Preston Gralla

Apple finally admits Macs can get viruses...well, almost admits it

June 25, 2012 11:21 AM EDT

Apple has long touted security of its Mac operating system, contrasting it with what it portrays as security-hole-ridden Windows. Now Apple is finally admitting that Macs can get viruses, too...well, it doesn't go quite that far, but almost admits it.

The Atlantic magazine points out that Apple has changed the marketing on its Web site touting the Mac's virus invulnerability. Before the change, Apple boasted in part:

It doesn't get PC viruses.
A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That's thanks to built-in defenses in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part.

The text now reads:

It's built to be safe.

Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.

You can see the full before and after here.

That marketing change may not strike you as substantial, but coming from Apple, it's a big deal. Apple has long denied any security problems with the Mac, detailed evidence to the contrary. The Flashback trojan attack shows that the Mac is vulnerable, even though Apple doesn't like to admit it. And Eugene Kaspersky of the Kaspersky security company says that Apple is ten years behind Microsoft when it comes to security. Apple doesn't take malware attacks seriously, he says, which will "mean disaster for Apple."

Does the change in marketing mean that Apple is starting to take security more seriously? It's too soon to tell. But clearly the company recognizes that it's got to own up to at least some security vulnerabilities, and that's a first step.