Maybe Apple Macs don't need antivirus after all
**UPDATED 1 PM ET with Apple comment **
Does that mean that Mac's don't need antivirus?
Maybe. Then again, maybe not. One of the biggest problems with the support page note was wording that suggested that users use 'multiple' pieces of software.
"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,"Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) wrote on its now deleted support page.
I received a call from an Apple spokesperson today who gave me Apple's official statement on this issue. Here's the official word:
"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate. 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 anti-virus software may offer additional protection."
So there you go. Not a recommendation for multiple antivirus tools after all - which is a good thing since that wouldn't really work anyways. The problem with that is running multiple antivirus tools at the same time is hardly a best practice. In fact for many antivirus tools (on Windows at least) the first step of the installation process often involves removing any existing antivirus software to prevent conflicts.
I for one am glad that the confusing note has been removed - but I do hope that Apple replaces it with a clarification rather than just a deletion at some point.
The act of simply deleting a support note without any mention (on the support page) of why is not the mark of a company that is entirely open and transparent.
Certainly the Mac is less prone to virus attacks than Windows systems, but by Apple's own admission it is not 100 percent immune. In fact just look at the number of updates that Apple has had to make in the last two years to its QuickTime media player to see that Apple technologies are being targeted by malware writers.