Antivirus is Dead

Antivirus is Dead

Antivirus is DeadBrian Dye from Symantec wrote an OpEd piece for the Wall Street Journal declaring that antivirus is dead. The funny thing about this  “declaration’ is that it is not new information, at least it isn’t new to those of us who have been in the information technology field for some time. For those of you who are not in the IT field, let’s take a few minutes to bring you up to speed on how things work, and why your antivirus isn’t protecting you very much.

Back when the Internet was something most considered AOL or Compuserve, viruses were just starting out and those who wrote viruses were few and far between. Now, you have specialized coding that can attack your software, hardware, the keystrokes you type, the data your store and just about anything else you can think of. The ability to see into your life and your work has become something akin to the old peeping tom days of just peering through the windows into your home.

If you want to be fully protected you have to think in terms of layers, much like staying warm on a cold night. No one thing is the perfect answer, and in protecting your computer is no different. You need a solid firewall, you need antivirus and a good live scanner that monitors your web surfing in real time. If you’re at work, you most likely have all of that stuff on your network already (unless it’s a small company and maybe you don’t have all that stuff) but when you’re at home, you are at your most vulnerable. Companies like Symantec are building new tools to monitor threats in real time (as referenced in the article I mentioned at the beginning of this article) and then there is Fireeye.

Once you have all of that good software and hardware at your disposal, there is still one more thing that is absolutely required: Common sense and a little bit of education. You need to learn how to identify email that should be avoided, you need to learn how to read links before you click on them so they don’t take you to fake websites (called Phishing) that are designed to look like legitimate sites that do nothing but steal some sort of information from you. Without the proper education and understanding about what you are actually doing on the Internet, all the other software and hardware is only slowing down the attacks, and the question of IF and WHEN becomes simply WHEN.

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