It's called "doing a Ratner".
Gerald Ratner jokingly said that his products are total crap. And that some of the earrings were "cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long."
As a result, the company nearly collapsed.
But Brian Dye, a Symantec senior VP isn't joking. He's saying "antivirus is dead", and as evidence, he explains that their product stops less than half of attacks. To be accurate, he said that modern antivirus software only stops around 45 per cent of attack on computer systems and lets the rest through. But I think that he's talking about his own product; I believe that most other products do a lot better than that.
It'll be interesting to see what happens next. I know that if I were still in the AV business, I'd happily quote him at every opportunity. Will Symnatec go the way of Ratner the jewellers?
But how accurate is he?
I stopped using an antivirus a long time ago, because I couldn't see how it could work in a world where you would need daily updates, which means that each update is tested for ... how long? Not very long, obviously. Because these days, we're looking at around 100,000 new malware samples PER DAY. Or 200,000, depending on who you talk to.
I remember, a long time ago, in 1987, us AV people would phone each other up and speculate on when the next virus might appear. Or maybe the dozen that we'd seen, would be all there ever were. We called it the Great Drought, and it lasted a couple of months. Happy days!
Instead, I switched to Linux. There doesn't seem to be much malware for Linux. I don't know why. Some say it's because Linux's security is better, some say it's because fewer people use it. I'm not really bothered.
The last time I got a virus was over a decade ago. What happened, was I was using Windows, and I visited "The Register", a serious web site devoted to tech news, based in the UK. They outsourced their advertising, which was run off a server somewhere in Europe, and something happened to that server. As a result, I visited The Register, and (without me clicking on anything) using an "iframe exploit", something nasty was installed on my computer. I spent half an hour trying to get rid of it, then decided that the simplest solution would be to reformat my hard drive and reinstall ... and then I thought, I won't reinstall Windows, I'll go 100% Linux. And I did, and it worked, and I haven't had any trouble since then.
So anyway. If you're using Symantec antivirus (which is usually called "Norton antivirus", although it wasn't written by Peter Norton, but by David Chambers (and when I looked at the version 1.0 that he wrote 27 years ago, I fell about laughing), I think that Brian Dye, a Symantec senior VP, is suggesting that their product isn't really up to the job that you were hoping it would do, and maybe you need to switch to something else.
How about Dr Solomon's antivirus ?
Sadly, no. That 100% detection report was done in 1998. The world has changed since then.
But if you're still using Windows, I have no idea what you should switch to.