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Apple removes Mac antivirus language from site

Eagle-eyed Elinor Mills, reporter at sister site CNET, has the scoop that Apple has removed the 2007 item from its support site late last night that urged Mac customers to use multiple antivirus utilities.Now, the company says the Mac is safe "out of the box.
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Written by Andrew Nusca on

Eagle-eyed Elinor Mills, reporter at sister site CNET, has the scoop that Apple has removed the 2007 item from its support site late last night that urged Mac customers to use multiple antivirus utilities.

Now, the company says the Mac is safe "out of the box."(What say you now, blogosphere?)

"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate," Apple spokesperson Bill Evans said in the article. "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."

So, you know, Macs are basically desktop Supermen, except when they're near kryptonite. Sigh.

Previously, the company's security message in its KnowledgeBase was as follows: "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."

Several security experts were pleased that Apple would urge Mac users to install antivirus software and had warned that running multiple antivirus products could cause problems and recommended against it.

Our own Ryan Naraine and Adam O'Donnell noted that it can be trivially easy to exploit unpatched Mac OS X vulnerabilities.

Rich Mogull, of TidBITS, speculated in the article that Apple was merely removing a poorly-worded support note and said it probably wasn't ever Apple's intention to tell Mac users they need antivirus.

But either way, Apple is not really one to backtrack or concede error, so the uproar has been quite interesting from a corporate practices standpoint. After all, if the message was made in error, why not come straight out and say that the page was old and needed updating?

Why try to "quietly" change a page everyone has been watching?

Obviously, the whole thing is about liability, and clearly, the new message opens the company up to such problems, at least in perception.

Of course, as Adam O'Donnell writes, it's just a matter of time. So why bother now?

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