Is Antivirus Software the Virus?

So, what would happen if the world was suddenly rid of viruses and malware? Would the companies making millions (if not billions) of dollars from products and services aimed to keep you protected suddenly find themselves out of business? Isn’t in their best interest to make sure we’re vulnerable so that they can sweep in and protect us from harm?

Don’t you find it a bit odd that some of these companies sell protective tools that slow our systems down, but also sell products that will allegedly speed our systems up?

What if the leading anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware products were open source rather than commercial in nature? Peter Schwankl doesn’t necessarily think that’s a great idea…

I like your idea that all Anti-Virus should be free! A company is indeed selling the cure for the poison that appears. It’s just a vicious cycle. But then again, I think open source is a mistake. I would think that an open source version of an anti virus would cause problems with potential hackers having access to the source code of an anti-virus, causing two things to happen:

  1. Impossibly hard-to-crack AV programs
  2. Far more devastating virii

It should be said that an AV program, open or closed, can have a hacker gain access to the source code, but making it easier is like handing it to them. Because that’s what’s happening.

So therefore, I think AV programs do indeed need to be closed source, an open source community wouldn’t have the dedicated resources that a company does to produce consistent, worthwhile, and stable-running AV software. Also, like with the Vista situation right now, open source can have a VERY long turnaround time when crossing to new OSes, leaving people crossing over, especially from OEMs such as Dell, or HP that move to the newest OS immediately, without protection while it’s updated for a new OS, where as companies are given OS Dev kits in advance.

However, while they should NOT be open source, they should on the same note be free. I WILL NOT pay to cure the poison that is omnipresent.

Certainly, some level of protection is necessary – the world is filled with evil people who seek nothing but damage and destruction. But isn’t the cost of protection getting just a little out of hand? Seems to me there’s more antivirus products than virii in the wild (an unscientific observation, but I think my point is made).