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Symantec Exec Warns Against Relying On Free Antivirus

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the totally-unbiased-no-really dept.

Security 459

thefickler writes "Clearly, the rise of free antivirus is starting to worry Symantec, with one of their top executives warning consumers not to rely on free antivirus software (including Microsoft's Security Essentials). 'If you are only relying on free antivirus to offer you protection in this modern age, you are not getting the protection you need to be able to stay clean and have a reasonable chance of avoiding identity theft,' said David Hall, a Product Manager for Symantec. According to Hall, there is a widening gap between people's understanding of what protection they need and the threats they're actually facing."

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McAfee false-positive glitch fells PCs worldwide (5, Informative)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579635)

"IT admins across the globe are letting out a collective groan after servers and PCs running McAfee VirusScan were brought down when the anti-virus program [theregister.co.uk] attack their core system files. In some cases, this caused the machines to display the dreaded blue screen of death"

Don't Worry (0, Offtopic)

stupidflanders (1230894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579967)

Captain Hammer will save us.

Symantec is saying this? (5, Insightful)

Raindance (680694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579639)

If there were any high-quality for-pay alternatives, I'd say he might have a point.

Unfortunately, most antivirus software sucks, with Symantec more or less epitomizing how good ideas on paper can turn into terrible/buggy/bloated security software that actually increases your exposure [msn.com] since it adds another node malicious code can attack. Symantec's argument-from-assertion notwithstanding, there doesn't seem to be any correlation between antivirus software being for-pay and higher quality.

From my experience, there's really bad antivirus software (such as Norton, which I have zero confidence in and would never let touch my machine), and slightly less bad antivirus software. What went wrong? Why does this industry suck so badly? Anyone have any insight?

Re:Symantec is saying this? (5, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579707)

Personally I have a lot of respect for ESET's AV (specifically NOD32) because it's fast and does the job.

But since they don't target consumers so aggressively (unlike Symantec with Norton, who manage to get difficult-to-remove trial version on tons of laptops at the point of sale) they don't exactly have a very big following. In fact, outside of business and tech circles, I assume they're completely unknown. So I suppose what went wrong, is that AV companies had to dump ethics to get well known. The decent ones who respect the end user and state of the machine (as opposed to "sticky" trial software and the like) end up at the bottom of the barrel. The industry is "upside down"

Re:Symantec is saying this? (2, Informative)

Cylix (55374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579791)

I wouldn't count E-SET out so quickly.

They are priced competitively and have boxed software available at Best Buy and a few other retail outlets. I don't believe I have ever seen them at wally world unfortunately.

I think they really shine in multi-installation licensing and I'm not sure if any other vendors are really discounting heavily in that area.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (4, Interesting)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579841)

Different on different markets I guess. Here in Sweden I see TV-commercials for NOD32 all the time. Assuming you're from the US, I guess they might be focusing on the EU market?

Re:Symantec is saying this? (3, Interesting)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579917)

+1 for NOD32.
Best combo of fast and accurate out there.
I will say that turning off "scan on write" on older computers in any virus engine often gives a great speed boost, NOD32 included. I have found that speed/security tradeoff to be worth it, as files are still scanned on read, and on scheduled full scans.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579989)

Erh... sorry, but Nod's detection rate is not up to speed. At least it was in January, could have changed by now (that biz changes FAST), but at my last test I wasn't really impressed. Their "current threat" detection rate was quite ok (no +++ title, but a fair lot above average), but their heuristics need some work, when subjected to variants of the malware it knows (which is the bulk of "before update" attacks, few trojans are new, most are just a wee bit different than what attacked you last week) they didn't really perform too well.

But they sure are fast and have a pretty small memory footprint. I use it on my gaming machine, but I wouldn't use it in production.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (5, Insightful)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579723)

I agree that most for-pay software sucks in this regard, just look at any corporate network. Most computers have terrible performance and still wind up spreading worms and viruses.

I think the key here is that the company is telling us we need his product. In other news, a consultant came to the conclusion that we need more consulting, GM told me I need a new car, and McDonald's told me I need a McBurger. No shit, a company telling me I need their products? Nothing to see here, move along, look for an unbiased neutral party.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (4, Interesting)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579849)

look for an unbiased neutral party.

Unfortunately, these have become hard to find in our pay to play economy. And being able to tell who is a good unbiased source of information is a monumental challenge. So far, the only thing that seems to be for sure is that the louder and more often someone says that they are unbiased and neutral the less they are. I would throw out some names and advertising slogans but, I'm not wearing my flame-proof underwear (AC).

Re:Symantec is saying this? (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580011)

Virus Bulletin [virusbtn.com] unbiased enough?

Dunno if they have a more recent test, that's the one I had bookmarked. I get about the same results in my tests, btw.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (4, Informative)

Angeliqe (1390757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579839)

I work for technical support for a telephone company ISP. One of my trouble shooting steps (of course when the modem is up and signal good) is to uninstall Norton if system restore does not work. That often fixes the problem. I'm sure there is a use for it out there, but why would you allow a simple home user to disable their internet connection and NOT be able to enable it without uninstalling the program?

Re:Symantec is saying this? (0)

DarkHorseman (1150085) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579843)

Actually, I've been using Norton IS 2009, and they have made great improvements on getting rid of bugs and really brought the size down. They also keep less of a draw on system resources, and it's been very effective at removing a lot of infections, some big, some small. The best thing it does is watch what comes in to stop a virus before it is renamed by the browser after downloading. I have noticed a huge difference in how my mom's computer handles virii with a free copy of AVG or something, and how my computer handles virii. I think that the problem with the industry is people expect these AntiVirus programs to protect them wholly, where in fact, it takes some initiative on the user side to know when something is a scam, or a virus, or complete malware. When these expectations aren't met, it gets a bad name, and it all just goes downhill from there.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579869)

Viri.

The plural of radius is radii because it already has an i. The plural of the -us is -i, not -ii.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (4, Funny)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579877)

WTF man. You actually get viruses often enough on your personal system and your mom's system that you can draw comparisons?

I think you are doing something horribly wrong. I haven't had a virus in 15 years or so.

Re:Symantec is saying this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28580015)

That you know of.

I don't even use antivirus... (3, Informative)

Bourdain (683477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579645)

except the one at www.virustotal.com when on rare occasion I encounter a suspicious file

Re:I don't even use antivirus... (2, Informative)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579809)

You mean the 39+ at virustotal.com when you encounter a suspicious file....

Predictable much? (5, Insightful)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579653)

Of course they say that. They are in the business of scaring people into buying their crap so they think they are safe -- when in actuality their vict^Wcostumers get pwned by exploitable holes in IE anydangway.

Re:Predictable much? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579781)

Exactly, they'd say exactly the same even if Microsoft's solution was wonderful and Symantec was left selling rocks to keep tigers away. I think it's a smart move by Microsoft in crunch times, it's lowering the cost of using the platform without lowering the income of Microsoft. Also, analyzing viruses gives them lots of information on bugs they ought to sort out and patch in the source software anyway. By baking it into the cost of Windows they're basicly giving themselves free market share, and there's no real teeth to antitrust.

Re:Predictable much? (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579865)

Symantec Exec Warns Against Relying On Free Antivirus

And Sony exec says all the movies on TPB are horrible quality. Ubisoft claims playing cracked games can cause skin rashes and your nuts to fall off.

Re:Predictable much? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580027)

Well, your nuts don't fall off but you get impotent. I got proof... erh... I mean, I heard it from a friend who plays cracked games...

Re:Predictable much? (1)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579871)

Why not? It's been working for McAfee for 20 years now. I mean, the amount of fearmongering that the antivirus industry has perpetrated is staggering. True, they do it because it works--- Look at how the Freedom Act got passed after the 9/11 and terrorism fearmongering. If you make people afraid, and offer them a solution, many will meekly follow.

Re:Predictable much? (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579915)

And you just hit right on the head the biggest security measure you can do-get them off IE! I have found by getting them off IE, either with FF, Seamonkey(the older folks seem to prefer its Netscape style layout to FF), Kmeleon(for older machines) or Flock(for those into social networking) the rate of infection goes WAY down with my users.

The second biggest security advice I can give is don't make your users think. I have Comodo [comodo.com] set to auto scan nightly based on their usage patterns, Spybot set to do the same, Foxit [foxitsoftware.com] does its own updates, Windows set to autoupdate, etc. I have found that by relying on the user as little as possible it helps to keep the system up to date and less of a target. Relying on the user is how so many end up with a four year old out of date Symantec "product" as the only AV on a users machine.

But I personally think it is funny that the head of Symantec is warning about free AVs, when oftentimes his "product" will drag a machine to its knees worse than any malware infection! When I hand the customer a box that previously had Symantec their machine with something like Comodo installed the first thing they comment on is how much faster their machine is, which is kinda sad, as once upon a time (during the days of DOS and Win9X) Norton was a sign of quality. But like most things Symantec touches Norton turned to crap. BTW, is there any product the Symantec bought that hasn't turned to crap?

Re:Predictable much? (2, Informative)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580017)

Unfortunately, your post is terribly worded. There haven't been as many holes in IE over the years as some other browsers.

FF3.5: 0, currently (it just came out 2 days ago)
FF3.0: http://secunia.com/advisories/product/19089/ 81 vulnerabilities
FF2.0: http://secunia.com/advisories/product/12434/ 154 vulnerabilities
IE6: http://secunia.com/advisories/product/11/ 154 vulnerabilities
IE7: http://secunia.com/advisories/product/12366/ 84 vulnerabilities
IE8: http://secunia.com/advisories/product/21625/ 8 vulnerabilities

It's clear that IE and FF have the same general history with vulnerabilities, with the earlier products being much less safer than the newer products. Combine IE7/8 with Vista's UAC Protected Mode and you have further protection against system destruction due to a vulnerability.

Antivirus-free for 15 years (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579661)

Free of free antivirus, paid antivirus and viruses, because I want my computer's CPU to do something useful.

In other news (5, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579671)

Microsoft warns against free operating systems. "They're so inferior! Look at ours, it runs the London Stock Exchange...oh wait."

--
BMO

Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (5, Insightful)

rbochan (827946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579681)

If Symantec's "security" security programs were worth a damn, the "free" products wouldn't stand a chance. So far, that hasn't been the case eh?

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579713)

I disagree as even if they were good, there are still people that want OSS solutions, especially in the security area, so they can audit the code.

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579773)

I use an OSS solution that's quite effective, it's called Linux...

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579823)

You are mixing stuff. On Windows, ClamAV is the only OSS solution, and it doesn't (yet) have decent support for on-access scanning (It is possible to use WinPooch to do it, but WinPooch is unmaintained and not compatible with Vista or XP SP3). This is mostly because the developers of ClamAV are more focused on using it for server side email scanning and so forth.

So sure, an OSS solution for on-access scanning on workstations would be attractive for lots of reasons, but there isn't one right now, so it doesn't really matter.

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579799)

I disagree. How many computer users are able to make an accurate judgement between two pieces of antivirus software? When you decide to choose one AV program over another, what metrics do you use?

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (5, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579891)

When you decide to choose one AV program over another, what metrics do you use?

two criteria:

a) If made by Norton, Symantec, or is sold at PC World, I wouldn't touch it with a barge-pole.

b) If it costs money, I won't touch it with a barge-pole.

c) It I install it, and it sucks, it goes out.

I have a large stock of unused barge-poles, please see my e-bay shop.

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579919)

Price, convenience and effect on system performance. The button to make windows stop checking for antivirus wins on all three.

Re:Be Afraid! Buy Our Product! (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579931)

Simple: Is one of the products made by Norton? If so, pick the other.... I'll never get over buying a gaming rig in the late 90s, solely for the purpose of playing Quake and another FPS whose name escapes me, and having to spend hours wiping and reinstalling everything on the computer, simply because Norton AV had decided that it should consistently use over 80% of the system resources, and refuse to turn off for any period.

That damned program was more invasive and crippling than the vast majority of the viruses it was designed to protect against >.<

But, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579683)

Dear SimonTech,

What if your AV was free because you stole a license from work?

Best,

A.C.

Of course... (2, Funny)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579687)

they would know since they are the major malware authors. Duh.

Re:Of course... (2, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579831)

As much as it makes sense from a tinfoil hat perspective, I don't think Norton/Symantec writes any viruses at all.

Why?

Because if they did, you would expect their security software would actually be at least marginally functional.

We all know it's not.....

Re:Of course... (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580023)

Faulty logic. You're assuming that they are capable of writing good malware, but not capable of writing good anti-malware software. It's more likely that their malware sucks just as much as their other products, and so doesn't proliferate in the wild.

Bloated (2, Interesting)

cuby (832037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579689)

During my windows time, I stopped using Norton because it was useless and bloated. In fact, anti-virus was the reason I ditch windows.

Rock and hard place (5, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579691)

If there choice were only: install Symantec or get a virus, then that's a really difficult choice. I'd be inclined to risk the virus, since Symantec invades and slows your system in a worse way than many infections.

Fortunately, there are many free anti-virus products that work better than Symantec. It's a no-brainer choice. Free is cheaper and better.

I have no understanding of how Symantec remains in business. There's something deeply wrong with that.

Re:Rock and hard place (1)

StarTux (230379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579731)

FUD, they are good at it. Must have learned that from someone else...

Re:Rock and hard place (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579815)

I wish they were as good at creating AV software as they were at FUD. Symantec is an industry-wide joke, and the only reason I know of that it's still used is because of its management tools.

I was looking at the email server security plugin for Exchange, and was just amazed at what a shitty product it was. It was like a brain-dead version of Postfix. It's very clear that whoever wrote it had little understanding of email security beyond scanning email for viruses. It was just a joke, but an incredibly expensive joke. I tried to sell the guy on the idea of taking one of the Pentium III's he had on a shelf, building a Postfix relay proxy that would be easier to administrate (I never saw a more UI-tarded application than this Symantec one) and considerably more efficient, effective and functional.

Re:Rock and hard place (2, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579775)

I have no understanding of how Symantec remains in business. There's something deeply wrong with that.

That's easy - software bundle contracts with all major computer vendors, branding and market exposure, plus they seem to always be available for interviews with '60 minutes' every time there's a trojan/virus outbreak like Conficker. This all culminates into ordinary people looking at anti-virus boxes on retail store shelves, seeing 'Symantic' and triggering that name from wherever they heard or saw it before.

It's simple marketing, and the fact they're still in business means they're damn good at it. Just like Microsoft.

Re:Rock and hard place (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579805)

symantec and microsoft, joined at the hip, imo...

Re:Rock and hard place (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579819)

and here i thought symantec was a virus, one that no pc maker seems able to keep of their install images...

Re:Rock and hard place (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579821)

I can explain that to you. It's called a delusional dominant reality.

If you act as if you were the godking of antivirus, you will start to ignore your flaws. If you then are so strong in that belief, that you pull others into it, they will start to ignore them too.
As you might imagine, this is quite easy with the uninformed masses, who never have seen anything else.
I mean that "Dr. Norton" with his white doctor coat, his cool name, and all this... He looks so sure of himself. And others have it too. So it must be good. Ever if it is bad there, and there, and there, and there, etc.

It's the same thing that makes you believe a medical doctor actually had any more competence than a better pharmacist. And him stating "there is no cure" except of "I did not go to a further training for the last three decades, and just don't know a cure, but there might be one, and we still have to find it", does not help it. (This is his delusional dominant reality in action.)

It is also the thing that can make you good at dating, pickup, etc. (Don't hear to the Mistery method losers and their a million and one imitators. That stuff is outdated for at least a decade now.)

Why should I buy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579695)

Why should I buy something that locks me down in my own system. It's safe alright, but so is pulling the plug on the internet.

Getting the protection you need? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579699)

And Symantec's product does this? A good 1/2 of the people i have to go clean messes up are running that damned Norton.

Re:Getting the protection you need? (1)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579795)

Now be fair, many users get messed up because they install McAfee instead.

Re:Getting the protection you need? (1)

rkit (538398) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580039)

ah, so that's the other half!

You get what you pay for. (5, Insightful)

dcray2000 (969850) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579703)

If I grew bananas, I would warn everyone that free bananas could be detrimental to their health. After all, consumers have no idea how hard it is to grow good bananas. Free bananas could leave them lacking in any number of impossible to define vitamins and minerals.

Re:You get what you pay for. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579743)

I'll buy that, its not like Bananas grow on trees.

Re:You get what you pay for. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579861)

So why the funny mod? Is it because AC pointed out obvious information that bananas grow on trees, or is it because AC provided the incorrect information that bananas grow on trees?

Re:You get what you pay for. (2, Insightful)

teg (97890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579899)

I'll buy that, its not like Bananas grow on trees.

Indeed, they don't. Banana plants [wikipedia.org] are just weird clones - not trees.

Nearly all AV software suck (1)

ZP-Blight (827688) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579709)

I haven't run an active Anti-Virus software once in all my years of computing (over 20) and the only virus I have ever contracted on Windows was the Blaster worm that relied on a publicly unknown (at the time) bug in one of Microsoft's DLL.

How did I do this for so long? Awareness, Patching and Prudence.

On the other hand, I know plenty of people running active commercial anti-virus software that's been plagued with virii.

The reason?
1. No Awareness.
2. No Patching.
3. No Prudence.

Worm/Virus are spread so fast these days, the AV software just can't catch up in time to prevent the infection and in quite a few cases, the Worm/Virus disables the AV software, making it more difficult (in some cases impossible) to remove the infection without booting to another OS (Live OS from a CD/USB Drive).

That's why I use ClamWin for occasional scanning.

viruses? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579717)

I prefer writing viruses to steal information. It's just so hard to get someone to fill out those damn Paypal lookalike forms.....

Meh (5, Insightful)

achowe (829564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579721)

As a software author, I've found that free anti-virus, like Avira and Avast, pretty good, given my understanding of computers, email, spam, and security threats. Symantec are just creating FUD. I used to use Norton Security software, but found that it just slows down a Windows XP machine far too much, guesstimate 15 to 20%. The UI would take ages to load. Symantec might be good for the peons, but for experts the performance hit is too much. Expert users can find better, cheaper, and faster working solutions.

Re:Meh (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579783)

I won't run Symantec on my network. When I first took over, everything was Symantec 11, and it was just horrifyingly bad. Pretty much every time I logged into my workstation, I had to kill the rtvscan process, and users were always complaining. When the license renewal came in, I just crumpled it up and through it in the garbage. I had had some experience with F-Prot from when I was working at a small ISP, and decided "what the hell". The licenses were cheap (I did forty computers for $200 a year), it's very lightweight and while I can't do remote scans and the like, the LAN version is dead-dog simple, it just copies the definitions from the server. Even then, it still screws up on occasion, but a helluva lot less than Symantec ever did.

All in all, however, I despise AV products.

Re:Meh (3, Interesting)

achowe (829564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579859)

The fact that Windows needs AV to the extreme extent that it does just boggles the mind. And now that Microsoft are providing their own free AV solution as a cheaper solution to actually fixing Windows security sounds like Microsoft trying to pull a fast one while at the same time push into yet another software market. Why should I trust a Microsoft AV solution, when I find it so hard to trust Windows and any other Microsoft product in terms of security? They might get it right at the product launch, but I bet over time their AV will degrade like the rest of their stuff. The only reason I use Windows is because I still like to play games. Oh hum.

Re:Meh (2, Insightful)

achowe (829564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579901)

Simply put Norton has become the "Microsoft" of AV products, slow, bloated, and works most of the time if you're patient.

Who protects us from Symantec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579741)

I quit using Norton anything many years ago as they became bloated and seemed to be the cause of more problems for my wife's PC than she had without it. At the time it seemed impossible to remove Norton AV after it had been installed. Just like malware. This really annoys me as Norton Antivirus often comes on new PC's as a 6 month free trial. Even if Norton was free I would not use them.

With Firefox, No Script and Adblock Plus my wife has not had any problems with viruses/malware/trojans. I do have Avast on her computer which does not seem bloated and stays out of the way.

Free works just fine with some common sense.

An open letter to David Hall (0, Troll)

ZosX (517789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579763)

What's the matter, boy?
I bet you squeal.
I bet you can squeal like a pig.
Let's squeal. Squeal now.

Squeal.

Squeal.

Squeal louder. Louder.

Louder.

Louder.

Louder!

Louder! Get down now, boy!

There, get them britches down. That's that.
You can do better than that, boy.
Come on, squeal. Squeal!
What's you wanna do with him?
He got a real pretty mouth, ain't he?
That's the truth.
You're gonna do some prayin' for me, boy.
And you better pray good.

Anything is better than Norton (5, Interesting)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579765)

Dear Symantec,

The reason you are steadily losing market share has less to do with the availability of reasonably good antivirus software for free, and more to do with the staggeringly awful quality of your own products. Norton Internet Security was so completely terrible, that not only did it fail to stop critical attacks, but it slowed down systems more than the worst available spyware infections. Removing those spyware infections was also easier than removing your software, because the uninstaller would fail more often than it would function. I began to keep the latest version of the Symantec removal tool in my kit because it was better to assume the uninstall would fail, and not bother to use it. Until I managed to get a significant portion of my clients away from your products, they paid me to fix problems with your software more often than any other single product by a factor of 10. At this point, even if your company came out with the perfect security product, I would advise my clients not to buy it purely based on past experience, because you do not deserve their money.

Re:Anything is better than Norton (2, Interesting)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579893)

I loved how Norton Internet Security would *DISABLE* windows firewall when you uninstall their Norton shit

Re:Anything is better than Norton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579949)

If you think windows firewall is going to protect you.. you deserve to be hacked. LOL

Re:Anything is better than Norton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579943)

Until I managed to get a significant portion of my clients away from your products, they paid me to fix problems with your software more often than any other single product by a factor of 10.

Why are you moving people away from a major source of income?

Re:Anything is better than Norton (2, Interesting)

OnE_HoT_It_BiTcH (1591231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580013)

I'm hardly a fanboy of Norton but they seam to have turned things around with their latest 2009 product. I will say that I hated 2006.. but then again I hated Windows ME and Vista.. it doesnt mean I'm going to stop using windows though.

Everybody else warns against relying on Symantec! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579769)

I'm just saying... From what I hear from pretty much everything and every test, is that they have the worst piece of shit of a useless resource hog with no detection rate in the whole industry, including free solutions.

I'd rather believe someone independent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579779)

Symantec seem to be scared, nothing more. Irritatingly it's comments like this that seem to get picked up by the mainstream media and not the results of the independent tests that show Symantec's AV to be roughly as competant as some of these free ones.

His speech is worthless.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579807)

He doesn't provide any references or even made up numbers. As far as I know, his speech is completely worthless.

The most effective antivirus is common sense.

If McAfee could protect us (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579813)

against poor design then they would not exist. I suppose that the gross profit of all the anti-virus companies combined are a quick glance at what a poorly designed operating system costs it's users.

Linux is the best AV solution (its also free) (3, Informative)

yossarianuk (1402187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579817)

In my experience (which is fixing other peoples Windows infested crap) the most reliable way of detecting a virus is to run from a Linux livecd.

Download clamav, then check the drive.

The reason I say it is better is because many virus/malware disable AV features in Windows so you can never be 100% sure - I know you can get clamwin but again some 'bad thing' could have disabled some it it's features...and linux allows you to write to folders that would be normally projected by the system (i know there is any obvious danger to this)

There has been at least 2 cases in the last month where a vista machine (one had norten and signed up to onecare,,,) which had av protection was not able to completely get rid of a trojan - even using clamwin - clamav in linux sorted it.

Seems free alternatives ranks high (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579825)

http://www.virus.gr/portal/en/content/2008-06%2C-1-21-june [virus.gr]
avg
antivir
avast
all free all ranked high and above norton:)

Simple Solution : Stay Away From M$ Windoze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579827)

By staying away from M$ Windoze, the biggest virus of all time, one does not need any anti-malware software. M$ junk has so many security holes as opposed to GNU/Linux and free software. M$ addicts deserve to receive malware as well as having their identities stolen for using M$ junk.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

free.avg.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579833)

...just download the software from free.avg.com, and then make sure your built-in windows firewall is working. The advantages of having updates without a serial number blacklisting are too big to ignore.

So what do I do then? Change OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579835)

1. I really don't care to pay an antivirus tax on my computer.
2. All anti-virus software tends to suck. (If they all suck, may as well use a free one.)
3. I kind of like the Ubuntu flavor of Linux, but the only thing keeping me from switching over is my game and multimedia software. If everything would work and without a noticable performance hit, I'd have switched already.

ESET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579845)

Another vote for ESET. No vendor is perfect, but ESET has been pretty solid for me for several years.

You people running naked and smug on linux and apple are going to get a wakeup call sooner or later when someone exploits an adobe or java product and jacks your machine.

You don't need AV (1)

stmok (1331127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579883)

When I used Windows XP Pro (I now use CentOS and Debian), I set the system up such that I didn't need AV...I basically applied what I learned from Linux.

That is...
(1) Set up a Limited User Account (LUA)
(2) Software Restriction Policy (OR if you're using XP Home; use => http://www.beyondlogic.org/solutions/trust-no-exe/trust-no-exe.htm [beyondlogic.org] instead)
(3) Install only the apps you need.
(4) Online Armor Free Edition. (Software Firewall with HIPS...ie: It warns you something is trying to execute or "dial out", and gives you the option to stop it.)
(5) Removed or disabled Services, etc you know you'll never use.

Of course, the "Cons" to this approach is that XP isn't forgiving when it comes to using LUA...So you have to use something like SuRUN to allow certain apps to run with Admin privileges. A little testing is required before putting it into "production use".

Complement the above with "security aware" computing habits, and you're largely fine. (I used AutoPatcher to pull down updates).

I set this approach up for my dad's XP box and spent a few hours with him on correcting his poor computing habits. This was in early 2008. Its been a year. No infection or complaints from him. He can still use his PC, but he's now much better off than most people.

I don't trust AV implementations for 3 reasons:
(1) AV companies use FUD because most people are ignorant on computer security matters.
(2) AV apps are cures to a problem, not prevention. As long as people continue with cures, AV companies remain profitable.
(3) They have been proven unreliable in the real world. (You are reacting to threats! You are already at a tactical disadvantage!)

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579897)

So, they want us to believe that to be fully protected, we need to shell out some money.

I have Avast! Anti-virus, Spybot s&d, and Zonealarm firewall. I think I am pretty well safeguarded.

why bother at all? (1)

novex (515891) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579903)

i havnt used antivirus software in over 7 years now, simple common sense with emails and completely disabling every "feature" in IE that i can, then proceeding to not use it at all for browsing has resulted in a virus free computer.

i see antivirus as the computer equivalent of over the top health and safety policies. They make stupid lazy people feel safe but dont actualy achieve much.

Let's look at the best free AV package... (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579925)

It takes up no RAM.
It requires not a single CPU cycle.
It can run on produce.

It's called common sense and discretion.

Although using a *nix system can most certainly help.

The worst thing you can do is use the popular one (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579927)

Put yourself in the shoes of a virus writer: do you want to infect as many computers as possible? Yes. So are you going to test your software against the most widely-used AV? You better believe you will. Norton and McAfee offer almost unbeatable vulnerability to newly-written malware. It's simple common sense. Also, do you want to attack the reputation of big, money-hoarding corporations or well-meaning people giving away software they've written? I think that's an easy one. The difference is that when an AV program is actively targeted, the protection you're getting is mostly against past exploits rather than future ones.

Subjective, anecdotal evidence: My dad was running McAfee until it was brought down by the AntiVirusXP2008 or whatever it was called. Since then, AVG on the Windows computers has been perfect protection (although it hasn't been there long enough for that to be meaningful) and substantially less crippling and annoying, which is always meaningful.

Of course, as the nerd in the family, I avoid the hornet's nest with free OS's...

Not QUITE right (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579933)

You know what is really a non-protection in AV? Products from large companies. No, really.

Malware is today routinely tested against the big players before it's leaving the door. More and more often, you also see protection against specific AV suits (Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky are amongst the top on that list), where the malware specifically tries to disable those AV suits or at least blocks updates.

Malware protecting against smaller players in the AV field is rare. Market dictates that. It does not pay to protect your malware against an AV suit the market share or which is less than 5 percent.

So, I essentially agree with him: MS Antivirus will offer ... well, let me say not the best protection, because EVERY piece of malware will be tested and hardened against it. But, and I guess Mr. Hall will not enjoy that, Symantec doesn't offer protection any better, because, since they're big enough with a big enough market share, they, too, are on the malware writer's radar.

Free Alternatives. (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579945)

does Linux count as free antivirus software?

avg (1)

seeksoft (579626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579951)

I prefer AVG. I've been using it now for awhile, and I have most of my family + friends on it. When people ask me what to use, I recommend it. Doesn't bloat my system and it actually finds threats.

They Have A Point (4, Funny)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579953)

I agree, all free antivirus sucks, so does all paid for software. However there is a magical amulet which will protect you from all computer attacks, I happen to be selling these items for a very reasonable price.

Given the choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579957)

between Symantec software or a virus, I'd take the virus any day. Removing any Symantec software is the first thing that is done after unpacking a new PC in our company.

Symantec removal tool (2, Informative)

sdturf (968920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579959)

Enter "symantec" in google with google suggestion feature on and the first two results are "symantec antivirus" and "symantec removal tool"

He is correct (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579961)

'If you are only relying on free antivirus to offer you protection in this modern age, you are not getting the protection you need to be able to stay clean and have a reasonable chance of avoiding identity theft,'

If you remove the word 'free' this statement is still correct

How do you get infected? (1)

ShenTheWise (1277986) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579963)

I've been using computers for 20 years and have never been infected. Could someone please explain how exactly does it happen? Do people click on those "You've won!" pop-ups, then proceed to download and run some executable?

OT: had to install AVs on Linux servers for PCIDSS (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579969)

I just had to install ClamAV on a few hundred Linux servers just to satisfy PCI-DSS requirement. Before PCI v1.2 it explicitly stated that AVs might no be necessary on Unix systems. Now it doesn't; it just needs to be installed "where applicable" or somesuch.
My guess is that they had been lobbied by the scumbags at Microsoft or Symantec.
Evidently, it's completely pointless. But the scumbags will point you to a few POCs that have never been *seen* in the wild.
The problem is that all AVs have vulnerabilities at one point or another, and that they could be used to gain access to elevate privileges, while giving absolutely NO, ZERO, NADA benefit for Linux servers.
And btw: I'm talking about VIRUSES. Not other forms of malware. There is malware on Linux. Just viruses. We do scan for rootkits with Ossec; but since it's not an "antivirus," we can't check the goddamn box.
So we check our Linux servers ... mostly for windows viruses. Awesome. Especially considering that it's on a completely isolated network with 0 Windows client.

Symantec is stealing more than any identity thief. (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579973)

Most people have a reasonable chance of avoiding identity theft with common sense and no anti virus at all. In fact most people with no common sense have a reasonable chance of avoiding identity theft with no software at all. Is identity theft a problem yes? Is saying people will have their indetity stolen without using pay software disingenuous and bordering on fraudulent absolutely.

Why do we have an FTC if not to lock up people like this? If he is not inside a jail cell in 6 months, the commission should be disbanded.

Such a statement from Symantec? (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579979)

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

So should I install Symantec? (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579985)

I am relying on no virus protection at all.
I am getting my software from trusted sources.
I am not running Windows.

So should I install Symantec?

Bullshit!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28579991)

For the average home user I would say that AVG Free or one of the other more innovative, free or low cost antivirus programs is going to give you as good or better protection than symantec, but the real advantage you'll see is that most of symantec's consumer products are overbearing and use far too many system resources - they really slow your system down, they can be a real pain in the ass to remove, and they have a history of conflicting with other software - and they know people know this, it took them a while to realize it and I think they finally noticed how successful AVG has become since about 2004 at attracting users with a free product that offered decent A/V protection without crippling their machines - I have noticed that they are now marketing "norton classic" (at least I think it's symantec,unless they have sold the rights to norton) for $14.99 per year as an "anti-virus that uses few system resources."

The only symantec A/V product I have used that hasn't been annoying and counter-productive is their corporate version (at least in the early 00s); one of the ISPs I used to to run/manage used it on all of their servers and workstations and it seemed to not have the problems that their consumer offerings do. Once I became familiar with AVG's free options and it came time to protect a smal to medium sized corporate network I decided to go with AVG's network edition - the cost was reasonable comparatively, I think it was around $1k for 40 workstations and a server - the basic deal is that symantec's products just suck.

anti-virus software blows (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580019)

Most consumer anti virus software sucks. It's bloated and interferes with your computer usage. On my Windows machine I use Kaspersky which performs better but it was a bit of a pain to install and required that I remove Spy-bot which is a load of rubbish.

He would say that (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580025)

If people stopped paying for Norton, how will they be able to keep up the under-the-table payments to virus writers?

But you're OK if you're running Nawton AV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28580037)

"Clearly, the rise of free antivirus is starting to worry Symantec, with one of their top executives warning consumers not to rely on free antivirus software (including Microsoft's Security Essentials).

I'd have to say that the commercial home user grade AV products I've seen haven't been any great shakes. I have seen customer's computers thoroughly infested with crap, to the extent that I had to pull their hard disks and scan them with a clean machine, that were running fully up to date Norton and McAfee home user security products.

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