Should we install antivirus, spyware, etc in Windows?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by palmsolo, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. palmsolo


    I searched and didn't see this question anywhere and since this is my first time running a virtual environment I am not that familiar with all the details of how it works. Should we install all the antivirus, spyware, and other security protection applications we normally would have to in Windows? Or is the Mac "protected" by running Windows in a virtual environment?
  2. Manatee


    Absolutely. Treat it as you would a physical Windows machine. I install my OS, then virus protection, and save a copy of it before I even connect it to the internet.

    One benefit of a VM, though, is that as long as you have a clean (pre-virus) copy of it, you can blow away the working copy and replace it. Of course you lose anything you saved since the "safe" copy of your VM.

    Any virus that affects your Windows VM should not harm the underlying host OSX installation.
  3. Flenser


    Airport firewall?

    Good question. My question is this: My Macs are behind an airport, which firewalls most incoming traffic, correct? And XP has a built-in firewall. So, assuming I don't visit any skanky web sites with IE under XP using the ||s application, do I need to get NAV or other anti-virus/firewall protection?

    I've already made a copy of the disk files for a clean install of XP, so I can punt a corrupted one if need be.

  4. bcjenkins


    Any OS, OS X included, ought to be running an AV software on it. Now since there seems to be some hesitancy about putting one on, I thought I'd link 2 of the free versions I know about. Your ISP may also provide a free one as well. Now, can you get away with not running one? Yes, but your susceptibility goes up the more you do online with it.

    Have fun

  5. vamp07


    I did not install any of this. The way I use my virtual windows machine I don't really browse anywhere and I don't run any unknown software. I don't want to tax the virtual cpu/machine any more then I have to.
  6. willwgm3


    Something to keep in mind. Without virus protection, you may not immediately know that your guest is actually infected. There are more ways to get infected than visiting skanky web sites with IE. Email, word docs, etc.. If you do get infected and do not know it, the virus could spread to other windows machines in your LAN which are not as easily restored as a VM. Also, depending on the virus, it may spread to others through email. It is always a good idea to have a backup, but I would still recommend installing AV software. I like Avast which is free:

    My .02

  7. tj4shee


    Just a thought / note / warning......

    re: the statement of "Any virus that affects your Windows VM should not harm the underlying host OSX installation."

    under most circumstances this is probably safe to say.... BUT..... if you have your OS X folders shared or available to the Windows VM, you run the risk of a virus messing up the 'network' mounted data as well.

    So, I agree with the statements about running an Antivirus app on any platform you are running..... Mac OS X included. The lack of viruses on Mac OS X does not necessarily mean one won't pop up today - kind of like 'but he never planned to be hit by a bus ????'
  8. celendis


    Need AV?

    There's a saying I heard about 8 years ago regarding antivirus software:

    The only computer that does not need antivirus software is one with no network connection, no cd/floppy drives [and no USB/Firewire and other ports], and is powered off in a locked vault.

    That said, I think you could get away from using antivirus if you disabled your network, CD, and floppy interfaces, then scanned your computer with the latest virus definitions, and then uninstalled the virus software.

    Put it back on before you install any other software, to be safe(r).

  9. Scott Willsey

    Scott Willsey

    If you ammend that to say "The only windows computer", then it's true. :D
  10. PCMacGuy


    I loaded my Win 2k VM with Zonealarm and McAfee.

    Did this with my VMware systems too. So far, except for sound not working, the Parallels box is much faster than VMware system. Running the VMware VM on a Pentium D 64bit system and the iMac smokes it speed wise.
  11. smpdigital


    Sorry but I strongly disagree, a hardware firewall will do just fine with OS X, you don't need to defend from something that, well... doesn't exist.

    On the other hand you can get infected on a windows OS in just five minutes, the possibilities of getting infected are minimized if you don't browse the internet or check any sort of email, but again it will depend on how sensitive is the information that you might be willing to risk.
  12. vamp07


    If you know what you are doing it is not all the easy to catch something in windows.

    1. Have the latest OS updates.

    2. Don’t open email attachments from people you don't know. I do all my email online with gmail so everything is canned anyway but I don't open anything when in doubt.

    3. If a web browser comes up and says the world will end unless you download and install x, don’t install x.

    On my main windows machine I do run antivirus (nod32) but it has never detected anything. I do download software like crazy to test out. It does detect stuff that comes through in email attachments when I test out some email program but that is stuff I would not have opened anyway. In general you should run a good virus checker but many of us are using Parallels to run some specific stuff. If your usage is pretty contained and you know what you are doing I don't think it is a given you need to run antivirus software.
  13. 1kabooki



    Forgive my ignorance and for bringing this thread to life back from the dead...

    1) So, if running parallels, do I need to have a firewall program running with the Windows XP in Parallels? I was thinking about buying PCCillin Internet Security. If running Parallels in a Mac, does the Mac already firewall the internet connection for you? Should I also add a dedicated firewall in the Mac OS?

    2) If you run an antivirus in the Mac, does it cover the Parallels VM/ Windows XP? Alternatively, if you have antivirus running in Parallels, does it screen the entire Mac harddrive (I assume not)? Do you have to have 2 Antivirus programs to cover everything or will one suffice?

    3) I realize that it is extremely rare to get malware/virus in Mac OS. However, I am paranoid. What program do you guys recommend to run in Mac OS?

    Thanks much in advance for all your help.
  14. joem


    Posting your question if two different forums will not get you a faster or better answer, but it will waste the time of the folks who are in a position to help you. Your question has been answered in the other forum.
  15. PubGuy


  16. Meboard


    Good News

    Installed McAfee on iMac and also Win XP through parallels.
    This is the message received from Firewall checker.

    Unable to Probe

    The IP address requesting this page is different from the IP address of your computer. This indicates that your computer is behind a proxy or NAT. These devices allow you to access the Internet by relaying traffic, typically from multiple computers, through a single IP address.

    We are unable to directly probe your computer, you should take comfort from this. You have that much more protection between your computer and the Internet.
  17. dkp


    If you use shared networking then your Windows system has the same exposure as your Mac. Both the Mac and Windows come with firewall capability but neither comes with anti-virus tools so it is prudent to have those for both envrionments. One will not protect the other. I would not allow either to run continuously in real time as they can destroy your system performance.

    Here's my recommendation which is worth what you've paid for it: Make a copy of your virtual machines and burn them to CD. Make sure you have all the applications installed. Make sure all your virtual machine personal data (word docs, spread sheets, pdf's, email) are stored on Mac shares, not in the virtual machine file space. Now if you have a virus or adware infestation in your vm you turn it off and delete it from the OS X file manager and replace it with a copy from your CD (which is presumed uninfected at the time of creation). This will remove any viruses and adware and give you a fresh start and it takes only minutes.

    If you ever add new software then you will need to make a backup of your virtual machine again. And if your Mac is ever stolen or is damaged in some way (disk failure, perhaps), you will still have your virtual machine for installation on the replacement system. It also means you can toss your vm into your briefcase and travel light - installing it in a rented or borrowed Mac.
  18. >>> Message has been deleted by the user <<<
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2007
  19. drval


    Personally I use Norton SystemWorks, AdAware and SpyBot on ALL Windows installations.
  20. Sideways


    I'd like to question whther some of the statements here are accurate, specifically about shared networking. I run XP under Build 3094 with shared networking. The IP address XP has is one from the Parallels DHCP range, NOT one from my local LAN. Using ifconfig under OS/X I can see that only one network interface (LAN connection) has a local LAN ip address. I cant ping the XP address from an external system.
    I therefore infer that the XP instance is NAT'd behind OS/X. Whilst I would always run anti-virus (under windoze) I'm struggling to see why I would run an extra firewall under XP when XP is not externally accessible through the OS/X firewall / NAT.
    Can anybody confirm (or deny) this with absolute certainty ?



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