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Modern antivirus software is no longer effective, according to one former Mozilla software engineer.
In fact, it’s so ineffective that you should uninstall your antivirus software immediately – unless you’re using one specific antivirus software program.
Mozilla software engineer Robert O’Callahan, self-described “Christian, repatriate Kiwi, hacker” uploaded a blog post called “Disable Your Antivirus Software (Except Microsoft’s)”.
In that post, Robert claimed that “there is negligible evidence that major non-MS AV products give a net improvement in security” and that it’s more likely “they hurt security significantly”.
As proof, Robert cites Google’s Project Zero, which is dedicated to finding zero day bugs in software products – including antivirus software. When you install antivirus software, you’re exposing yourself to more zero day bugs.
Why Should You Install your Antivirus Software?
Overall, Robert brings up three main reasons to uninstall your antivirus software, including:
- AV Vendors Don’t Follow Standard Security Practices: Zero day exploits are common in the antivirus software industry.
- AV Products Poison the Software Ecosystem: Antivirus software introduces its own security platform to a PC, which makes it difficult for browser developers and other software developers to create their own security environments. You know how your antivirus software sometimes flags Chrome or other innocent software as a virus? These are the kinds of problems Robert is referring to. Robert specifically mentions that when Firefox implemented antivirus protection on Windows, antivirus software makers broke the feature by injecting rogue DLLs into the browser’s process. Other antivirus products blocked the security updates for no apparent reason.
- Software Vendors Rely on Cooperation from Antivirus Vendors, Making it Difficult to Speak Out: The fact that Robert is a former Mozilla engineer is important here. He claims that software engineers don’t often speak out about these security issues because they depend on cooperation to be successful. He claims to have been silenced by Mozilla’s PR team multiple times after identifying problems with antivirus software makers.
Chrome Security Engineer Speaks Out
Robert O’Callahan isn’t the only major industry name to speak out against antivirus software. Justin Schuh, a security engineer for Google Chrome, also made headlines recently for issuing a long lines of tweets against the entire antivirus industry, calling antivirus “my single biggest impediment to shipping a secure browser”.
You can view Schuh’s Twitter thread here.
Robert claims Microsoft’s Windows Defender is the only antivirus software that’s safe to install. As far as we can tell, Robert was not paid by Microsoft to say this.
Robert claims Microsoft engineers are the only ones who are “generally competent”. Even so, he’s only “somewhat accepting” of their antivirus product.
You can confirm you’re covered by Windows Defender, or download the latest version of the software, from here. Alternatively, download Total System Care, which works in a different way from antivirus software to protect your PC from all angles.