A massive new study of virus software has found it “overwhelming” in its popularity among antivirus users, with the majority of those installing the software citing its ease of use, speed and low cost.
Researchers at the University of Ottawa and the University at Buffalo analysed the software of more than 5,000 antivirus vendors and found that a large majority of the software in the top 100 was developed by one company: Symantec.
Symantech, based in Redmond, Wash., is the biggest antivirus maker in the world with about 6 million users worldwide.
Symantsec was the only one of the three major vendors that was listed as having a share of the market, according to the study.
“It is incredibly popular in terms of usage,” said Andrew Lipsky, an antivirus researcher and senior software engineer at the Waterloo, Ont.-based University at Toronto.
“The overwhelming majority of users are using Symantek and not other vendors, and we’re seeing a massive uptick in usage from them.”
Among the most popular antivirus suites on the market were Avast, Avira, Kaspersky and McAfee.
But it wasn’t until this year that the popular Avast suite, which Symantebox and Avira were based on, came to the attention of researchers.
Lipski said Symantefox and its successors, like Kasperski, were “very popular” among antiviruses users.
LIPSKY: “Symantec, which has a very big foothold, is one of them.
That was the big thing that made it popular.
It’s not like there are many other companies that are competing.
It was like, ‘Oh my god, this is what I want.'”
The researchers found that the software had more than 1,000 features, many of which had been included in Symantegox’s other suites, including two new features that make it the most powerful and versatile of the big three: “Anti-Malware Optimization” and “Antivirus Configuration Manager.”
These two features let users tweak their antivirus settings and, for the first time, control the virus software they run.
The researchers also found that Symantewox and Symantemax were among the most widely used antivirus products, with more than 3 million and 1.7 million installs, respectively.
Lippsky said the popularity of these products was “really a shocker” and he wondered how much of the increase in usage was due to the increased number of users installing the SymantEC software.
“How could this software be so popular, so ubiquitous?” he asked.
“I don’t know.
It is really hard to say.”
The researchers say they don’t believe the rise of Symantepox and the rise in popularity of Kaspersk is due to any particular antivirus or software upgrade.
The two antivirus companies have been struggling in recent years.
SymAntec had its market value plunge, while Kasperska’s share of revenues declined by 40 per cent to just under half a billion dollars, according the report.
“This is a huge milestone,” said Dr. Bruce Schneier, an academic security researcher who helped found the security research firm CERT.
“If this was just a matter of popularity, I’d be a little surprised.
But this is really a massive leap in terms the way people interact with their computers.”
Symanteext is still the most used antiviracy software, but its market share has declined to just 3 per cent, from a high of 30 per cent in 2012.
Schneier said the report highlights a trend he said is already happening with the rise and popularity of viruses: “It’s very easy to say, ‘I’ll use a different antivirus.
I’ll switch over.’
The reality is, you’ll probably be using the same antivirus that’s being used in the marketplace for a very long time.”
Schneier and Lipskies researchers said they were unable to measure the impact of the rise or decline of antivirus-related software on the security of their clients.
But they said they hope the research will help inform antivirus researchers in the future.
The report comes just weeks after Symantect’s stock plummeted, closing at a record low.
“A number of antivirals are in decline and we expect this trend to continue,” said John McAfee, a researcher at the McAfee Research Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We are very concerned.
The report also found Symantesoft, the other big antivirus company, to have a share in the market that was “very low” compared with other companies. “
With Symantext and Kasperskin, there was a lot of hype and a lot more hype about them and I think that’s really going to die down in the near future.”
The report also found Symantesoft, the other big antivirus company, to have a share in the market that was “very low” compared with other companies.
“Symantsec is not as popular