The pros and cons of antivirus software

AV may not get much respect from security pros, but average users probably shouldn't dump it.

Antivirus programs get a lot of disrespect these days. Many security experts do without them because of their reactive nature, but does that mean that average users should discontinue using them? CSO magazine's Bill Brenner takes a look at both the shortcomings of today's AV programs and the reasons many users should still use it.

Security pros complain that AV programs don't offer much advance protection, and they increase the "attack surface" immensely. There are a wide variety of alternative ways computers can be protected, but it may not be practical to expect non-security pros to apply them. Limiting web browsing, filtering email and applying a thorough understanding of what is safe to do on the computer can help ensure a secure system. 

But as Brenner points out, those without the skills and knowledge of security experts can probably use the help of an AV program, despite its flaws."For me, imperfect AV software remains better than none at all," he writes. "I don't trust myself to go without it, and my company wouldn't allow it anyway."

For more:
- see Bill Brenner's post at CSO

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