Feeds

Symantec: Antivirus is 'DEAD' – no longer 'a moneymaker'

Oh, and it's still 40 per cent of our business

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Symantec, a company that has made huge amounts of cash as the largest antivirus software vendor for the last quarter of a century, looks to be getting out of that business and into fixing hacking problems rather than stopping them.

"We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way," Brian Dye, Symantec's senior vice president for information security, told The Wall Street Journal, adding that antivirus was "dead."

Dye said that modern antivirus software only stops around 45 per cent of attack on computer systems and lets the rest through. That's a bit embarrassing for the firm's Norton team, who are still advertising the software as "secure and reliable," rather than "works less than half the time."

Before the Norton staff start reaching for pitchforks and flaming torches, however, Dye did take the time to say that the security suite for individual devices is still worth buying, as it blocks spam, manages passwords, and spots dodgy links in third-party websites. But given that endpoint software accounts for around 40 per cent of Symantec's revenues, it's still a worrying admission.

Symantec will now concentrate on providing business customers with security as a service – tracking intrusions as they occur, advising on the best way to protect data from collection, and finding out who is doing the attacking. It's an industry Dye acknowledged Symantec is coming to late.

"It's one thing to sit there and get frustrated," he said. "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."

This kind of bespoke service business model is working well enough for many companies, but it's not as profitable for selling security software to the masses. Dye acknowledged this was the case, but said Symantec needed to concentrate on what will sell.

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

Symantec does certainly need to change its game plan. The company has seen profits rise slightly, thanks to a savage series of job cuts, but has fired two CEOs in as many years for failing to get the company growing again. Maybe a rethink is just what the company needs. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.