According to some of the industry's leading security professionals, Antivirus is pretty ineffective - so much so that most of them don't even use it.
This revelation came about when the boys at Wired visited the RSA Conferance and spoke with several higher ups at security firms, most of them claiming to not use antivirus, or even recommend it. Chief technology officer at White Hat Security, Jeremiah Grossman was one of them.
"If you asked the average security expert whether they use antivirus or not, a significant proportion of them do not," he said.
He was right too, as Dan Guido of Trail of Bits doesn't either. Neither does Paul Carugati who works in security at Motorola Solutions. The reason none of these guys bother with AV is because they avoid many of the ways a normal user comes into contact with malware: clicking on dubious attachments, following unsolicited links or visiting websites that might feature malicious content.
On top of this, most modern virus makers will test out their new bit of malware against the most popular antivirus software, meaning on day 0 of its release into the wild, it's very unlikely that any of the big named software bigwigs will catch it - because the nefarious bit of code is specifically designed to avoid detection and deletion.
Average businesses and end users of course still need to make use of the stalwart of online security, as even the technically savvy can occasionally click a link they didn't mean to, or get caught by a new clever attachment file name - but Antivirus is certainly becoming less of an important feature in online security than it used to be.
Being aware is often far more effective.
- Here's our list of the best antivirus services on the market