Does Anti-Malware really work?

I’ve been off taking care of business, but an article crossed my desk that I could not help sharing. The Wall Street Journal reported

“Software designed to block malicious actors from infiltrating networks is no longer viable and enterprises need to transition to new cybersecurity strategies focused on identifying threats and mitigating damages, according to the company that put antivirus software on the map. Brian Dye, senior vice president for information security at Symantec, says even the best antivirus software can now only intercept less than half of all malware, which is prompting the company to shift its focus on new products that help companies detect and respond to breaches.
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)

Many of my colleagues, me included, have thought that Symantec AntiVirus had been living off its reputation and no longer really worked in the SMB marketplace. From our perspective, the code had gotten too bloated and had too large of an impact on the performance of user workstations. Additionally, the just did not seem to find the malware that other options found. Now they are basically admitting that they have not done a great job and have given up.

This may be in reaction to the Target and other similar break-ins that have happened over the last few months. And it may be a reaction to the change in the legal environment’s view of what responsibilities an anti-malware provider really has. And it may have nothing to do with any of these occurances.

IT should be noted that anti-malware has always been a reactive science; you can never perfectly predict what a person will do, you can only report what they have done. Malware creation is no longer a hobby, but a real profession with real monetary rewards.

Does this mean that you should just forget about keeping your anti-malware up to date, or even run it on your machine? Just ask anyone how has done this. Ask them how well their machine runs, or should I say crawls.

I think that this is just a case of a company that was not doing the best job out there decided to cut its losses and move to another segment where it thinks it can do better.