Earlier this week, reports circulated widely that Apple Inc. appeared to have issued an official recommendation that Mac OS users install not one but multiple antivirus products to guard against the growing threat from Mac-specific viruses and Trojan Horse attacks.

Apple now says the advisory, at it’s official Support site, was at least a year old but had recently been updated, giving the impressioin that it was new.

The post in question has now been completely removed Support site.

Observers suggest that the original post, recommending intensive antivirus use, was generated at the support desk level and was not subjected to higher-level approval or editing processes. Apple’s brass apparently never even knew about the post until the media reports started circulating this week.

Apple’s official line remains that the Mac OS is safe ‘right out of the box’.

“The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box,” Apple spokesman Bill Evans told CNet News. “However, since no system can be 100 per cent immune from every threat, running antivirus software may offer additional protection.”

Skeptics say the fact that Apple totally removed the post, rather than correcting or updating it, indicates that the company is running scared and or hiding in embarrassment over the whole affair.

3 Responses to Apple retracts AV recommendation

  1. Evolving Squid
    Dec 04, 2008

    There is one, and only one, reason why there are very few viruses and little malware that is Mac specific. Mac has such a small marketshare that the cretins who write the stuff can’t be bothered to port their oeuvre to the Mac.

    Despite what the fanbois say, Mac security is still based largely on obscurity, not on any inherent strength (to be fair, it is stronger, but not so strong as to be insurmountable). If we waved a magic wand and gave Apple a 40% marketshare tomorrow, the first destructive Mac virus would be out by Monday.

  2. Maggie James
    Dec 04, 2008

    There are already Mac bugs out there… But none with the sophistication or pervasiveness of the prevailing Windows universe bugs.

    The real story, here, is that a major pillar supporting Apple’s Mac OS superiority hype — that ‘it doesn’t get viruses’ — has been seriously compromised. What an embarrassment for them, when one of their own support techs posts an advisory recommending the use of not one but *several* anti-virus products!

    And we all know how product-image-conscious Steve Jobs is… 😉

  3. Eric Jacksch
    Dec 04, 2008

    The lower market share is part of the reason that OSX has not been much of a malware target. However, the other reason is that OSX uses the standard UNIX approach of having users run applications with user privileges and only escalate to admin privileges when required. If an OSX user downloads and executes malicious code, it executes with the user’s privileges. The malware can access the user’s files, but it can not modify programs or the operating system.

    It took until Vista for Microsoft to catch up by adding UAC.

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