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The big antivirus players could soon be in some serious trouble

Antivirus Software
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The $2 billion global antivirus market may be huge, but its size doesn’t necessarily guarantee its survival, a new report has hinted.

After surveying almost 1,000 U.S. adults, Security.org found faith in the effectiveness of antivirus software dropped, as did overall usage, with first-time subscriber numbers cut in half.

The report states that of all the consumers polled for the report, just 2% had started using an antivirus program in the last 12 months, down from 5% mere three months ago.

At the same time, the percentage of users who said they don’t plan on getting antivirus software in the next six months rose, from 61% in November 2021, to 75% in January.

However, usage still remains high. More than three-quarters of adults in the States (77%) currently use antivirus software, and of those, a quarter (24%) have it on their smartphones. 

Approximately 30.5 million households have free antivirus protection on their computers, while 49.8 million are using a paid version. While the free version arguably does its job well, paying users were 17% less likely to experience breakthrough viruses or malware over the past 12 months. 

What’s more, paying users were more likely to find their software very effective, compared to those opting for the free versions (36% and 24% respectively).

In January 2022, roughly two in five (40%) of those without an antivirus solution were open to installing it on their endpoints in the next six months, up from 25% a year ago. These were most interested in solutions that also come with identity theft protection, firewalls, or VPNs.

“Perhaps emboldened by enhanced patching and updates, or dissuaded by doubtful experts, a telling number of consumers dropped antivirus protection and questioned its effectiveness over the past year,” the report concluded. 

“As emerging dangers threaten security, privacy, cloud data, crypto trading, and cell phones, there will be cybersecurity companies poised to woo open-minded consumers. Those offering full slates of effective affordable services should fare particularly well.”

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.