13 May 2014

An executive from security firm Symantec recently said that “anti-virus is dead” and that the firm would be shifting their focus onto spotting hackers within a system rather than just preventing them from entering in the first place. Whilst the high profile security breaches we’ve seen in the news recently might suggest a certain inevitability when it comes to cybercriminals getting into places they shouldn’t, I think it’s important to not just discard anti-virus.

What the Symantec exec is essentially saying is that Symantec is getting more into the ethical hacking arena – an already established arena – and more into building tools to mitigate any gremlins in the system. It’s a good thing, but I think the difference here is that the consumer is very interested in putting anti-virus software onto their computers, and it is essential, but it’s the businesses that will be more interested in looking for activity within the database.

It’s something that all businesses should be investing in these days. We’ve got systems that identify anomalies and unusual activity. When you’re looking for your threats in a business online, they’re quite often underneath your nose. That’s why banks and business societies employ ethical hackers to look around and see who within the organisation would have access to get information they shouldn’t.

Human beings are very curious by nature so invariably you’ll get someone looking where they shouldn’t and I think that comes down to the fact that we’re almost programmed to go exploring as humans. There’s a massive desire to look deeper and find out what other people are doing. I think people would be better off using their energy for commercial gain or gain for a community, but as long as there’s curiosity, there will always be a need to protect networks.

Ultimately, a combination of preventative and mitigation methods is the best approach, so in my opinion you do still need anti-virus protecting the outer layer. Both are an essential part of being an online business these days.

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