Antivirus software is “dead”, says Symantec VP

By Graeme Burton
07 May 2014 View Comments
IT issues can be deadly

Antivirus software is increasingly unable to keep up with the fast-changing nature of malware attacks and is, therefore, "dead", according to Brian Dye, senior vice-president for information security at Symantec - a security software company that made its name in antivirus software with Norton Anti-Virus.

According to Dye, antivirus software catches just 45 per cent of malware, enabling an ever-increasing range of PC cyber attacks to go unnoticed.

Further reading

Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Dye indicated that antivirus software is no longer the money-spinner it once was - undermined by the pervasiveness of "free" versions available for home users to download. "We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way," Dye told the WSJ.

The relative decline of antivirus software companies has also been reflected at trade shows such as Infosec, where this year McAfee, Symantec and Kaspersky chose not to attend.

Antivirus software developed in the 1980s when most malware was transferred via floppy disks. In the 1990s, Word macro viruses spread and the rise in popularity of the internet from the mid-1990s didn't just add another attack vector, but also a means of remote control of compromised users' PCs.

While antivirus software has evolved beyond the signature-based detection techniques developed to detect floppy disk and Word macro viruses, companies still struggle to ensure that their software can detect every potential threat "in the wild".

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