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Apple No Longer Claims It’s Immune to Viruses

Apple, widely known for being essentially immune to viruses has now changed the wording on its website to clarify that Mac computers aren’t in fact immune to malware. Until recently, Apple’s “Why Buy Mac” page, which touts the benefits of OS X, displayed an icon that claimed a Mac “doesn’t get PC viruses.” Now, instead, it reads that a Mac is “built to be safe.” It’s an amusing little change, and one that’s quite noteworthy coming from Apple.

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Now that Apple products are far more ubiquitous and, as a result, hackers are starting to pay more attention to abusing Apple’s operating systems, the company is slowly having to abandon previous claims of virus immunity. After the Flashback botnet infected over half a million Macs, it started becoming a little clearer that Mac’s relative freedom from infection was due to a historic lack of viruses directed toward the machines at least as much as any sort of inherent security. Of course, OS X doesn’t get PC viruses; it gets OS X viruses. Now Apple is going to have to walk themselves back from the old invincibility stance if they want to start urging users to make sure they have the kind of virus protection they need.

Apple has been taking steps to increase security, like releasing a security guide for iOS and including a feature called Gatekeeper in the upcoming OS X 10.8, but those lagging behind with older operating systems may still be at risk. Just this May, Apple ended support for Leopard (OS X 10.5) and the millions of users who are still on these systems — and who are probably not intimately acquainted with the constant watch-your-back-24-7 virus paranoia of lifetime Windows users — are slowly transitioning into vulnerability.

The majority of malware might still be floating around in the Windows world, but it’s still important to remember that no OS is bulletproof once people start shooting at it. You can never be too careful.

(via PC World)

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