Trend Micro: Don't buy anti-virus software

Only a handful of the top 10 security threats these days are viruses, so organizations are better off with the more complete protection of Internet security suites

A Trend Micro security product manager has recommended people not to buy anti-virus products, including his own. But there is a method to his madness, he assures.

David Peterson, consumer segment director for Trend Micro's ANZ business, said only a handful of the top 10 security threats these days are viruses, with downloaders, Trojans, keyloggers, and phishing scams filling up the list.

[ Learn how to secure your systems with Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog and newsletter, both from InfoWorld. ]

As such, he believes stand-alone AV software is best suited for infrequent users of the Internet such as dial-up users or those who want protection from nasties on USB keys.

"There is a niche for it, but there are also people outside that niche who are buying it."

He said stand-alone AV products are there because the market demands it. "I wish they wouldn't. I don't recommend buying anti-virus products," he said, referring to Trend Micro's and its competitor's products.

What is important is complete protection. "You are better off get Internet security suites," he said.

Peterson has support.

"Trend is correct," said Neil MacDonald, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

"Stand-alone AV is no longer sufficient for protecting end points; however, this does not mean that signature-based mechanisms don't provide value. They just don't provide the value they used to and the vendors haven't adjusted pricing models to reflect the diminished effectiveness of stand-alone AV," he said.

"The ideal end-point security product is an end-point security platform that provides organizations with a variety of styles of protection for end points -- firewalls, AV, anti-spyware, application control, device control, behavioral monitoring, and so on," MacDonald said. This enables organizations to pick and choose the styles of protection appropriate to the endpoint -- which will likely be different combination for desktops, laptops, and servers. Even among severs this will vary by role. "AV is just component of the end-point security platform."

Trend Micro joins a swag of security companies to release security suites this month. It claims Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security Pro 2009 is significantly faster than last year's effort. Others released in September include BitDefender Total Security 2009 and BullGuard Internet Security 8.5.

Computerworld Australia is an InfoWorld affiliate.

This story, "Trend Micro: Don't buy anti-virus software" was originally published by Computerworld Australia.