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Performance and other drawbacks


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Performance and other drawbacks

Antivirus software has some drawbacks, first of which that it can impact a computer's performance.

Furthermore, inexperienced users can be lulled into a false sense of security when using the computer, considering themselves to be invulnerable, and may have problems understanding the prompts and decisions that antivirus software presents them with. An incorrect decision may lead to a security breach. If the antivirus software employs heuristic detection, it must be fine-tuned to minimize misidentifying harmless software as malicious (false positive).

Antivirus software itself usually runs at the highly trusted kernel level of the operating system to allow it access to all the potential malicious process and files, creating a potential avenue of attack. The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agencies, respectively, have been exploiting anti-virus software to spy on users. Anti-virus software has highly privileged and trusted access to the underlying operating system, which makes it a much more appealing target for remote attacks. Additionally anti-virus software is "years behind security-conscious client-side applications like browsers or document readers", according to Joxean Koret, a researcher with Coseinc, a Singapore-based information security consultancy

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