Apple Encourages AntiVirus Use for Macs?!

[Links in this article were updated 12/2010] This was an article I had started on Dec. 1, but never finished. I publish it now because an interesting twist came along later.

Apple updated an article on its knowledge base site to encourage “the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities” on Mac computers:

On November 21, 2008, article HT2550 as follows:

Summary
Learn about antivirus utilities available for the Mac OS.

Products Affected
Consumer Software, Mac OS

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

I’ve encouraged the use of anti-virus software on Macs for a long time now. Mainly due to the possibility that Macs could become carriers of PC viruses. A Mac user could unknowingly receive an infected document and then forward it to someone else; not knowing they had just passed on an infected file.

As I said, I never published the post, but several other blogs and news outlets reported on it, most notable Brian Krebs of the Washington Post. Then came the twist, Apple pulled the report from its Knowledge Base.

I still endorse the use of antivirus software on Macs. Sure, there are few Mac viruses out there, but the number will likely grow along with their popularity; and, sure, Macs need not worry about being affected by PC viruses, but there is still the risk that a Mac user will unknowingly receive and forward an infected file.  Restated, a person using a Mac might receive an infected article, and not know it was infected, and then forward it to someone else, perhaps to a PC using friend.

Don’t let your Mac be a “Typhoid Mary”. (Mary Mallon (1869-1938) was a cook who was found to be a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. She never succombed to the illness, but many people around her did).

Look into a quality antivirus program for your Mac, particularly if you share file with PC using friends. After all, not all of them are using an antivirus utility either.

Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus for Mac is available from these online retailers:


Norton AntiVirus 11 for Mac

is the world s most trusted antivirus solution for Mac systems.* It removes
viruses automatically, cleans infected Internet and email downloads, and
protects against advanced online threats and attacks that target software
vulnerabilities. It s also compatible with Mac OS X v10.5 and takes full
advantage of the new operating system s advanced features to help you protect
your Mac even better. Powerful, built-in vulnerability protection helps
prevent identity thieves from exploiting newly discovered application and
operating system weaknesses. And as always, LiveUpdate makes it easy to
keep your virus and vulnerability protection updates current against new
threats. Includes Norton AntiVirus 2009 for Windows to protect those who
use their Intel based Mac to run Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.

Symantec Norton Internet Security v.4.0 for Mac Internet Security – Complete
Product – 1 User – Mac, Intel-based Mac
Integrated,
nonintrusive security suite with a simple, easy-to-use interface that includes
protection found in Norton AntiVirus v.11.0 for Mac, Norton Confidential,
and two-way firewall functionality and automatically detects and removes
spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, malware, and Internet worms.

Intego NetBarrier X5 – Complete Product – Standard – 1 User – Retail – Mac
:
Intego VirusBarrier X5 is the simple, fast and non-intrusive antivirus solution
for Macintosh computers. It offers thorough protection against viruses and
malware of all types, coming from infected files or applications, whether
on CD-ROMs, DVDs or other removable media, or in files downloaded over the
Internet or other types of networks.

BitDefender Antivirus Antivirus – 2 User – Intel-based Mac

pro-actively protects 2 Macs for 2 years against the new breed of Mac viruses.
Plus, it destroys Windows viruses (which don’t affect Macs) so that you
don’t accidentally pass them on to your family, friends and colleagues using
PCs.

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