Apple Removes Intego's 'VirusBarrier' From iOS App Store, Says It's Misleading

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Apple appears to be cracking down on "anti-virus" apps in the iOS App Store, in an effort to prevent customers from believing iOS devices are capable of contracting viruses and malware. Intego, a company that produces anti-virus software for Mac and iOS, recently had its VirusBarrier iOS app pulled from the App Store.

VirusBarrier was an app designed to scan external files stored in the cloud or attached to emails, to detect viruses that might be sent on to vulnerable devices.

Intego CEO Jeff Erwin announced the removal of the app from the iOS App Store yesterday, and pointed towards a larger culling of all anti-virus apps available on Apple's platform. MacRumors spoke to Erwin this afternoon to shed some light on why Apple opted to remove VirusBarrier after four and a half years in the App Store.

According to Erwin, when Apple notified Intego of VirusBarrier's removal from the App Store, the company told him the app's App Store description was "misleading" and could potentially cause customers to believe that there are viruses on iOS.

Intego filed an appeal and rewrote the App Store description with "obnoxiously" clear wording, and that's when the company learned about a wider crackdown on anti-virus apps. "We were as clear as we could be that this wasn't a scanner, that it was scanning email attachments and cloud files," said Erwin. The company "went up to the executive level" at Apple and described exactly what VirusBarrier does, but Apple was firm on the app not returning to the App Store.

Apple, Erwin says, does not want people to be misled into believing that there are viruses on iOS, a position that he understands. Even with an App Store description that stated VirusBarrier scanned email attachments and cloud files, Intego would still receive negative comments from people who didn't read the description and didn't understand the app's purpose.
I sort of get Apple's point. Even as clear as we were about what our product did, there were still customers who were confused as to why the app was scanning their iPad or iPhone. There are a lot of people who don't have a tech background and don't understand.
Erwin does not believe that Apple was singling VirusBarrier out, as several other anti-virus apps have also been eliminated from the App Store. Instead, he sees it as a wider removal of the category and he doesn't fault Apple for the decision. "It's unfortunate, but I understand Apple's position," he said.

Erwin says that Intego's iOS app was not a big source of revenue for the company, and the loss won't hurt financially, but it was a way to get the Intego name out in the world and connect with customers. People who have previously downloaded the VirusBarrier app will continue to get virus updates, but won't be able to download new versions of the iOS app.

It is not clear when Apple began removing anti-virus apps or how many have been pulled from the App Store, but a search for "anti-virus" today primarily brings up games, privacy apps, and apps for finding lost phones. There are still a couple of apps that advertise virus-detecting capabilities like VirusDetector, but those few remaining apps may be removed from the App Store in the near future.

Article Link: Apple Removes Intego's 'VirusBarrier' From iOS App Store, Says It's Misleading
 

JCrz

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2014
446
1,307
Don't worry. You can only get iOS viruses via NSA and the Chinese government.
 
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PowerBook-G5

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2013
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The United States of America
Reinstate an app, tear one down. Such is the lifecycle of an app in the App Store nowadays (unfortunately).

I'm still not understanding why you would allow a third party view your email attachments and such.

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Don't worry. You can only get iOS viruses via NSA and the Chinese government.
The preferred term is "back door" :D:(:confused:
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,113
2,846
These apps prey on people's fear of "virus" despite the fact that for a rather closed and sandboxed-app system like iOS, it's extremely difficult to be infected by a 'virus' or malware unless there is a security hole in the OS - which Apple will be fixing it quickly by system update.

People are just paying these "Antivirus" software money without the desired protection.
 

hybroid

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2010
180
433
Well this is an instance whereby jailbreaking and cracked ipa's could come in useful for apps that are pulled. Much like getting VLC player when it was taken down for couple years.

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These apps prey on people's fear of "virus" despite the fact that for a rather closed and sandboxed-app system like iOS, it's extremely difficult to be infected by a 'virus' or malware unless there is a security hole in the OS - which Apple will be fixing it quickly by system update.

People are just paying these "Antivirus" software money without the desired protection.
Heh, you're exactly the reason Apple pulled the app. Read the app description. It scans the files to avoid infecting OTHER devices when you forward them, not the iOS device itself.
 

ulyssesric

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2006
206
173
Why ? A Virus scanner is still useful even for iOS. Someone may still send you virus mails and it's possible that you'll forward them to another victim without alert.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,014
i was a fanatic about virus scanners and blockers when i was on windows (i had several running concurrently). once i moved to apple i immediately installed norton on my mac. but to be honest i have chilled quite a bit since then. i have browser extensions that help me with bad websites and fishing, but beyond that i feel better in the mac world. in the iphone/ipad world i go naked. i just dont worry about it. however, if there were safari extensions for ios like woot or adblcoker, i would probably get those.
 

macintologist

macrumors 6502
May 3, 2004
462
542
Thank god, we don't need that crap on iOS or on Macs. Plain and simple, you don't need antivirus on Apple platforms. Period. I've used Macs since 1990 and not once have I ever conceived of the notion of installing antivirus on my Macs.
 

jonblatho

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2014
1,834
4,659
Missouri
i was a fanatic about virus scanners and blockers when i was on windows (i had several running concurrently). once i moved to apple i immediately installed norton on my mac. but to be honest i have chilled quite a bit since then. i have browser extensions that help me with bad websites and fishing, but beyond that i feel better in the mac world. in the iphone/ipad world i go naked. i just dont worry about it. however, if there were safari extensions for ios like woot or adblcoker, i would probably get those.
lol Norton
 

SILen(e

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2012
243
19
Why ? A Virus scanner is still useful even for iOS. Someone may still send you virus mails and it's possible that you'll forward them to another victim without alert.
Most email-providers scan the mail you receive (or send?!) for virus, so there's no need to scan on your device.

Cloud-files are a different problem, could well be that you download a file from someone else's dropbox and put it in your dropbox - but even then would the malicious software most likely be caught by your virus scanner (on Windows, if you're using a Mac most malicious programs won't even run)
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,377
1,139
Charlotte, NC
i was a fanatic about virus scanners and blockers when i was on windows (i had several running concurrently). once i moved to apple i immediately installed norton on my mac. but to be honest i have chilled quite a bit since then. i have browser extensions that help me with bad websites and fishing, but beyond that i feel better in the mac world. in the iphone/ipad world i go naked. i just dont worry about it. however, if there were safari extensions for ios like woot or adblcoker, i would probably get those.
Norton is a waste of space on your Mac. Haven't used an antivirus app since moving to OS X in 2012 and no issues.
 

Kojemica

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2015
56
0
Thank god, we don't need that crap on iOS or on Macs. Plain and simple, you don't need antivirus on Apple platforms. Period. I've used Macs since 1990 and not once have I ever conceived of the notion of installing antivirus on my Macs.
You are doing yourself and all Mac users here a disservice by saying stuff like this. It is widely known in the industry, especially with companies like Sophos and Kaspersky, that there are definitely Mac viruses in the wild that can infect Mac computers that do not have antivirus installed.

Just because you have a Mac does NOT mean you are immune to viruses. It is a very dangerous misconception that you are 100% protected because you use a Mac.

Mac Virus & Malware Threats
http://www.kaspersky.com/internet-security-center/threats/mac

Mac Virus Lets Hackers Control Thousands Of Computers, Through Reddit
http://www.ibtimes.com/mac-virus-lets-hackers-control-thousands-computers-through-reddit-1699227

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/mac-virus/

Apple Vows To Fight Flashback Virus, Mac Users Receive Wake-Up Call:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/apple-flashback-virus_n_1417886.html

Apple Stops Boasting That Macs Are Virus Free
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/mac-virus-apple_n_1625110.html

Security Firm: Microsoft Ahead Of Apple
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/microsoft-security-apple_n_1456073.html

Surprising Number Of Macs Infected With Malware
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/mac-malware_n_1448561.html

Be safe out there, everyone. Don't believe the hype that you're protected just because you use Mac. With Apple's growing marketshare comes the greater possibility that Macs will be targeted. Especially when its a common belief amongst Mac users that they're invincible.
 
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Kojemica

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2015
56
0
I'll bet this will sell to switchers from Android. :D
I doubt it. If you're responsible with your device, whether you're using iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc, you will be fine.

Viruses don't just appear. You usually have to do something careless to get them.
 

639051

Cancelled
Nov 8, 2011
967
1,265
You are doing yourself and all Mac users here a disservice by saying stuff like this. It is widely known in the industry, especially with companies like Sophos and Kaspersky, that there are definitely Mac viruses in the wild that can infect Mac computers that do not have antivirus installed........
Logic and evidence do not belong on the MacRumors forums sir!!! :D

People have claimed forever that there's no viruses for this or that .. apparently mistaking the fact there are very few for none at all. As we know though, people are silly.
 
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Watabou

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,423
750
United States
You are doing yourself and all Mac users here a disservice by saying stuff like this. It is widely known in the industry, especially with companies like Sophos and Kaspersky, that there are definitely Mac viruses in the wild that can infect Mac computers that do not have antivirus installed.

Just because you have a Mac does NOT mean you are immune to viruses. It is a very dangerous misconception that you are 100% protected because you use a Mac.
There are no known viruses for the mac in the wild. Malwares and Trojans, sure. No viruses. All of the links you posted come from huffingtonpost, a website known for clickbait titles. And apparently, they don't seem to know the difference between viruses and malware either. The kapersky website on the otherhand lists malware, no viruses.

Be safe out there, everyone. Don't believe the hype that you're protected just because you use Mac. With Apple's growing marketshare comes the greater possibility that Macs will be targeted. Especially when its a common belief amongst Mac users that they're invincible.
Easily avoided with common sense.

Handy link to read from GGStudios: https://forums.macrumors.com/posts/9400648/
 

bbeagle

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2010
3,406
2,665
Buffalo, NY
Just because you have a Mac does NOT mean you are immune to viruses. It is a very dangerous misconception that you are 100% protected because you use a Mac.
Yes, it does.

There are NO known viruses in OS X or iOS. None of what you linked to are viruses.
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,148
3,192
VirusBarrier didn’t do anything harmful aside from alleged misleading advertising. The fact remains that they and others did provide a legit product with utility to their customers. Sure, your iPhone or iPad may be safe, but you can still transmit potentially malicious programs to other devices, including devices running Windows or Android. If you happen to use your iPad as your only device, especially for work, you will now lose the option to do that additional check, if you care about that. Moreover, instead of educating its users better, Apple chooses to remove these products instead, leaving inexperienced users with the impression that everything they do on their devices is free of malicious code. This isn’t a good thing, in my opinion.
 

MacMan988

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2012
730
64
I've heard that iOS apps runs in a sandbox. If that is true, how does this app scans any file on the device other than the ones created by itself?
 

inkswamp

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
2,759
845
You are doing yourself and all Mac users here a disservice by saying stuff like this. It is widely known in the industry, especially with companies like Sophos and Kaspersky, that there are definitely Mac viruses in the wild that can infect Mac computers that do not have antivirus installed.

Just because you have a Mac does NOT mean you are immune to viruses. It is a very dangerous misconception that you are 100% protected because you use a Mac.
The OP is correct, however. I too have never had anti-virus installed on any of the Macs I've owned, and I've owned Macs since 1994. You may be able to prove that viruses are possible on Macs and iOS (wouldn't argue otherwise) but the reality is that anti-virus software just isn't necessary. The Windows-style viruses (i.e., the ones that compromise the entire system or devastate users' files or hi-jack their machines) don't appear to be easily spread or easily acquired as on Windows.
 

jonblatho

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2014
1,834
4,659
Missouri
Sure, your iPhone or iPad may be safe, but you can still transmit potentially malicious programs to other devices, including devices running Windows or Android.
iPhone: "Cannot open ValentineCard.exe"
User: "Hm, I guess I'll forward it onto everyone!"
 

cotak

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2011
224
0
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
49,764
18,272
A quick search would prove to everyone that iOS is just as vulnerable to viruses as everyone else.

https://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search-results?query=iOS&search_type=last3months&cves=on

Scary.
And yet on all the years iOS has existed and with its popularity there are still none.

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iPhone: "Cannot open ValentineCard.exe"
User: "Hm, I guess I'll forward it onto everyone!"
Not sure that even a virus scanner would help with that type of mentality.
 
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