Feeds

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

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.