It looks like anti-virus apps are going away as Apple tries to prevent customers from believing the iPhone and iPad are vulnerable to viruses and malware. According to a MacRumors report, Intego’s VirusBarrier has been pulled from the App Store as part of that crackdown.
VirusBarrier was designed to prevent iOS devices from acting as a gateway for malware and viruses. The app scans malicious files that might be stored in the cloud or attached to emails. It also detects and quarantines viruses that could be sent on to other devices.
According to Intego CEO Jeff Erwin, “Apple has elected to eliminate the category of anti-virus and anti-malware products from their iOS App Store. As a result of this decision, our product VirusBarrier iOS is no longer available for sale.”
Customers who already own VirusBarrier iOS will continue to receive virus definition updates, but the app itself will no longer be updated.
When Apple first pulled VirusBarrier from the App Store, the company informed Intego that the description for the software was “misleading” and could potentially cause customers to believe that there are viruses on iOS. In response to that, Intego rewrote the App Store description to be “obnoxiously” clear on what VirusBarrier does. According to MacRumors, Intego even followed the executive chain of command at Apple, appealing for the app’s reinstatement, but they were unsuccessful.
Intego has made it clear that they do not feel singled out by this action. Erwin said that Intego was “one of several companies affected by Apple’s decision.” Searching the App Store today for “anti-virus” returns results that are made up mostly of games, privacy apps, and apps for finding lost phones.
This move is somewhat understandable, but it is still a defeat for mobile security. Apple’s concerns that a few customers might be misled into believing their iPhone or iPad can be infected by a virus should not trump keeping other devices safer from infection. Any app that can prevent your iOS device from acting as a gateway for viruses, trojans, and malware is a good security measure, and Apple’s deletion of the category displays a narrow-minded focus that could potentially make it easier for other devices and computers to become infected.