It’s over. Viruses are dead. Long live anti-virus software. We hardly knew ye. Well, as a Mac users, I hardly knew anti-virus apps, yes. But the darker side of the world is where malware lurks, right?
After 25 years of ignoring the cries and pleas of customers, Microsoft finally decided to do something about viruses and made Windows Defender– the built-in anti-virus app for Windows 10– as good as what used to cost money.
Says who? Mark Hachman:
You don’t need to pay for antivirus software anymore. Microsoft’s Windows Defender, a free service that’s built right into Windows 10, is now as good as the paid antivirus/antimalware solutions that have been collecting your money for years.
Does that mean that viruses are a thing of the past?
After all, I’ve been an Apple customer and a Mac user since long before The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, all the way back to when Macs actually caught and spread viruses, and I can tell you that I haven’t used anti-virus apps on a Mac in, well, I don’t remember the last time.
But not in this century.
Microsoft’s own Windows Defender Antivirus, built right into Windows 10 for free, often outperforms paid services. (Windows now lumps Windows Defender Antivirus underneath what it calls Windows Security, which includes Windows Firewall and other tools.)
That’s for Windows users. Not Mac users. But if viruses on Windows are declared dead thanks to Windows 10’s built-in security, and if the Mac hardly ever catches anything related to a virus, does that mean viruses are dead?
As usual, the answer is the standard “it depends.”
First, there is the age-old difference between malware and viruses. The latter is a subset of the former. Most anti-virus utilities do a good job of finding and ridding a PC or Mac of viruses but are less efficient and useful against, say, advertising malware.
Second, while Apple has about five times as many Mac customers as it did when Steve Jobs arrived again in 1997, you seldom hear much about Mac malware, even with more than 100-million Mac users. That should tell you something.
Malware remains a scourge but it rears the ugly hydra-head via ad malware and email phishing more than easily transmitted viruses of yesteryear.
With almost none getting past Windows 10 and Windows Defender, and almost none of the traditional viruses or malware on the Mac, it’s time to call it. Anti-virus apps are dead.