Having antivirus is insecure, and it is getting to the point that not having it could be better.
There was a time when it seemed that antivirus was a mandatory part of the computer, at the operating system level. Vendors offered trial periods of the most famous antivirus as if it were a purchase reason, the network was full of comparisons between the best programs, and a new detection technology was introduced every month.
On the other hand, nowadays the antivirus have gone into the background; They are there, but few people talk about them. It feels like there are more important things to worry about than a virus, and that there are safer methods of avoiding attacks than installing a heavy program rather than staying in the background.
Why having an antivirus is insecure
Even those who were once great defenders of antivirus, today flee from these technologies. John McAfee, for example, has repeated on several occasions that we should not install the antivirus that bears his name, and that these programs are dead.
And it is not the only one. Project Zero is a division of experts brought together by Google to find the big Internet security issues, and antivirus is a great source of it. The last controversy occurred at the end of last month, when the project revealed that antivirus developed by Symantec had huge security holes that made them practically useless.
These vulnerabilities, which affect Norton Security, Norton 360 and other company products, have been rated as worst by experts because they don’t require the user to do anything. With the default configuration, attackers could execute code remotely, a code that is capable of accessing the lowest levels of the operating system (since when we install an antivirus we give it all possible permissions so that it can function properly).
Symantec has already fixed these bugs in an update (which must be installed manually in some cases), but the problem is not that. The problem is that when installing software that has access to our entire system, we are installing a gate in our system; It is normally closed, but if it doesn’t fit well or someone comes up with a buck, it can be opened.
So we may be getting to the point where not having an antivirus is safer than having it, because it is giving us false security and we are being little cautious when browsing, downloading files and executing them, because we trust that the antivirus will act if we do something wrong.
Not only traditional antivirus can be dangerous. Products like AVG, Kaspersky and BitDefender modify the configuration of our web browsers so that we use their functionalities instead of those included by default in Chrome, Firefox and other programs, such as the one that checks if a website is secure or if the file we download is legit.
Antiviruses have not adapted to today’s threats
The author of a recent study on these programs says he was surprised at how bad they were, and that some of them weren’t even safe in any sense of the word.
Another important point is that the threats we suffered on the Internet are very different from what they were five years ago, for example. The security firm eSentire goes on to affirm that today’s antivirus they are only able to protect us against 10% of the current tactics of the attackers on the network, while there was a time when that figure reached 80-90%.
So, should you say goodbye to your antivirus once and for all? It is difficult to say for sure, since it depends on each user; If you only use the computer to navigate and little else, you probably do not need it if you follow the customs that everyone should follow (do not execute anything that you do not know what it is, do not give your information to anyone), but if you have a business it may you are interested in keeping the license.