‘Antivirus is dead’, says Symantec boss

Security

by Michael Moore| 07 May 2014

Threat landscape has evolved past just protection, says Norton producer.

One of the major players in the online security market no longer sees antivirus software as relevant, according to one of its senior executives.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Brian Dye, senior vice president for information security at Symantec, the creator of the famous Norton brand, stated that antivirus "is dead", estimating that such systems catch only around 45% of cyber attacks.

"We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way," Dye continued, adding that he was now looking to 'reinvent' the company in order to keep up with the ever-changing and evolving security market.

Dye, who has been with Symantec for over a decade, admitted it was tough to see the security market become more crowded, with others surging ahead.

"It's one thing to sit there and get frustrated," he says. "It's another thing to act on it, go get your act together and go play the game you should have been playing in the first place."

As part of this reinvention, Symantec, which fired its CEO, Steve Bennett, in March (the second such move in two years), is looking to create its own response team to help hacked businesses. It will also look to provide intelligence briefings on specific threats, so that clients can learn why they are being targeted.

Despite his bold proclamation Dye said that the company had no plans to abandon Norton, which he believes has evolved past simply antivirus detection.

However, the company will look to find revenue growth in its new product lines, as antivirus and other products that run on individual devices still account for more than 40% of the company's revenue.

"If customers are shifting from protect to detect and respond, the growth is going to come from detect and respond," he said.

Going forward, Symantec is also looking at developing technology to scan for more-advanced malicious software inside a network that mimics offerings from its rivals.

Famed hacker Kevin Mitnick slammed antivirus at last year's IP Expo, saying "the only thing McAfee's good at is making videos these days.".

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