Action against symantec for scareware…

saw this link over at my prefered hardware news site –

Made me smile….

All antivirus or security vendors are preying fear to some extent… with firewalls – you dont get a firewall because someones attacking you, you get a firewall because it helps to make it more difficult for people to attack you (and by “you”, i mean your IT infrastructure). Its bascially the concept of “lets secure ourselves – because its just common sense… its quick/easy/cheap to do so and it will prevent us from being attacked in these <insert various attacks here> ways “. More to the point, there is simply no reason not to have a firewall… with even 1/4 competent admin, it wont break anything.

Antivirus has always been very much on the line between selling a valid service and selling fear… the “common sense” approach, particularly in the desktop antivirus market, seems to have given way to the “lets try and cover every possible scenario” – which is deomstrated by the major vendors products, which don’t just do antivirus anymore, they are also firewalls, software restriction enforcement points, network access control, malware etc

Desktop antivirus in particular has the issue of performance impact…. but with the advent of firewalls etc…. we then also have the issues of other mis-configurations…. the amount of issues caused by companies doing stupid fucking things such as putting their desktop antivirus product on their exchange servers for example…. stupid in the first place, but even worse when an update turns the firewall back on and port 25 incoming is blocked.

This happens so often now for our smaller clients (up to 500 seats) – that the first thing we do when a client rings and says “our server is busted” is disable or uninstall AV (if they have gone against our advice and put it on there) – and 90% of time, problem solvered.

Anyhoo – ive gone off on a bit of a tangent there (as usual) – i liked the term “scareware” – i hadnt heard it before – and i believe its a fair term for most of the marketing done by AV vendors these days. They have a commoditised market in base antivirus, so they are looking for ways to make themselves stay relevant – fair enough from a business point of view – but some of the additions are, in my mind, scareware!

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