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Blackberry Cylance's consumer antivirus product won't work with macOS Big Sur until end of January

Only three months after latest OS version released

Blackberry Cylance's consumer antivirus product will not support macOS Big Sur until the end of January – three months after the Apple operating system’s latest version was released.

The iGiant's OS hit version 11 on Friday 13th November, appropriately enough given the chaos that followed, yet despite version 11.1 being released in mid-December, Cylance still hasn't updated its Smart Antivirus product to support it.

This means users of macOS 11.0 or 11.1 must pick between applying operating system upgrades that patch more than 50 security vulnerabilities acknowledged by Apple in previous macOS versions, or having their chosen antivirus product running on their out-of-date machines.

Cylance's competitors all managed to sort themselves out and support the new version of macOS either at launch or in the days afterwards. Sophos had updated its consumer-grade products to support Big Sur by the beginning of December; Avira supported it from the date of Big Sur's release, as did Malwarebytes. AVG also managed to get its act together in November to support Big Sur, which was released in beta back in June at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference.


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Other antivirus vendors were too shy to comment on Cylance's woes but forlorn Redditors looking for hope instead discovered a Cylance support statement dated 25 November, which baldly stated: "If users have Cylance Smart Antivirus installed on devices that are running macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or earlier, they should not upgrade their devices to macOS 11.0 until further notice."

Bitdefender said that its Endpoint Security for Mac product encountered some minor difficulties when Big Sur v11.0 first exited beta, noting: "Specifically, Apple has replaced the previous kernel extensions with system extensions, which run in the user space. Therefore, Bitdefender has switched for Endpoint Security for Mac from kernel extensions to system extensions too."

Blackberry, owners of Cylance, told The Register in a statement: "Apple has introduced major changes with the release of macOS 11.0/11.1 Big Sur. The biggest one being the inability for applications to use 'kernel extensions' or 'kext' when running on Big Sur. We have released an 'Early Adopter' version of BlackBerry Protect for Big Sur to our Enterprise customers. We expect to release a [Cylance Smart Antivirus] version compatible with macOS Big Sur by the end of January."

In this era of ever-evolving cybersecurity threats, offering even a consumer-grade product that won't work with the latest version of an operating system used by millions worldwide isn't a great look. If you're in a SME relying on consumer security software instead of a proper enterprise-grade product, now is a good time to take a look at the potential risks you're running by doing so. ®

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