share and 2) Windows was such a malware carrier. Combine the two and it makes economic sense to attack Windows and ignore OS-X and Linux.
IMHO, most of the Windows anti-malware products are useless. They are a yearly tax, and they seriously impact system performance. The only reason I buy new computers is to get the use of improved performance -- adding a package to slow them down is not a good thing.
There is no such thing as a mass market operating system that is immune to malware. I expect that we will soon be seeing a lot more malware targeted to at least be distributed by OS-X, IOS and HTML5. Some will probably be able to do damage to the host computer, but I don't expect it to ever get as bad as Windows XP and earlier were/are.
Pat Farrell wrote:IMHO, most of the Windows anti-malware products are useless. They are a yearly tax, and they seriously impact system performance. The only reason I buy new computers is to get the use of improved performance -- adding a package to slow them down is not a good thing.
I consider anti-malware and anti-virus to be different. I didn't use an anti-malware product as I trust myself not to install something I shouldn't. I did use anti-virus and it saved me a lot of work/hassle/reimage.
Probably a couple of years back, you would need one but with the growing market of apple computers, I would suggest that users should invest in one in the coming years. Well, with the growing market, that will surely attract a lot more hackers as well. Probably a reason why they did not take the time off before was that there was just not enough machines to damage. So while the casual windows virus would not affect you, specifically designed ones will surely hurt.
I think that the "market share" argument is nothing but FUD. Even when the Mac OS X market share was much smaller than it is now, OS X was a plump target just waiting to be penetrated by someone who could claim massive amounts of "geek cred" for being the first to create a true OS X virus.
I'm not saying that anything is 100% fool-proof, but I'll wait until there's a proven and credible threat before panicking.