Apple recently updated its Knowledge Base to include an article recommending that Mac users use antivirus utilities on their Macs, a move that runs counter to years of the company's advertising and approach to the subject.
Apple is now advising Mac owners to use "multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult." The company specifically recommended Intego VirusBarrier X5 ($64.99 - Amazon), Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh ($31.99 - Amazon), and McAfee VirusScan for Mac.
Mum is so far the word on why the change in policy was made, and why the company made such a momentous change in a stealth KBase article released without fanfare. The KBase article was last modified on November 21st, 2008.
The KBase article also directly contradicts years of advertising and other marketing materials Apple has published over the years.
In the 2006 "Get a Mac" commercial titled "Virus," John Hodgman's PC character notes that, "there are over 114,000 viruses for PCs." Justin Long responds with, "PCs, not Macs," with the clear point being that Mac users don't have to worry about viruses.
The company's current "Get a Mac" Web site's FAQ notes, "Mac OS X resists most viruses, so you can do anything -- without worrying about losing everything."
Though there is no mention of antiviral software, the FAQ also states, "While no computer connected to the Internet is 100 percent immune to viruses and spyware, the Mac is built on a solid UNIX foundation and designed with security in mind."
All that said, it is not clear if the KBase article, which is titled, "Mac OS: Antivirus utilities," represents a position change for Apple, or if it is merely a CYA addition to the KBase.
Chris Barylick contributed to this article.