It looks as though the Apple PR department has found out that the company had been encouraging users to install anti-virus software. The article on Apple’s website was removed today, leaving no traces it has ever existed. On Apple’s site, that is… Graham Cluley from Sophos notes that the page is in the Internet Archive, and that the recommendation to use anti-virus software has been on the site since June 2007. This is the place the original article can be found at the Wayback Machine; I’ll provide a screenshot just in case Apple makes this disappear as well:

wayback_apple_antivirusapple_antivirus_full

Graham posted an interesting article yesterday as well; he’s not exactly unbiased, but he does provide six excellent facts about viruses and other malware on MacOS, and why it might be a good idea to install a virus scanner after all. He actually provides seven, but I have my doubts about this one:

Fact six: Windows threats can infect Macs too
The use of Intel-based chips in Apple Mac hardware has made use of Windows on Macs more common, so Macs are more likely than before to be harbouring and spreading Windows malware.

Right. So if I’m running Windows in a virtual machine, should I be using antivirus in MacOS? Sorry, that just doesn’t make sense at all. But still, there are lots of reasons to have a closer look at the virus scanners available for Macs. If you don’t want to spend money on one yet, check out ClamXav; you can find it on Apple’s website (for now!) and of course via clamxav.com.

Update: Cnet quotes Bill Evans from Apple as saying:

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 antivirus software may offer additional protection.

Right. The way I read this, he’s advising users to install antivirus software; after all, Windows also includes “built-in technologies that provide protection”, but I wouldn’t run that without additional protection either.