Anti Virus is dead, right?

AV (or anti malware as we all insist on calling it now) is hardly the sexy end of the security market place. It is the bread and butter of our world, and much like bread and butter, you can buy it in Lidl and you can buy it in Waitrose, but it’s still just the bit around the bacon in a bacon sandwich.  And I don’t quite know where my analogy is going here, because now all I can thinkof is the smell of bacon…

 Anyway.  You get my point.

 Yet year after year, various vendors stand up and announce the imminent demise of the AV industry and AV as a technology.  I’ll put money on the fact that someone did it at InfoSec this year.  And every year, we all roll our eyes and smile because each time someone has a different reason as to why (although it usually reeks of ‘PR stunt’). Software vendors expand their offering by buying other companies and inventing new stuff, but the AV bit of their business remains rock solid.


Even so when there is a major hit, it’s a real shocker.  The one that caught my eye recently was in the Washington Post–and-upsides/2012/04/08/gIQAvpAY5S_story.html?tid=pm_pop about a US Government agency that got knocked out.  They took the network offline 18 weeks ago and it’s only now just staggered back into life.


The actual article has as its key theme the fact that this enforced network downtime is driving human contact between staff and clients, and this appears to be something that everyone is enjoying, despite the fact the actual business of the Agency is grinding slower and slower.  This is an interesting theme and one that is preaching to one of my pet hates, people emailing me from two desks down.  However, buried in the middle of the article is the fact that they are rebuilding the network from scratch  The quaint and curious idea of actually talking to people is a lovely rose tinted ideal, but the lack of productivity tools is going to strangle the operation eventually, sending costs sky high.


So in the last 12 months, I’ve noted at least 3 very silly software vendors saying that AV is dead, and their widget with its new, next gen, 100% uptime, intuitive GUI thing renders AV obsolete.  And my response, is really?  Honestly really really?  Nope, thought not.  It’s not sexy, it’s not cool, and today’s threats demand additional tools but AV is still important, and you dismiss it at your peril. 


About Graeme Stewart, McAfee

I work for McAfee as Director of Public Sector Strategy and Relations, UK&I
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