back to article iPad anti-virus shield guards against phantom threat

Mac security specialist Intego has begun offering the first antivirus scanner capable of inspecting Apple's much-hyped iPad, despite the questionable need for security scans on the device. The iPad, which Apple began selling in the US last weekend, runs on the same operating system as the iPhone. Only jailbroken iPhones with …


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  1. Colin Hillier


    I look forward to all the complaints if they ever allow stuff like this to work in the background.

    "Why's my iPad half as fast and only got 3 hour battery life?"

  2. James O'Shea

    They're insane

    Exactly why should anyone cough up 60 real euros for 'protection' from something that does not exist? Even assuming that someday there may be something to defend against, why should anyone feel that these idiots will be in a position to offer any protection whatsoever against a threat they, by definition, know nothing about _because it's not bloody real yet_?! Why should anyone feel that these idiots will even still be in business? And, given that ClamXav is available for Mac OS X ( and is _free_, and almost certainly will be ported to iPad, why should anyone cough up so much as a _penny_?! (No, I don't have ClamXav on my Macs; there's no current actual threat which would justify using it. I do know where to get it should an actual real threat arrive, though...)

    Feh. Anyone who actually buys that product is probably also in the market for some nice ocean-front property in Zimbabwe. Bobby Mugabe just _loves_ white boys, really he does. Going cheap.

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    could be useful

    i see this as potentially useful...

    1) as they say, it can catch malware when it is released.

    2) if it scans word files etc., they could have macro viruses. These are unlikely to affect the ipad, but it's nice to be able to tell a colleague "hey your box is pwned". Back in the day i caught SEVERAL that way (caught "dormant" macro viruses on macs from coleagues with pcs)

    3) as for multitasking... A) damn jobs that is stupid. B) they could release a scanner to be manually run on the istuff.

    1. /etc

      Try "can't" rather

      "2) if it scans word files etc., they could have macro viruses. These are unlikely to affect the ipad ..."


      Try "can't" rather. Those are written in Visual Basic, aren't they? How is the IPad going to run Visual Basic scripts?

      There's *some* support, courtesy Apple themselves, on the device for reading Office documents. However, Microsoft hasn't yet ported Office to any version of OS X other than the Mac version. If MS did write a version for iPad, it'd have to be totally re-written, since the current codebase uses the obsolete (and 32-bit only) "Carbon" toolkit, and the iPad is Cocoa-only.

      That's a *vast* codebase so a re-write is unlikely to happen soon, if ever. It would be a mammoth task. And, if MS did re-write it, one assumes they've have to skip macro support, since they'd need to include the VB runtime, and Apple's rules forbid third-party runtimes on the device.

      No, no danger from MS Office macros.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Volcano Insurance

    The Intego spokesperson basically said:

    "We acknowledge that our product is not yet necessary, and is likely to never be necessary for the majority of users, but please be scared enough by some as yet unknown and non-existent threat to give us your money"

  5. Doug

    infected with malware ?

    > Only jailbroken iPhones with default passwords have ever been infected with malware and even then only by a handful of high-profile worms, such as the Rickrolling worm in Australia and the D'oh bank credential stealing worm in the Netherlands, which both spread last November ..

    Like, how did the Rickrolling and D'oh worms get onto the machines without using jailbroken iPhones and default passwords, and without any user action ?

  6. The Unexpected Bill

    Anti-Virus for Apple Products

    They'll be ready when (if?) the threat materializes? That I very much doubt. Anti-virus vendors are usually found playing catch-up on a good day.

    And that's to say nothing of the (unspoken?) rule stipulating that all anti-virus software for use with Apple products must be miserable. Say what you will about there being a low threat level for Apple products, the reality is that some people insist (pronounced "require") you to use it.

    Symantec's own Apple-specific offerings aren't too bad if you don't mind the fact that their implementation of LiveUpdate is a miserable joke. The first versions didn't schedule themselves to run no matter what user was logged into the system, failed for no apparent reason and put up this modal window that kept reappearing even after you hid it. The later versions got better about that, but still have mysterious failures. And they still insist on downloading these huge (50+ megabyte) definition files, which doesn't fly well on a limited bandwidth connection. Oh, and LiveUpdate for Mac is still written largely in Java.

    I just love the way NAV11 for Macintosh tags any file it can't understand, hasn't got the permission to read/examine or doesn't like as being infected with a "virus". This causes a great deal of alarm for the users the first time they see it. Would it really have been THAT HARD to report the situation using the correct terminology?

    (I've no idea why this is. I've had a direct discussion or two with the NAV for Mac product lead engineer and he seemed like a very approachable, competent and reasonable sort of person.)

    Don't get me started on Intego. I looked into their products not all that long ago because I really thought they'd be better. Wishful thinking, that. Although I hate the expression, Virus Barrier for Mac OS X was an even bigger helping of FAIL than was Norton Anti-Virus for Mac. The demonstration version didn't even work properly, demanding information that was impossible to provide (a serial number and registration) before it would update itself.

    Avast! had been working on a product and it sure looked like a strong start to me. But even it some truly annoying behaviors and half-baked aspects of design. I may yet come back to it in hopes that it will be what the other products are not.

  7. ThomH

    Best argument against multitasking?

    Software gets slower more quickly than hardware gets faster, but antivirus software actually gets slower exponentially faster. The ability of antivirus makers to sell device-hogging software full of thousands of useless bloated features that ruins the user experience is 90% of the reason that end users often find Windows to be a bit rubbish in my experience.

  8. Studley

    sounds to me... a company wants an excuse to get its hands on an iPad.

    Next up: better check that we can run virus protection for a Lamborghini Murciélago, folks!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Ummm what?

    Hundreds of malware strains are capable of affecting Macs are they? lol

    Yeah RIGHT! Maybe in the Intego labs. Not in the wild.

    Mac OS X remains virus-free. 9 years and counting.

    Daylight robbery and a disgusting way to peddle crapware to unsuspecting Windows-sufferers for whom AV software is the norm.

    What load of complete and utter CRAP this is.


    1. Blain Hamon

      Malware, not virus

      There are known malware strains, but you really have to search for them, and they're quite unsuccessful. Note the use of the term malware, not virus. This covers things like trojan horses, like the malware that claimed to be a video codec, or modified cracked versions of iWork floating about on p2p a while back. Yeah, it's a lame stretch and a little sensationalistic, but technically correct.

      The nice thing is that they're not claiming to need the iPhone to be blown open like F-secure was. Instead, they did it in a way that if/when iPhone OS does need virus checking, is the right way to go: Offload the scan to the desktop computer, one that doesn't have sandboxing but won't run iPhone binaries and does have the RAM/CPU to search, and even has access to backups and the means to ghost the iPhone completely to a known good sate.

  10. joe_bruin

    virus company scams

    "Intego acknowledges there is no iPad malware to defend against as yet"

    Doesn't Intego VirusBarrier X6 then qualify as the first piece of iPad malware?

  11. Ivan Headache

    "Much hyped iPad"

    Is this just a self-congratulatory pat on the back?

    I don't regard the iPad as being much huped - except by The Register. Which seems to have gone out of its way to make sure that there is at least one iPad story every day since the thing was announced.

    Other press coverage has been relatively sparse since the initial announcement.

    I notice you don't say "Google's much hyped Android"

    Is that because if it wasn't for El Reg I woudn't actually know that it existed?

  12. magnetik

    Volcano insurance

    Are you up to date with your volcano insurance? Sure, it's not a real threat know but you never know ...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Thankfully They Can't Run It Live

    Virsu scanners are such a drain on resources that the cure is as bad as the disease.

  14. NightFox


    Am I the only one desperately waiting for an AV product for my microwave oven? Sure, there's no viruses out there at the moment, but I just want to be prepared...

  15. Toastan Buttar

    Re: They're insane

    This is a geek news site. We are not yer average consumer.

    "Everyone knows" you need AV products for every piece of computer gear you own. Intego WILL make some money out of this scam.

    Hell, I've been using Windows XP for the last three years without any AV product and I remain malware-free to this day.

  16. Wize

    @AC 20:44

    "Hundreds of malware strains are capable of affecting Macs are they? lol

    Yeah RIGHT! Maybe in the Intego labs. Not in the wild."

    Ah, so they do exist. It is possible that code might either be 'borrowed' from there or someone else finds the same security holes and exploits them.

    I don't like virus writers. They are scum. But part of me is willing them on in this exception. Pride coming before a fall and all that. It will help lower the smugness level round here.

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