Apple has begun advising users of its computers to install anti-virus software, in a move that is likely to stir controversy between Mac aficionados and their PC counterparts. The advice is part of a support document entitled Mac OS: Antivirus Utilities, posted on November 21st, in which the company “encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult”.
The document goes on to recommend three commercial anti-virus applications for Mac: Intego VirusBarrier X5, Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh and McAfee VirusScan for Mac, the former two with links to the Apple Store. Although the company has not officially commented on what prompted the advice, industry analysts are suggesting that the rise in internet trojans and other malware intending data theft has left Mac users just as great targets as their Windows counterparts.
Apple’s “immunity” to viruses has been a longstanding refrain used in Mac/PC arguments, with the company itself fuelling the debate through its own adverts. Of course, the lasting message here should really be that no internet user should venture online without taking precautions to protect their personal data.