Gartner Research

Q&A: Is Antivirus Required on Apple Macintosh and Linux Desktops?

Published: 28 February 2011

ID: G00210518

Analyst(s): Peter Firstbrook , Neil MacDonald


Many enterprises are now providing Apple Macintosh devices as a supported alternative to their employees and, in some cases, Linux alternatives as well. Despite industry and user hype, Mac and Linux desktops require local anti-malware protection.

Table Of Contents
  • Aren't Mac and Linux devices less vulnerable to attack and, therefore, local endpoint protection isn't required?
    • How could attacks get through?
    • How are these platforms vulnerable?
  • Doesn't the fact that my Mac/Linux users don't run with root access eliminate the need for local anti-malware scanning?
  • Should I buy a dedicated point solution for protecting Mac and Linux desktops?
  • What are the risks of using free antivirus or not running antivirus at all?
  • How do I address complaints from users dealing with very large media files/source code files where anti-malware scanning takes away from system resources?
  • Are there any cases where anti-malware scanning on enterprise endpoints could be safely eliminated?
  • What about Unix and Mac servers?
  • What else should I be doing to protect these devices?
  • Bottom Line

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