Ex-Mozilla Engineer Warns Users Not to Use Anti-Virus Software

Most of us realize that having an anti virus software installed on your pc/laptop is as normal as having an OS installed. Its like one can’t go without the other and most people consider an anti virus software a necessity.

A former Mozilla engineer,  Robert O’Callahan, seems to disagree. He has openly said that you should not use third party anti virus software or uninstall it if you are already using one.

On the other hand, he deems Windows Defender which comes pre-installed with Windows 10 better than the other anti virus software.

Windows Defender The Unlikely Hero?

In his blog post, he says that you should stick with Microsoft’s own Windows Defender and that you should regularly update Windows to keep the Defender up to date.

He adds:

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.

It should be mentioned here that Google’s Project Zero is a team of security engineers that look for vulnerabilities and security issues in software. The team found major issues in Symantec’s Norton anti virus which is very popular among the general public.

Create More Problems Than They Solve

O’Callahan blames the companies behind third party anti-virus software for not following standard security practices. He called Microsoft better than these third party anti virus software makers. These anti-virus software create problems thanks to their invasive policies and badly implemented code which creates security issues for web browsers.

It “hooks itself” to other software on your computer and at times with your OS’s kernel.

Wastes Developer Time

Some of these block Firefox’s updates (Mozilla’s poster child) which makes people think that the web browser is to blame and not their anti virus.

O’Callahan explains that:

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.

He says that when your web browser crashes on starting up, users blame the browser and not the anti-virus which is the real problem. O’Callahan argues that most of the developers’ time is used up circumventing anti-virus software and that the vendors of these anti-virus software refuse to cooperate with them as well.

To sum it all up together, O’Callahan thinks that third party anti virus software is mostly bad and that users should rely on Microsoft’s Windows Defender that comes with Windows 10.

Via Indian Express

A techie, Overwatch and Street Fighter enthusiast, and Editor at ProPakistani.


  • I’ve used almost every antivirus from Avast to Kaspersky, from Norton to Bitdefender. As per my experience, not a single antivirus is perfect if you don’t know how to keep protected yourself from viruses. You will never find an antivirus that can catch shortcut viruses in the pendrive.

    It means you have to take care of yourself by not opening the file directly in the pendrive rather use explorer. You have to use USB Disk Security that deletes autorun files immediately after it’s inserted. Then scan with Bit Defender Total Security 2017.

    The same goes for browsing. If you’re so addicted to downloading illegal stuff like cracked software, pirated movies there are many sites that say to download a small application, when you download your browser gets hijacked. You’re being watched. It doesn’t matter which antivirus you’re using. I don’t want to use Bit Defender and USB Disk Security because I know how to keep myself safe, but the laptop has to be used by my class mates sometimes who don’t know about such stuff. In this regard, antiviruses help. If you know such stuff, you don’t need an antivirus, believe me. If you’re a novice, keep using.

    • Antivirus is good for novice users but a heavy load for advanced users – making the PC slow.
      Here are a few tips to avoid viruses…
      1. Don’t use ‘Administrator’ user account in Windows. Instead, make a restricted user account for normal usage. This way, a virus can attack only this user and not the whole system. Admin account can be used to delete an infected user profile anytime in case of virus attack.
      2. Disable auto-run so that pendrive/usb stick cannot install a virus automatically.
      3. Select the pendrive from explorer tree view instead of double clicking the drive icon.
      4. Use a Virtual Machine to try a software instead of installing on physical system.

      • I agree to your point 1, points 2 and 3 can be done via USB Disk Security as I already explained. Using a virtual machine would take a lot of time rather use Sandboxie in which you can test any software without being infected the system – no matters how dangerous it might be. It acts like four walls around the software so that it cannot affect just by right clicking, run as Sandboxie and see the magic.

        • Agreed, its easy to use an app (USB Disk Security) but I personally prefer to avoid lot of apps on my PC. Have not tried Sandbox yet, will try it now, Thanks.

    • MSE or Defender works best with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware + some tools (if you’re infected) from Bleeping Computer.

  • Defender works most of the time. Used Malwarebytes for a while but its annoying notification while running utorrent made me uninstall it. Mostly I open pendrives using winrar. And I have never have shortcut virus problem. And I download only verified torrents and reading comments before downloading helps as well.

  • Title: “Ex-Mozilla Engineer Warns Users Not to Use Anti-Virus Software”
    But I should inform windows defender is also an anti virus, title suggests like we shouldn’t use any anti virus.
    So now this ex mozilla engineer is working with microsoft? :D
    No anti virus is perfect neither is defender, but to me Eset is the best anti virus I have ever used, you only need to disable them while working on anything important like setting up development environments & so, otherwise they provide peace of mind.

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