Apple pulls ‘old and inaccurate’ antivirus support article; says ‘Macs are secure right out of box’

Apple’s support page, “Mac OS: Antivirus utilities,” that the company originally published in June 2007 and updated with new versions of mentioned antivirus apps on November 21 2008, which, for some reason — incompetence, ignorance, or both — generated widespread coverage from axe-grinders worldwide has disappeared.

“‘We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate,’ Apple spokesman Bill Evans, told Macworld. ‘The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box.'”

MacDailyNews Note: Neither of the original nor the updated KnowledgeBase articles (which we reprinted verbatim here) mentioned “Mac OS X.” They both stated, curiously, simply “Mac OS,” a fact we also mentioned in our article yesterday.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple couldn’t have planned a better way to call attention to the Mac’s vastly superior security (and maybe they did). Expect massive handwringing from the Windows sufferers who think everybody, even Mac users, should be wasting their processor cycles so that those suffering with Windows can be “protected” as they continue to torture themselves with bloated, insecure, upside-down and backwards, badly-faked Macs in order to delude themselves with visions of some great “deal” they got upfront.

As we said yesterday, “We’re keeping our processor cycles to ourselves. As evidenced by our ongoing poll — ‘Do you run antivirus app(s) on your Mac?’ — we’re not alone, with 91% answering ‘no.'”

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By the way, in anticipation of the appearance of the old canard that the Mac is secure via obscurity: that’s an illogical myth. Why, if obscurity means security, in April 2007 was there a virus for iPods running Linux (a few hundred devices total, at most, in all the world), but there are no viruses for the over 30 million Mac OS X computers that are currently online? Why would criminals not target the most affluent personal computer users, the tens of millions of Mac users around the world?

Uh, oh – logic is certainly not what AV software peddlers, Windows PC box assemblers, and the rest of the leeches affixed to the Windows ecosystem want people to hear. Fear is what they’re after. The sheep must be kept in the Windows pen, no matter the cost to reputations, reality, productivity, sanity, etc. Far too many have far too much invested in Microsoft Windows for them to stand idly by and let it all slip away due to a vastly superior, vastly more secure solution from Apple. But slip away it does nonetheless.

The idea that Windows’ morass of security woes exists because more people use Windows and that Macs have no security problems because fewer people use Macs, is simply not true. By design, Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows. Period. For reference and reasons why Mac OS X is more secure than Windows, read The New York Times’ David Pogue’s mea culpa on the subject of the “Mac Security Via Obscurity” myth here.

“Security via Obscurity” is a defense mechanism for the delusional and also tool for Microsoft apologists and/or those who profit from Windows; to be used when attempting keep the sheep in the pen. 30 million Mac OS X installs is not “obscure” at all, but over seven (7+) years of Mac users surfing the Net unimpeded certainly is “secure.” Besides social engineering scams (phishing, trojans; no OS can instill common sense) the only thing by which Mac users are really affected are large swaths of compromised Windows machines slowing down the ‘Net with spam and nefarious botnet traffic targeted at exploiting even more insecure Windows boxes. Get a Mac.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

25 Comments

  1. As long as I remember my system password I will never need AV software. If my iMac ever gets infected it’s my fault, not Apple’s, Mac OS X or anyone else’s, just mine.

  2. The fallacy of the “market share” lie.

    When you hear a ‘Dozer spreading the “no virus ‘cos of market share” myth, consider that this is what they want you to believe- That there are only a few hundred (perhaps even a few thousand) computers on Planet Earth, and it’s simply not profitable for an author of malware to code for 20 or 30 Macs.

    Reality, however, looks more like this;

    Apple is selling more than 2 million computers per quarter.
    There are roughly 25 million Macintosh’s in use in the US alone, and what data I’ve found available suggests that, on average, Mac users earn more money than their ‘Doze counterparts.

    If you’re coding malware, you’re a dunce if you haven’t attempted to target 25 million upper income computer owners, and I refuse to believe (like so many vocal ‘Doze fanbois do) that these people are stupid.

  3. Security? There’s more stuff Apple could do at a system level. E.g. Leopard’s randomization is incomplete; e.g., there are some funky permissions on some directories (mainly for ease of use – that old trade-off).

    But AV software is a silly security solution that palpably *hasn’t* worked on Windows. It’s a band-aid solution. It’s no solution.

    I’m not about to fill the coffers of the likes of Symantec — with a top-up each and every year for the pleasure of continuing to f*** my Mac’s performance and stability.

    No thank you, Sir.

  4. If it was possible to write viruses for the Mac, the windoze fanboys would have gotten a hold of a pirated copies of OS X and written some by now. That’s what I tell my windoze friends and they have nothing to say afterwards.

  5. My main reason for switching to the Mac was the fact that I was spending more time maintaining my computer than I was using it. Prior to switching- I would ask people with Macs about their system setup- I got a lot of… “I don’t know- I just use it” at first I thought it was ignorance- and then I realized- that’s the way it’s supposed to be. And yes- it just works. I maintain PC’s for a living. The battle is constant- Virus definition updates, OS updates and patches, spyware scans, “my computer is slow” issues, etc.- and then- I come home to the sanctity of my Mac environnment…

    Anyway- I don’t and won’t run any memory resident virus / spyware services on my Macs- once in a while- I’ll run a free scan utility just to check- but it’s not memory resident and the only time I’ve found anything- it was Windows related – (.exe, .vbs, .dll)

    Cheers everybody.

  6. damn near got into a fight over this on Slashdot, I’ll repeat what I said there:

    Market share isn’t the reason there isn’t a virus for OS X, I mean, come on now, there’s a virus for linux on iPod! A virus that depends on hacked hardware that only a few thousand people are doing! How does ‘market share’ handle that one?

    The biggest reason there isn’t a virus for OS X is that it’s so difficult, as the parent mentioned, to get anywhere. The only things out there for OS X are things that rely on the user’s stupidity (which is potentially unlimited) to install and infect, but that isn’t a virus, it’s a trojan, or spyware, or something like that.

    Market share will never come into the equation, it will always be the ease of making the virus. If by some chance windows overnight became as secure as OS X, then we will see viruses for OS X, then when the security is equally difficult we will see market share being the reason for the number of viruses on a system. But we’re talking about Windows becoming secure and well-coded to prevent hacking, that’ll never happen, so Market Share will never become a factor.

    Until the point where windows is as secure as OS X (or hell freezes over, whichever comes first), OS X will always have few, if any, viruses, even if it becomes the market leader.”

  7. With 25 to 30 million OSX installations in the US, you would think that some virus writers would want to target that system. They would look at that and say, “Man, 30 million computers out there and hardly a one is running any AV protection at all. What a botnet that would make! And no AV! This is going to be easy!”

    So why hasn’t it happened? (*I* know the answer, but many don’t.)

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