Symantec's headline-grabbing proclamations that anti-virus is "dead" have been branded a marketing stunt by rival Kaspersky Lab.
The endpoint security giant this week issued a brutal assessment of antivirus' shortcomings as it announced it is re-engineering its business to focus more on "detect and respond", rather than its traditional mantra of "protect".
But the comments stuck in the throat of Kaspersky senior security researcher Costin Raiu, who warned there is no "magic bullet" that can solve all the industry's ills.
Anti-virus in its traditional signature-scan form has been "dead for years" as the sole method of protection, he said in a blog post.
"So, you may have heard that anti-virus has been pronounced dead – again," he said.
"Usually, such ‘big' announcements are used when an IT security company wants to announce a ‘new' technology arriving," he added, arguing that Trend Micro had used the same tactics as far back as 2008 to promote its cloud security platform.
Symantec claimed that AV now catches just 45 per cent of cyberattacks, but Raiu said it was senseless to assess the issue in these terms.
Traditional AV has been replaced by a more sophisticated bundle of technologies combining heuristics, sandbox analysers, cloud reputation and white-listing technologies, Raiu added.
"Every major player today has already adapted to these trends. Actually, those who didn't adapt simply disappeared," he said.
"Many times new technologies have emerged which were supposed to become ‘magic bullets' to save the world from malware and make traditional (signature-based) anti-virus technology largely obsolete. However, it always becomes quickly apparent they're not magic bullets at all, and all that happens is that the new technologies are simply added to IT security companies' existing protection technologies, which in turn bolsters the level of security overall."
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