Anti-malware is imperfect but still necessary. Here’s why

Doctors sometimes make mistakes that harm the patient. Police often fail to protect and serve. When that happens, people rightly demand the failures be analyzed and fixed. But no one ever calls for the elimination of all doctors and police.

Why then, do some call for the end of antivirus and anti-malware when failures happen? It’s a question that has vexed us for a long time.

Researchers uncover vulnerabilities in security products on a regular basis. A recent example is Trend Micro, which faced scrutiny in January after researchers reported some 223 vulnerabilities across 11 of the vendor’s products. Tavis Ormandy, a prolific and gifted Google Project Zero researcher who most recently discovered Cloudbleed, regularly targets security products, including those produced by Sophos and such vendors as Kaspersky and Symantec.

Along the way, someone either declares it the end of antivirus, anti-malware and endpoint protection, or calls for its demise. Last year, during another disclosure of Trend Micro vulnerabilities, security experts even declared antivirus a threat to security.

Can we all do better? Absolutely. Like all technology created since the dawn of time, antivirus sometimes falls short of its mission. As an industry, we need to continue to find weaknesses and Read more

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