The knowledge base article on Apple's support site which encouraged the widespread use of antivirus software on Mac systems has been removed, but the idea that Mac users might still benefit from protection still lives on.
The page (which was here) had the following to say on the subject:
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. Here are some available antivirus utilities:
- Intego VirusBarrier X5, available from the Apple Online Store License: commercial - Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh, available from the Apple Online Store License: commercial - McAfee VirusScan for Mac License: commercial
The page was edited on November 21st and December 2nd before being pulled down later in the day on the 2nd. Apple say that the page was removed "because it was old and inaccurate."
So, does this mean that Mac users can uninstall antivirus and live a carefree existence? Well, maybe not. According to an Apple spokesperson, antivirus software on the Mac might still offer benefits:
However, since no system can be 100% immune from every threat, running anti-virus software may offer additional protection.
Additionally, the Apple spokesperson had this to say:
The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box.
Maybe, but the Mac OS seems wide open to social engineering attacks as long as the system is being driven by the kind of person that clicks on everything.
Also note that the Apple Store sells several antivirus solutions aimed at the consumer.
My take is that antivirus software on a Mac is unnecessary unless you've got it hooked up to a mixed ecosystem network consisting of Windows systems or if you move files (specifically email) back and forth between a Mac and Windows systems (or you're the sort of person who is likely to fall for those "install this codec to see free porn" tricks).
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