Is it Time to Uninstall Your Anti-Virus?

June 27, 2014
Kevin Lam

During my session at the NetDiligence and HB Litigation conference in Philadelphia earlier this month, one of the audience members asked our panel if we should still use anti-virus software.  The reason they were asking was because in May, Brian Dye, a senior vice present at Symantec indicated to reporters that antivirus software was dead, estimating that they detected a low 45 of all attacks.

My fear is that reports like these create more FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) than they do good, which I don’t think was Dye’s intention. So should you uninstall your anti-virus?  The answer is no, and here’s why.

Viruses Aren’t the Only Things You Need Worry About

It used to be that computer viruses were the main threats against your computer systems.  That’s changed drastically.  Now things like rootkits, trojans, worms and malicious websites also pose a threat.  Your anti-malware software (of which anti-virus is one of many components) will still catch these. But, by uninstalling your anti-virus you may mistakenly also uninstall your anti-malware software altogether leaving yourself really exposed.

It’s Required for Compliance

Effective or not, anti-virus software is still required for many regulations and standards like HIPAA and PCI. If you want to stay compliant, there’s pretty much no way around this.

Some Protection is Better than None

Let’s face it — 45% ain’t great, but it’s also not 0% either. But let’s get specific here, as of today 6-26-2014, Norton anti-virus detects over 23 million types of threats according to this link (other anti-virus software will be similar).  That’s 23 million reasons not to uninstall your antivirus!  And at $39.99 per user license … well, I’ll just say it … you’d be stupid not to keep anti-virus running on your computer.

Alright, that’s it for this week’s Data Protection Friday article.  Keep your anti-virus software installed, and see you next Friday!


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Co-Founder, IronBox