Ex-Mozilla Staffer warns Antivirus Software could just be as Bad as the Viruses you’re running away from

Ex-Mozilla Staffer warns Antivirus Software could just be as Bad as the Viruses you’re running away from

Guess what! Those antiviruses you have on your PC thinking they are protecting you, could be doing you more harm than good.

So says Robert O’Callahan, an ex-developer at Mozilla in a recent stunning post on his blog post. O’Callahan advises that if you are running an up-to-date Windows on your PC, then you need no additional (non-Microsoft) security software.

O’Callahan left Mozilla about a year ago, and he writes that there is little evidence to show non-Microsoft antivirus software does the job they say they do; protecting your PC. O’Callahan cites the recent Google’s Project Zero security team’s findings. The plethora of bugs discovered by the Project Zero such as the command execution flaw identified in Trend Micro software.

That according to O’Callahan goes to show that these widely used antivirus software make PC vulnerable to attacks. In the post, O’Callahan, writes:

“Now that I’ve left Mozilla for a while, it’s safe for me to say: antivirus software vendors are terrible; don’t buy antivirus software, and uninstall it if you already have it (except, on Windows, for Microsoft’s).

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. 

These bugs indicate that not only do these products open many attack vectors, but in general their developers do not follow standard security practices. (Microsoft, on the other hand, is generally competent.)”

O’Callahan further adds that poorly implemented codes in these 3rd party antivirus software sometimes make it impossible for users to update browsers. Leaving users more exposed to online security threats, without the possibility of getting a patch via browser update.

For example, back when we first made sure ASLR was working for Firefox on Windows; many AV vendors broke it by injecting their own ASLR-disabled DLLs into our processes. 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 (recent-ish example).”

O’Callahan warns that 3rd party antivirus make your PC bloated and slow. As much as he has an issue with 3rd party antivirus software, O’Callahan advises users still using early version of Windows. To keep their antiviruses, as he can only vouch for the latest and most up-to-date version of Windows; that would be Windows 10 and one that gets frequents updates from Microsoft.

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