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Apple removes ‘misleading’ anti-virus app from iOS in alleged crackdown

Apple is reportedly shuttering ‘anti-virus’ apps on the iOS App Store, allegedly describing such software as ‘misleading’.

According to anti-virus software company Intego, Apple doesn’t want its users to believe iOS devices are at risk from viruses and malware.

The reports of app culling emerged after Intego’s own security app, dubbed ‘VirusBarrier’, was removed from the App Store.

Intego’s software scanned external files that were stored in the cloud or attached to e-mails in order to detect malicious content.

Although an e-mail attachment can’t directly install a virus on an iOS device, e-mails containing viruses can be passed on through iOS devices. VirusBarrier can help prevent these malicious e-mails being chained on to more users’ systems.

Apple reportedly called VirusBarrier’s App Store description ‘misleading’ and, Intego claims, refused to reinstate the app when the developer reworded the description to make the app’s intent ‘obnoxiously’ clear, as reported by MacRumors.

VirusBarrier’s description currently reads as follows: “Your iOS device can act as a gateway for malware and viruses. Infected attachments can transfer to your computer, or your friends, family, and colleagues.”

It continues: “Intego VirusBarrier iOS offers on-demand scanning for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, so you can catch malicious files and get rid of them before they spread.”

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According to Jeff Erwin, Intego’s CEO, Apple’s wasn’t just targeting VirusBarrier either, but a whole host of smartphone security apps.

Apple has elected to eliminate the category of anti-virus and anti-malware products from their iOS Store,” wrote Erwin.

“To be clear, this wasn’t an action directed specifically at Intego. We were one of several companies affected by Apple’s decision.”

It’s not yet clear yet whether any other apps have actually been removed, or whether Apple really is removing security software apps en masse from its iOS App Store.

We only managed to track down a single virus-scanning app available for download on the App Store when we checked, and that was called VirusDetector. This may still be removed.

We’ve contacted Apple regarding the allegations of anti-virus app culling.

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