Q&A Are third party consumer AVs a dying market?

motox781

Level 10
Thread author
Verified
Well-known
Apr 1, 2015
486
Mergers from Norton, Windows Defender advancing, Windows 11 implementing a host of security features.... what is the future of consumer third party AVs?

For consumers, ...the AV industry has been suffering for years due to a host of reasons (from my bird's eye view). Windows Defender advancing and coming pre-installed as default is a big one. Usage patterns changing to mobile and tablets (safer forms of computing with tight app ecosystems. Pushing people to Appstore's that are heavily vetted). 2FA and Password managers (and requirements) ...securing accounts more safely.

Back in the early days of XP and Windows 7, there was good money to be made cleaning infected consumer PCs. I'd say the main reasons why would be:

1. Wider usage of Windows Desktops/Laptops in the early days, 2005-2012ish (vs. now...phones with their secure app ecosystem).
2. AVs needed to be installed. There was no built-in Windows Defender. Most people expired their subscription and never renewed (so no protection whatsoever).
3. Torrents were rampant back in those days (Limewire, Piratebay, etc.). Cracked software, music, videos, etc.
4. Patching software or OS was not as automatic as it is today.
5. Malware and Adware (which was a nightmare), wasn't as "targeted" as it is today. It was rampant all over.
6. Cloud detection could have changed the way malware was spread (more targeted to avoid immediate detection).
7. Probably a million other reasons (comment below please).

So, saying all that, the AV industry did suffer when Windows Defender decided to go full default protection. There was a big backlash when that happened (I remember Kaspersky was one that didn't like it. They called it "monopolizing AVs". Did Kaspersky see the 1st nail being hammered in the coffin?). The consumer AV industry seemed to shift to useless "cleaning products, ID theft monitoring (that tries to again, sell you products if you call their service center), etc.". Trying to scrape up every penny they can.

I don't know anything about enterprise, but on the consumer side...there is very little money to be made cleaning PCs with malware. It just doesn't happen anymore on the scale it use to.

When Windows 8.1 - Windows 10 was released, consumer Malware infection rates plummeted to almost nothing (except the emergence of ransomware...which still wasn't as widespread as the XP/7 days of malware/adware).

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we need complex hardware firewalls, segregated networks, layered protection (default deny, solid third party AVs, etc.), and 2nd opinion scanners as consumers.

Or maybe just Windows 10 or 11 (patched), with Windows Defender (I'm using Defender as status quo), and safe computing habits will keep us "squeaky clean"...because the malware "Boogie Man" is just not as big of a threat to consumers as he use to be (Many third party AVs want you to believe otherwise...because they have to "sell sell sell FEAR").

So, the elephant in the room is: Are we still clinging to the old days when we actually needed third party AVs? Second opinion scanners? (Those became super popular during horrid days of malware ... and made some $ for techs willing to hustle and scan).

Just my opinion. Sorry for the long rant. Smarter people than me, please chime in. Thanks for reading :D
 
Last edited:

Anthony Qian

Level 7
Verified
Well-known
Apr 17, 2021
320
Third party AVs for home users are focusing on providing additional/extra features, such as VPN, junk file cleaner, and identity monitoring and protection, which can set them apart from built-in Defender from the vendor's perspective. However, these features are generally useless and make the product bloatware from the users' perspective.

Third-party AV vendors may eventually find the enterprise sector to be more profitable.
 

motox781

Level 10
Thread author
Verified
Well-known
Apr 1, 2015
486
Third party AVs for home users are focusing on providing additional/extra features, such as VPN, junk file cleaner, and identity monitoring and protection, which can set them apart from built-in Defender from the vendor's perspective. However, these features are generally useless and make the product bloatware from the users' perspective.

Third-party AV vendors may eventually find the enterprise sector to be more profitable.
The sector does seem to be tightening, with Norton gobbling up the competition. Vendors are being bought out, because consumers don't find value there were it once was.

But the main point I was trying to drive home is (outside of features), are we pushing people incorrectly...when we say: F-secure is awsome, Kaspersky is the best, Norton is trash, etc. Does it really matter? Do we really need to nick pick over 99% to 100% detection rates?
 
Last edited:

roger_m

Level 37
Verified
Top poster
Content Creator
Dec 4, 2014
2,603
I use a third party antivirus because it is lighter than Defender and more configurable, not for better protection. In terms of protection, I feel that Microsoft Defender is fine for the majority of users. If you don't need extra functionality and Defender is not slowing down your computer, then I don't think there's any need to use a different AV.
 

motox781

Level 10
Thread author
Verified
Well-known
Apr 1, 2015
486
I use a third party antivirus because it is lighter than Defender and more configurable, not for better protection. In terms of protection, I feel that Microsoft Defender is fine for the majority of users. If you don't need extra functionality and Defender is not slowing down your computer, then I don't think there's any need to use a different AV.
I do the exact same thing.
 

JoyousBudweiser

Level 14
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Aug 22, 2013
687
There is not much money to be made by attacking a normal windows consumer, most users have their important data on cloud, so there is minimal loss and a fresh install will not hurt that much. Apart from that with the inception of secure browsers like chrome, edge etc phishing and infection from net too have reduced considerably. But on the other hand, if you can compramise an Android/ iOS device it will hurt and there is a lot at stake. So most malware makers are now concentrating on those sectores. I live in India and I can see a huge increase in financial fraud by making fraud phone call, identifying as bank call centre employee and asking for credit card/ debit card information, taking advantage of uninformed people, all these requires no programming capabilities and promises easy money. "Social engineering" is the buzz word nowadays. So all in all the focus has shifted i would say.
 
F

ForgottenSeer 94654

The market is growing, but that is merely a function of more people using digital devices, believing they can buy some security software, slap it onto their device and "they are protected." Despite the increased security software usage, the trends for infections and financial losses have been increasing at a much faster rate. So, just the same as it was 10 years ago, antivirus is losing against the malware problem.

Hardening the OS and network are not only free, but far more effective at securing devices.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MuzzMelbourne

Level 5
Mar 13, 2022
158
But on the other hand, if you can compramise an Android/ iOS device it will hurt and there is a lot at stake. So most malware makers are now concentrating on those sectores.

Mmmm, good question. I always believed iOS devices were pretty bullet-proof when it came to viruses/malware. A quick DDG search turned up a few interesting results, so maybe not…


Thanks for that, there goes my whole coming week researching…
 

Back3

Level 11
Verified
Top poster
Apr 14, 2019
537
From Do You Need An Antivirus On Iphone Or Ipad? *Most Antivirus apps on iOS protect users from web malware by detecting malicious and phishing websites and emails*
Is it better then to install DNS protection like NextDNS? And install a VPN for occasional use?
 

JoyousBudweiser

Level 14
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Aug 22, 2013
687
From Do You Need An Antivirus On Iphone Or Ipad? *Most Antivirus apps on iOS protect users from web malware by detecting malicious and phishing websites and emails*
Is it better then to install DNS protection like NextDNS? And install a VPN for occasional use?
Nextdns or similar ones with doh/dot is always advisable to any configuration no matter whatever operating system you use. You can eliminate the threat of dns cache poisoning and to some extent it can also protect from a "compramised router" redirecting you to a phishing page.
 

SpiderWeb

Level 9
Verified
Well-known
Aug 21, 2020
425
3rd party AVs are essentially dead on all operating systems other than Windows. Almost all major browsers come with malware protection/scanning built-in. The most important change however, in my opinion, is that people simply download less content. We stream or download from highly controlled DRM sources (App store, Play store). That has reduced the demand for AVs especially on mobile devices.
 

Arequire

Level 28
Verified
Top poster
Content Creator
Feb 10, 2017
1,708
I'd say there's less need for 3rd-party AVs nowadays. Windows has come a long way since the days of XP and its perpetual infections, and I'm sure Microsoft having Defender built-in and enabled by default goes a long way in that regard.

I don't think it's a dying market, though. I don't know the financial status of private vendors, but the few publicly traded vendors are still pulling in hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in revenue every year.
 

Arequire

Level 28
Verified
Top poster
Content Creator
Feb 10, 2017
1,708
True enough. But how much of this is self-interested industry hype and how much is practical need…
Probably the former, seeing as I and likely countless others only utilize Microsoft Defender (although admittedly I'm using modified settings, but am absolutely sure nothing would change if I used default settings) and remain uninfected.
I think most people would be better served changing their browsing habits rather than investing in a third-party AV or security suite.

Ultimately though, third-party AVs provide competition, which is always a good thing. I wouldn't want to live in a world where Microsoft Defender is the only option.
 

plat1098

Level 27
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Sep 13, 2018
1,658
Well, are you talking about the mainstream market? The ones who don't visit forums like these? For non-Enterprise consumers, I wouldn't be surprised if there was actually an uptick in third party sales. War,, COVID and ransomware making the news a lot would be factors. Word-of-mouth, and what employees take home from their places of business. Oh, my company uses ESET, maybe I should try that.

Norton advertises aggressively. I see Malwarebytes advertising also, on Yahoo. In these kinds of calamities, everyone profits. But it can fluctuate a lot.

At the end of the day, I actually don't care. It's not the antivirus, it's what I supplement it with and it ain't going away anytime soon. The heck with everyone else. :)
 

L0ckJaw

Level 19
Content Creator
Well-known
Feb 17, 2018
907
I use ProtonVPN Plus and they use their own DNS system. Also run it 24/7 with little or no performance drop(I don’t trust anyone)!



Correct!
Here also 24/7 vpn on laptop/android/iPhone/iPad/ computer here in Malaysia a lot of websites are blocked and the government here controls alot . With vpn all websites are open and we are hidden from the government.
 

peterfat111

Level 11
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Mar 25, 2021
508
I use a third party antivirus because it is lighter than Defender and more configurable, not for better protection. In terms of protection, I feel that Microsoft Defender is fine for the majority of users. If you don't need extra functionality and Defender is not slowing down your computer, then I don't think there's any need to use a different AV.
Yes, for me I use a 3rd party av because defender is destroying my pc's performance
 

JoyousBudweiser

Level 14
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Aug 22, 2013
687
I use ProtonVPN Plus and they use their own DNS system. Also run it 24/7 with little or no performance drop(I don’t trust anyone)!
Then why do you blindly trust( the one you can't verify even) the vpn provider with all your data? build your own vpn ( its not that complicated) if you don't trust anyone!
 
Last edited: