Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Will antivirus die in the post-PC era?

I'm seeing much more written about the demise of the PC and what will follow, including Microsoft's preparations for the a world without the PC. We'll talk more about the post-PC world in another post, but here we'll concentrate on the future of malware protection in an environment moving away from PCs. . 

It's a fact that more computer users are moving away from their PCs and Macs and getting much more use out of smart devices like the iPhone, iPad and Droids. This is especially true as it relates to surfing the web. On-Site Technical Solutions has moved and is moving more customers to virtual offices, either eliminating or greatly reducing the brick and mortar and networking costs for their businesses. 

Our business model continues to evolve along with the industry and smart devices and Internet Security as purchased software on a desktop is becoming less of a component of that model. 

Infoworld has an article discussing the future of malware protection at Will antivirus die in the post-PC era?

That article focuses on the enterprise, not individuals or small companies. Security costs at smaller companies are much less than in the enterprise. Microsoft now makes it's Security Essentials Internet security free for up to 10 seats. (Take advantage of that if you have not already.) That is bad news for the anti-malware vendors, good news for the consumer.  

The biggest failing of security systems and processes has always been the people involved, not the hardware and software itself. Thinking back on infections in their computers, most people (most, not all...) can point to something done to get the  computer infected. Visiting the wrong website, opening the wrong email attachment, logging into an insecure network. That is going to be more of a problem in the future, not less, as malicious hackers attempt to figure out ways to dupe the smart device users into giving up their data. 

Here's a quote from the article:
Instead of vulnerabilities, user ignorance will be the greatest weakness in the era of smartphones: Attackers will shift their focus from software vulnerabilities to vulnerable users.
That could mean big trouble for some individuals and companies, looking at the number of infected PCs in the US and the varying degrees of user sophistication. In the long run it's probably going to get more expensive protecting these new devices because it's going to require user training and enforced policies and procedures, even in smaller companies.  

In the meantime make sure your PC is protected and don't be too smug about the security of your Mac. Windows is actually safer than the Mac OS, but the hackers are still focused on the huge Microsoft world, not Macs. Several years and millions (billions?) of dollars after the much publicized Microsoft security failings they've actually gotten pretty good at it. Always be on the lookout for scams and phishing on all of your computing platforms. Common sense is still the best way to protect yourself. 
  1. Never give out your password, credit card or personal information unless you know exactly who you're giving it to.
  2. Don't visit sites unless you know them to be safe.
  3. The sites most likely to infect are pornography, gambling, file sharing and free game sites.
  4. Install and keep up-do-date Internet Security including a firewall on your PC. Then listen to the software when it tells you the site you're about to enter is not safe! 
It's a dangerous computing world and the sad truth is that it's up to you to be safe in your computing adventures. 

Visit On-Site Technical Solutions for information on how you can move to Google Apps or other Cloud Computing applications. We can also help you with your mobile computing. You should follow us on Twitter @MHBoys and become a fan on Facebook. Call or text me at 1-949-212-2168.

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