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Ex-Mozilla Engineer Warns: Installing Antivirus Software is a Bad Idea

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As a precautionary measure to combat computer viruses, we usually install anti-virus software. But this isn’t what a former Mozilla engineer wants you to do. He warns that this is just a bad idea.

A report by Ars Technica revealed that Robert O’Callahn, who was a Mozilla engineer, criticized third-party vendors, saying that they should not use antivirus software at all or uninstall it if they already are using these.

In a blog post, O’Callahan elaborates his unpopular opinion. “At best, there is negligible evidence that major non-MS AV products give a net improvement in security. More likely, they hurt security significantly; for example, see bugs in AV products listed in Google’s Project Zero,” he says.

Project Zero is a team from Google which is made to find security issues with commonly used software across the world. One of its biggest recent discoveries is the issues they found in Symantec/Norton’s products.

“These bugs indicate that not only do these products open many attack vectors, but in general their developers do not follow standard security practices,” he adds.

Source: Gurl



O’Callahan pointed out that third-party antivirus vendors do not follow “standard security practices”, and the nature of their practices are invasive and their code as “poorly-implemented”. This later creates the security issues for many browsers.

Another thing he pointed out is the fact that some antivirus solutions block Firefox updates, putting the blame to the creators of browsers.

“Several times AV software blocked Firefox updates, making it impossible for users to receive important security fixes. Major amounts of developer time are soaked up dealing with AV-induced breakage, time that could be spent making actual improvements in security,” he writes.

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He goes on to say that whenever the product, or browser, crashes on startup due to antivirus interference, the users usually point to the product rather than the antivirus software. Which is unfair.

He recommends, however, to have all PC stick with Microsoft’s Windows Defender and keep Windows 10 updated regularly, except if the PC runs Windows XP wherein O’Callahan admits that It might need some third-party help.

Source: Indian Express


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