Apple Advocates Use of Multiple Antiviral Programs for Macs

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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.


Lee Dronick

As secure as we are with our UNIX foundation sooner or later some jerk is going to write a virus/malware that is going to get into OSX. The question is will the Mac antiviral programs hold the thin red line or will the punks flank us somehow.


It would have to make use of a pretty bad and “previously unknown” exploit to cause any appreciable damage.
As long as you run day to day in User mode instead of Admin’ mode (and therein lies the greatest truth of this whole thing) and stay on the beaten track then you are pretty safe.

I so don’t miss having AV software running. I’ve used computers for years and Windows, with Norton and AVG (though not at the same time) is NOT safe. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to sort out my daughters and other friends computers which have become infected despite using some of the biggest names in “anti-virus” protection.

It’s a design thing (and not a “bums on seats” thing). As most of us who use OSX and Linux know.


I wonder if the reason is to protect the many “switchers” and others who are also running Windoze on their Macs.  I’m not very worried about a Mac virus, but if I was running Windoze too I would be VERY concerned.


As secure as we are with our UNIX foundation sooner or later some jerk is going to write a virus/malware that is going to get into OSX

And if that should ever happen, the score will then be 129,000 to 1. Windows still has more software.  grin


This article isn’t a recent addition at all.  See the following archive of the article:


First thing - I am never running Norton AV again. Once was enough. The second time was masochistic. Never again. It’s like pouring molasses over everything. Bleah. I happen to be trialling an AV now from PC Tools. Might post in 1 Infinite Loop about it. But anyways…


I’m not running AV software on my Mac. NO!

I’ll backup my data, and take my chances.


Apple Advocates Use of Multiple Antiviral Programs for Macs

No, it doesn’t. Time for a follow-up article, Bryan:

Frank Smith

USA Detailed Consumers Database, 61+ Million Records of Detailed Consumer Data,

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