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

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.

integovirusbarrier
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.

Top Rated Comments

haruhiko Avatar
83 months ago
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.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JCrz Avatar
83 months ago
Don't worry. You can only get iOS viruses via NSA and the Chinese government.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kojemica Avatar
83 months ago
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.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macintologist Avatar
83 months ago
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.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Watabou Avatar
83 months ago
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/showpost.php?p=9400648&postcount=4
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
639051 Avatar
83 months ago
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.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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