Consumers and businesses still need antivirus software

Despite advances in OS and browser security, antivirus software is still the best defense against cybercriminals who exploit computers and mobile devices.

Happy International Computer Security Day!

Over the years, web standards have improved and the security of operating systems and browsers have become better prompting discussions about the need for security software (often called antivirus or AV protection). Despite the comforting advances, computer (and now mobile and IoT) security is very much in the mind of consumers and businesses due to high profile hacks on companies including Yahoo! and LinkedIn and mobile vulnerabilities that put billions of devices at risk.

To gauge people’s thoughts on the safety and privacy of their online data, Avast surveyed 1,000 people and found that:

  • People are most concerned that their personal data (83 percent) and financial data (74 percent) are being collected by businesses and the government.
  • Two-thirds of people said they are worried that their data is being shared without their knowledge.
  • Banks (66 percent) and businesses (73 percent) are seen as having more responsibility than the government for keeping their customers’ private data safe.
  • However, only four in ten thought that businesses demonstrated sufficient responsibility.

“Today, everything is smart: smart phones, watches, thermostats, and TVs are established in our homes and businesses, and they transformed our personal and work lives into digital environments,” said Avast CEO Vince Steckler before an audience of political and industry leaders from at the Think Digital summit on 29 November in Brussels. “As the ‘real’ world increasingly merges with a digital world, cybercriminals take advantage of it to exploit new ways of making money, such as stealing personal and business data, gaining access to people’s bank accounts, harvesting and selling personal information, and demanding ransoms in return for valuable data.”

Current malware is often disguised as legitimate applications, malicious Android apps sneak by protocols of the huge download sites, and home and business networks are being attacked via weakly protected routers. “These days, cybercrooks have to make business driven-decisions like the rest of us because their resources are limited,” said Ondrej Vlcek, Avast’s chief technology officer. “Threats are targeting desktop and mobile devices, as well as accounts and routers.”

Mobile usage now represents 65 percent of all digital media time, with mobile apps dominating that usage. Hackers know valuable data is stored on people’s phones, and they increasingly find new ways to attack mobile users.

The most common mobile threats are adware packaged as fun gaming apps that provide little value and spams users with ads. But recently attacks, like the backdoor that affected 3 million budget Android devices, and the mobile banking Trojan, GM Bot, which displays an overlay that looks nearly identical to banking apps’ login pages,  allow hackers to gain access to bank accounts or have complete control over a device.

Because these threats exist, putting your security and privacy at risk, security protection is definitely still needed. As we said back in 2014 when the death of antivirus was greatly exaggerated, antivirus and the additional services are a necessity in today’s insecure environment, for consumers and enterprise.



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