Apple deletes antivirus advice from its website

The recommendation was 'old and inaccurate,' says Apple

Apple last week pulled from its website a controversial tech support document that urged Macintosh computer users to run antivirus software. The recommendation was yanked because it was "old and inaccurate," an Apple spokesman said.

The now-missing document was brief — just 81 words — and suggested that running antivirus programs from companies like McAfee, Symantec and Intego on Macs could make "the whole virus-writing process more difficult" for cybercrooks.

In TV ads over the years, Apple has poked fun at Microsoft's Windows for being susceptible to attacks — one reason why the support document became the focus of considerable discussion among Mac users and security experts.

Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, called the fracas "a big to-do about nothing," but he blamed Apple's attitude as much as anything for the widespread interest in the incident. "If it wasn't for the fact that Apple has been so smug around malware and viruses and such, this would not have been such a big deal," Storms said.

He said that the action is another example of Apple's lack of transparency about security issues. "It became a big brouhaha because we didn't have any information. Look at the message you get when you try to reach the document now. It doesn't say anything about why it was pulled."

Transparency, Storms continued, may not be important to consumers — Apple's biggest market — but it's vital to businesses that use the company's products.

To handle security, "enterprises need intelligence and tools and information," none of which Apple adequately provides for business customers, Storms said.

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