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So, is antivirus dead? It depends on how you look at it. Traditional antivirus, the one that relies only on malware signatures to detect a threat, is certainly dead. However, most of the major security software companies offer “antivirus” solutions that integrate all sorts of sophisticated mechanisms that can detect threats based on their behavior.

Bogdan Dumitru, Bitdefender chief technology officer, tells on it:

“The truth is always in the middle ground. Relying solely on antivirus is a dead end – and it has been for at least 8 years now. But that’s like saying that aspirin is dead because it’s not the cure for cancer, AIDS and all of humanity’s other illnesses.

Aspirin still works for a hangover or a mild cold and people still keep it in their medicine chests. Other techniques were developed for other illnesses. The same way, other [smaller] companies have brought new innovative technologies that expanded their spectrum and started defending against several other threats. Antivirus is just one feature within a security suite.”

An expert from Malwarebytes:

“Saying antivirus is dead is quite a bold statement, but as the threat landscape has diversified so much in recent years, it’s not sufficient on its own. Many traditional antivirus approaches have not adapted as fast as the threat environment and as malware has become more advanced, it has outpaced traditional security approaches.

This is why we have always touted a ‘complementary approach’. Having a specialist piece of software such as Malwarebytes working alongside traditional antivirus provides greater security.”

AVAST’s CEO Vincent Steckler notes in a blog post:

“Symantec’s statement seems to relate to the enterprise, and not the consumer and small business. Enterprises have traditionally relied on many layers of defense and antivirus is one of those layers. Antivirus though is a broad-spectrum defense and as such is often complemented by other products, such as those protecting against targeted attacks that enterprises worry about.

They instead incorporate firewalls, intrusion detection, heuristics, virtualization, sandboxes, and many other layers of protection and not just antivirus. Therefore, we believe AV is not dead in the consumer space. It is far from dead there.”

Costin Raiu, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, writes in a blog post:

“Traditional signature-scan antivirus as the sole method of protection has been dead for many years. It has been replaced by a much more sophisticated bundle of products and technologies, which combine heuristics, sandbox analyzers, cloud reputation and whitelisting technologies to protect the user.

Every major player today has already adapted to these trends. Actually, those who didn’t adapt simply disappeared! Many times new technologies have emerged which were supposed to become ‘magic bullets’ to save the world from malware and make traditional (signature-based) antivirus technology largely obsolete.

Avira Security Expert and Product Manager Sorin Mustaca tells us via email:

“This hardly comes as news for anyone in the security industry who’s been in the business for more than a few years. I've written in April 2014 in the Virus Bulletin magazine an article called ‘Is the IT security industry up to the new challenges to come?’ where I describe exactly this situation.

Saying that the ‘Antivirus is dead’ is incomplete. The classical antivirus, the one that works only with signatures or patterns, might be dead - but dead as in not enough anymore. These days, all antivirus companies that want to make a difference, are doing more than providing signatures.

The detection of malicious software using signatures worked well until late 90' beginning of 2000, because the bad guys were too slow in creating malware. Since then, the bad guys got organized and are much faster.

Now, we are adding cloud detections, sandboxes, heuristics, artificial intelligence and more. To conclude, I would like to say that ‘the antivirus is dead, long live the antivirus.’ Or perhaps, it would be better to not even call it antivirus at all.”



Retired Staff
May 3, 2011
There are two important factors which kill antivirus today.

1. Improvements in modern browsers- All browser today will block drive-bye malware infections unlike the days of old Internet Explorer and Active X controls vulnerabilities. All files must be manually downloaded and manually run by the user which made it much safer for users who pay attention.

2. Improvements in modern Windows OS- Although Microsoft continues to patch vulnerabilities in Windows, Windows is more secure than it was back in the days of XP. With more security features which makes it much harder to exploit vulnerabilities. This movement changed the way malware writers distributed their malicious software and the methods used to infect systems which gave birth to the popular fake alert websites, rogue antivirus and security products and other scareware type tactics to get ignorant users to download and run infected files to infect their own system without having to use advanced methods, exploits or hacking.

Today careful users pretty much could get by without any real-time antivirus just using Windows UAC, making sure to only download files from trusted sources and keeping their software updated.

Careless users will just waste money paying for a antivirus software because it can not protect them.

Enjoy!! :D


Level 27
Top poster
Jun 14, 2011
I think that AV is just a companion and not first line of defense anymore, because we have pretty cool sandboxes, hips, anti-exe and so on...
In my opinion we need to think about AV as a cleaning tool and not a realtime security and this direction need to all the AV vendors go.
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Deleted member 178

Umbra Polaris, CEO of Umbra Corporation, Developer of Umbra Total Security :

"indeed traditional AVs are dead, but my colleagues (and concurrents) hided the real truth; AV are dead not because malware-writers becomes more and more skilled and their creations polymorphic natures increase exponentially rendering every signature based products to null zero ; but because Umbra Total Security wipe all opponents and malwares ! yes this is the whole truth ! "

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