Mac malware meme put in its place
By John Leyden
3rd December 2008
One of the more famous Get a Mac ads boasted that Apple systems, unlike Windows boxes, didn't need anti-virus software. So when an article on an Apple support site encouraged the use of anti-virus software on Macs it seemed like news. In truth the article reiterated long-standing, though little publicised, advice from Apple.
There's little or no difference between an item on the support site published on 21 November and since pulled (but available through Google's cache here) and what Apple was saying in June 2007. Both encourage the use of anti-virus software on Mac machines, suggesting the same three alternative scanner software packages (from McAfee, Symantec and Intego). Apple has talked about anti-virus for Macs for much longer than this - since at least 2002 (notice here).
Updated 7:45 p.m. PST with expert comment, at 7:20 p.m. PST with context on previous coverage, and at 7:08 p.m. PST with background.
Apple removed an old item from its support site late Tuesday that urged Mac customers to use multiple antivirus utilities and now says the Mac is safe "out of the box."
"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate," Apple spokesperson Bill Evans said.
"The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box," he said. "However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, running antivirus software may offer additional protection."
Apple's previous security message in its KnowledgeBase, which serves as a tutorial for Mac users, was: "Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult."