R.I.P. traditional anti-virus software

BY Ellen Rolfes  May 6, 2014 at 6:08 PM EDT
Photo by William Hartz/Flickr

Photo by William Hartz/Flickr

Updated | 11:30 p.m. EDT: Anti-virus software has not evolved along with hackers’ abilities to attack — so much so that some are ready to read the computer programs their last rites.

A report published on Monday by RedSocks, a Netherlands-based company that specializes in malware detection, found that more than 25 percent of all malicious files went undetected by anti-virus software in January, February and March of 2014.

“Protecting your data from Internet-based threats is not an easy task —- and relying on protection from Anti-Virus companies, no matter how established their brand, is simply not enough,” the report stated.

IT security company Symantec’s senior vice president Brian Dye told the Wall Street Journal that the software is essentially obsolete because it still leaves many software users vulnerable.

Dye said that anti-virus programs let through about 55 percent of attacks.

Symantec invented commercial antivirus software in the 1980s and now sells Norton Antivirus. It depends on anti-virus sales for 40 percent of its revenue. Now, according to The Guardian’s reports, the company plans to shift its strategy from developing products that “protect” to products that “detect and respond,” preventing data loss after a hacker launches a cyberattack.

Here is an official statement from Symantec:

“The era of AV-only is over. Companies need comprehensive attack prevention that integrates the full range of security technologies. Symantec led the first era of security with antivirus, and it continues to be an important part of our portfolio. Combined with intelligence and other technologies we are pioneering, we can solve larger customer problems that point based competitors simply cannot do.”