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Apple Will Not Confirm or Deny Malware Infection

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 102 comments

AppleCare isn't allow to care.

Macs have a reputation for being safer compared to PCs when it comes to viruses and other malware. Much of that had to do with security by obscurity, as hackers would target the much bigger pool of PCs. With the continued growth and popularity of Macs, though, it may be due time for Apple's system to be under attack.

Ed Bott, a blogger for ZDNet, posted an interview between himself and an unnamed AppleCare worker. The source said that AppleCare call centers are now getting bombarded with calls from customers who have been tricked into installing malware called Mac Defender and Apple Security, among others.

"Before this started happening, we had 7-12 minutes between calls generally. Now we’re lucky to have any time between calls," said the source. "We started getting a trickle of calls a couple weeks ago. However, this last week over 50% of our calls have been about it. In two days last week I personally took 60 calls that referred to Mac Defender."

Something that most Mac owners may not know about is that the AppleCare terms of service state that Apple does not help with malware removal.

"Our notice for Mac Defender is that we’re not supposed to help customers remove malware from their computer," the source explained. "The reason for the rule, they say, is that even though Mac Defender is easy to remove, we can’t set the expectation to customers that we will be able to remove all malware in the future. That’s what antivirus is for."

Despite the clear rules, the source said that "most" AppleCare workers still offer help in removing malware simply because the people on the other end of the line are desperate for help.

Bott also obtained an Apple internal bulletin saying that Apple employees must refrain from confirm or deny whether or not a user's Mac has been infected. Apple employees also cannot make specific recommendations on security software, but instead should direct them to the Apple Online Store or the Mac App Store for antivirus.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2011 2:31 PM
    DON'T HELP THOSE POOR INFECTED FOOLS, WHO WERE TRICKED INTO BELEVING THEY WERE INVULNERABLE TO VIRUSES BY HAVING MAC, JUST TELL THEM TO BUY MORE OF OUR PRODUCTS.

    Jesus... Apple, you really have NO concern for your consumers outside of taking their money - do you?
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2011 2:34 PM
    Wow.

    Apple doesn't give a **** about their consumers. Don't help them remove their virus, just keep them in the dark and tell them to buy more products.

    Supporting Apple is supporting this kind of management and control.
  • 14 Hide
    lordravage , May 20, 2011 2:19 PM
    It's not the malware itself that bothers me. Yes, people make devious software and it's bad. It's the way Apple tries to handle things by keeping it quiet and avoiding the issue. I wish they would confront it head on, publicly denounce Mac Defender so that people are aware of the malware, and have a plan for removing bad software like any other repair shop. I know Apple would like to only deal with 1st party software, it's much easier and you can train your 'geniuses' in a simple by-the-book fashion. But as macs start getting more market share they'll start getting more 3rd party problems.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    rantoc , May 20, 2011 2:14 PM
    Blasphemy! Green fruit products are immune to everything including stupid users! /end sarcasm!
  • 14 Hide
    lordravage , May 20, 2011 2:19 PM
    It's not the malware itself that bothers me. Yes, people make devious software and it's bad. It's the way Apple tries to handle things by keeping it quiet and avoiding the issue. I wish they would confront it head on, publicly denounce Mac Defender so that people are aware of the malware, and have a plan for removing bad software like any other repair shop. I know Apple would like to only deal with 1st party software, it's much easier and you can train your 'geniuses' in a simple by-the-book fashion. But as macs start getting more market share they'll start getting more 3rd party problems.
  • 12 Hide
    slayer10000 , May 20, 2011 2:21 PM
    all i can say is ha ha ha
  • 12 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , May 20, 2011 2:25 PM
    Good! Maybe that will end the commmon BS belief that "there're no viruses on Mac".
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2011 2:31 PM
    DON'T HELP THOSE POOR INFECTED FOOLS, WHO WERE TRICKED INTO BELEVING THEY WERE INVULNERABLE TO VIRUSES BY HAVING MAC, JUST TELL THEM TO BUY MORE OF OUR PRODUCTS.

    Jesus... Apple, you really have NO concern for your consumers outside of taking their money - do you?
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2011 2:34 PM
    Wow.

    Apple doesn't give a **** about their consumers. Don't help them remove their virus, just keep them in the dark and tell them to buy more products.

    Supporting Apple is supporting this kind of management and control.
  • 2 Hide
    pale paladin , May 20, 2011 2:34 PM
    hmm I think this might start the decline of Apple poopooo. I sure hope so.
    I love my Mac when I'm using my Win 7 VM inside Virtual Box.
  • -8 Hide
    randomizer , May 20, 2011 2:40 PM
    Imperade12Don't help them remove their virus

    Has Microsoft, Dell or HP ever "officially" helped a customer remove a virus? Do you ask Western Digital or Seagate for help in removing the nasties on the hard drive that they sold you? This is outside of the scope of vendor support. End user tech support is meant to deal with this (you know, Geek Squad). Apple's response to this malware is simply in line with their support policy, which in this case is much the same as any other vendor's policy.
  • 4 Hide
    Yuka , May 20, 2011 2:41 PM
    It's part of the experience... The ignorant experience, lol.

    Cheers!
  • 2 Hide
    nekatreven , May 20, 2011 2:50 PM
    randomizerHas Microsoft, Dell or HP ever "officially" helped a customer remove a virus? Do you ask Western Digital or Seagate for help in removing the nasties on the hard drive that they sold you? This is outside of the scope of vendor support. End user tech support is meant to deal with this (you know, Geek Squad). Apple's response to this malware is simply in line with their support policy, which in this case is much the same as any other vendor's policy.


    Read the second half of the article's link to the Apple bulletin, and find out. :) 

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/apple-to-support-reps-do-not-attempt-to-remove-malware/3362
  • 10 Hide
    rantoc , May 20, 2011 2:56 PM
    randomizerHas Microsoft, Dell or HP ever "officially" helped a customer remove a virus? Do you ask Western Digital or Seagate for help in removing the nasties on the hard drive that they sold you? This is outside of the scope of vendor support. End user tech support is meant to deal with this (you know, Geek Squad). Apple's response to this malware is simply in line with their support policy, which in this case is much the same as any other vendor's policy.


    Well Microsoft sure helps against most malware with their Security Essentials that by the way is free, thats customer care. They also don't try to pretend their os is impervious to attacks by keeping silent when a new threat surfaces.

    Keeping silent and bury the head in the sand while the users is in the miss conception that the os is safe is not the way to "support" the user base during a wave of malware. A company that cared about its users would handle it differently!
  • 4 Hide
    milktea , May 20, 2011 2:58 PM
    Sounds like there's going to be openings for Tech Support jobs at Apple... anyone interested? :D 
  • 8 Hide
    gnesterenko , May 20, 2011 2:59 PM
    LOLOLOLOL

    THis is beautiful. WE've been saying for years that this is EXACTLY what will happen - no immunity in the population = rampant spread of infection. And lo and behold, it happened exactly how everyone with a brain bredicted it would. Apple is a joke. /pity for Apple zealots.

    Posting from work, so need this disclaimer:
    "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."
  • 7 Hide
    zkevwlu , May 20, 2011 3:00 PM
    randomizerHas Microsoft, Dell or HP ever "officially" helped a customer remove a virus? Do you ask Western Digital or Seagate for help in removing the nasties on the hard drive that they sold you? This is outside of the scope of vendor support. End user tech support is meant to deal with this (you know, Geek Squad). Apple's response to this malware is simply in line with their support policy, which in this case is much the same as any other vendor's policy.


    Microsoft has its own 1-800 hotline dedicated to Malware removal, and the memo specifically told tech support to not redirect customers to Apple Retail (AKA The "Geniuses").
  • 8 Hide
    jaghpanther , May 20, 2011 3:01 PM
    rantocWell Microsoft sure helps against most malware with their Security Essentials that by the way is free, thats customer care. They also don't try to pretend their os is impervious to attacks by keeping silent when a new threat surfaces.Keeping silent and bury the head in the sand while the users is in the miss conception that the os is safe is not the way to "support" the user base during a wave of malware. A company that cared about its users would handle it differently!


    That, plus my wife clicked on something she shouldn't have with her Dell, and called customer support. They took remote control of the desktop and removed offending mal-ware, and then recommended several free versions of anit-virus, as the Mcaffee license had expired.
  • 8 Hide
    Netherscourge , May 20, 2011 3:02 PM
    What is the requirement for Tech Support at an AppleCare phone bank?

    "Try rebooting your Mac. If that doesn't work, format/reinstall your MacOS and don't be a dumbass next time. While we have you on the line, would you like to buy an iPhone?"

    Did I miss anything?
  • -2 Hide
    scuba dave , May 20, 2011 3:08 PM
    "The reason for the rule, they say, is that even though Mac Defender is easy to remove, we can’t set the expectation to customers that we will be able to remove all malware in the future. That’s what antivirus is for."

    Well said. :) 
  • -1 Hide
    wcooper007 , May 20, 2011 3:22 PM
    randomizerHas Microsoft, Dell or HP ever "officially" helped a customer remove a virus? Do you ask Western Digital or Seagate for help in removing the nasties on the hard drive that they sold you? This is outside of the scope of vendor support. End user tech support is meant to deal with this (you know, Geek Squad). Apple's response to this malware is simply in line with their support policy, which in this case is much the same as any other vendor's policy.



    You are correct sir the only problem is that Apple Doesnt really have software avail. to combat this type of attack becuase there denying that its possible still.. ohh and to actually be able to fix apple product you have to be certified to work on apples.. which means you have to follow there policies and procedures.. And FYI you can pay dell or any major computer vendor to assist you with removing a virus or malware apple on the other hand is not even offering any support so how is that even close to the same
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , May 20, 2011 3:48 PM
    rofl, the south park episode with the human centipad, and the genius's tripping out comes to mind here...
  • 5 Hide
    balister , May 20, 2011 3:51 PM
    There's probably a good reason why Apple is denying this and they involve two little words:

    False Advertising

    which would then lead to potentially 3 more little words;

    Class Action Lawsuit
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