With no warning or explanation, Apple has started pulling antivirus apps from its app store. 9to5Mac noticed today that “Apple has seemingly decided to crack down on antivirus and antimalware apps”.
I don’t use my iPad enough to be able to tell whether any antivirus apps are no longer available, but the cull was confirmed by Intego, makers of Virus Barrier. That developer announced on its blog that Apple has decided that the entire category of anti-virus and anti-malware apps were no longer required.
This unfortunately means that Apple is not targeting a handful of apps for violation of some vague rule, but has instead decided to put all its customers at risk of attack – including the cautious, the prudent, and the paranoid.
Yes, I know that it’s widely believed that Apple devices can’t get viruses. This is by no means true, but it looks like Apple has become convinced of its invincibility.
That, or Apple doesn’t care that the someone used a virus to target iDevices last year during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, or that earlier in the year ad click stealing malware was discovered on jailbroken iPhones.
While you might feel that anyone who jailbreaks their iPhone set themselves up for trouble, the same cannot be said for victims of Wirelurker. Identified late last year, this malware can pass from an infected Mac to infect an iDevice when you sync over USB.
So you think you don’t need an antivirus on your iDevice? I wouldn’t be so sure.
And if you’re not scared yet, let me add that those are just the first 3 incidents which I found after a few minutes of Googling; I’m sure there are more. In fact, now that Apple has stripped away the defenses, I would guarantee that we’re going to read more stories of malware, hacking, and viruses infecting iPhones.
P.S. Does anyone else appreciate the irony of Apple using the first line of defense (strict control of the iTunes app store) to make iDevice users less safe?