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Apple nixes antivirus recommendation
Published: 2008-12-03

Apple reversed course on Tuesday, pulling down a technical note that recommended that users install antivirus software on their Macs.

The technical note, which was not a new recommendation as originally reported, listed three antivirus products and stated that "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."

Late Tuesday, Apple pulled the technical note and sent reporters a statement that matches its original marketing, but with an added caveat.

"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate," Apple said in a statement sent to SecurityFocus. "The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, running antivirus software may offer additional protection."

Security researchers have long pointed out that -- while Apple's operating system does have good security features -- it is not immune to malicious software. In March, for example, a security researcher used a vulnerability in the Safari browser to compromise a MacBook running the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system.

However, few writers of malicious code have targeted Mac OS X. Many security researchers believe the issue is not one of security, but that the Mac does not command enough market share to attract malware writers. One researcher used concepts of game theory to estimate that attackers will not be enticed to write malicious code for the platform until Apple accounted for more than one of every six computers.

SecurityFocus is owned by Symantec, a security company that sells antivirus software for the Mac OS X.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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