back to article 'Small' upheaval at McAfee, not many fired

Intel-owned security firm McAfee is planning to lay off some of its 7,000-strong global workforce, a company spokesman in the US has said. The No 2 maker of antivirus software would not give any further details about the planned redundancies, only admitting that a "small percentage" of staff would be axed. The US spokesman …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "With interest in traditional personal computers waning worldwide, software firms that offer desktop protection against malware are suffering."

    This seems to be a bit of a leaping to conclusions. Might not the fact that both McAfee and Symantec's offerings are crap (and killed on sight by many PC techs) also be a factor?

    1. Lee Dowling

      God, I know for a fact that I just remove stuff like that from machines, even if it comes bundled, on first sight. And when people ask "Is there something cheaper to renew each year?" I go out of my way to put them on better and usually free AV and get rid of whatever they have.

      I work in a school. The other week, I got my usual email that I get from my systems, which lists the domains of websites that people have visited using the school systems that week. We list it by number of visits, so the top one is more frequent and the bottom one, some several thousand entries down, is usually single IP's or CDN's. I spotted a URL in there, right at the bottom. God, I nearly had a heart attack. Had to go track the machine down and flush it out. Turned out to be an ancient laptop that someone had found from somewhere.

      To be honest, personal software firewalls / AV etc. are more than catered for by freeware. And as I like to point out to people, I've never seen a paid-for AV spot anything that a free one didn't, or clean it up any better (if at all!), and in fact VirusTotal will show you that for any file just about 70% of all antivirus packages out there will totally miss it.

      The difference is, it's a real nightmare to stop Symantec / McAfee software running and get it off the PC when you do need to and it bugs the hell out of you. And, of course, they expect you to pay for it at some point.

      I don't think interest in traditional PC's is waning worldwide, and I certainly don't think that anti-malware writers are suffering because of that even if it is. They're suffering because people are slowly realising that they are nothing but a miner's canary anyway, cost the earth, bug the hell out of you, stick to machines and won't let go, and slow the machine down by ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      So true

      The amount of issues we have with McCrap software running on pcs in unreal. Bloated system hogs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So true

        I occasionally get the odd computer in that has so many viruses that it's stopped working and it's been my SOP for many years:

        Step 1- Get off the net

        Step 2- Uninstall anything by McAffee or Symantec

        Step 3- Terminate the more obviously distressing running processes, services and startup entries

        Step 4- Install security software you like (obviously this varies from tech to tech...I go with Avira, Winpatrol, PC Tools firewall, Malwarebytes and Spybot)

        Step 5- Update and scan all the things

        Step 6- If there's still anything nasty in there, get the heavy lifting kit out.

        Step 7- Receive applause and money from grateful client

        Step 8- Off to the pub with ill-gotten gains*

        * NOTE: If it's a netbook with a decent battery life, the whole process can be done from the pub, if you have a pre-prepared USB stick full of tools and wifi at the pub.

        1. Anonymous Coward 101

          Re: So true

          But McAfee is LESS THAN HALF PRICE from Argos - it's a bargain!

        2. Lee Dowling

          Re: So true

          "* NOTE: If it's a netbook with a decent battery life, the whole process can be done from the pub, if you have a pre-prepared USB stick full of tools and wifi at the pub."

          And if ever people wondered why I get paranoid about not plugging into public Wifi, there's your answer.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So true

          There's no way to be certain you've cleaned a malware infested PC. The only way to be certain is to delete the partitions and boot sector, and reinstall the o/s from scratch. Then service pack it off-line, enable the o/s firewall, and then the moment it's connected to the net, do a Windows Update.

          Immediately thereafter, install a decent AV product (such as AVG Free) and update the definitions.

          Only at this point should you connect to any other website or open any previously saved documents/files/pictures.

          This is NOT an over-reaction. To reiterate - you cannot clean all malware once you've been infected, even with tools like malwarebytes/spybot. Most of the really nasty ones are more than capable of hiding from them and the o/s and reinfecting the machine at whim.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So true

            >And if ever people wondered why I get paranoid about not plugging into public Wifi, there's your answer.

            As far as I know, most malware goes directly to it's controller...I don't know of any that sidejack.

            >There's no way to be certain you've cleaned a malware infested PC. The only way to be certain is to delete the >partitions and boot sector, and reinstall the o/s from scratch.

            Good point. If there's a rootkit, you're pretty well hosed. You can, of course, use wireshark to see what the machine is broadcasting; but you'd have to watch it for quite a while to be sure. Formatting/partitions/boot sector is by far the better choice. But sometimes you have to get into the machine to save what data you can.

  2. Thomas 4


    McAfee used to be a pretty decent AV system a few years back - it was fairly nippy and didn't ask for too much in the way of system resources to run. These days, it seems to have become a rather bloated monster, like Norton. Maybe by trimming some of the fat from their personnel, some of the fat may be trimmed from the software too. Although it's never cool to see a hard working person lose their job. =/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      but really, which one of them HASN'T become bloated beyond recognition? 100 Mb and more of an install exe is the "norm" nowaday. And then you see all those "extra features", with a promise of a "total" (yeah, right) online protection. Would it be that they can't improve the core of their business, i.e. virus detection rates? Nosir, it's because the nature of the modern threat has diversified, blah, blah, blah, so we provide the blah blah blah our customers want. No, wait, this was a justification of why we get crappy tv, right? :(

      1. Katie Saucey

        Re: Hmm

        MS Essentials seems OK. In my experience most end users trust it more than other "free" products just because it comes straight from MS download/win update, this seems to put it on par with pay products in their minds (overcomes the "must be better because it cost so much" syndrome).

  3. Bert 1


    My annual subscription for 4 home PCs is up for renewal in November.

    I have already begun uninstalling in order to switch to AVG free,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uninstalling@Bert 1

      I haven't checked the latest AVG version, but after running it for some years abandoned it because it had become a bloatdog. Not as bad as McAffee and the like, but nothing like the lean beast it had been - slowed the machine, nagged to upgrade, and too large an install for my comfort. I'd suggest sticking with MSE, although YMMV.

  4. James 100

    Triple whammy

    They are probably being squeezed from three directions now. Yes, people are putting more of their money into non-PC devices (tablets etc) these days, but the fact their products are both expensive and crap will eat into sales too (particularly with even Microsoft leaping on the 'free AV' bandwagon).

    Thirdly I imagine BYOD-type trends will be eroding their sales further; my own university just renewed McAwful, but it was a close-run thing this time. The contract allows staff and students to install it on their own machines too, but I'm quite sure that option is less popular than it used to be.

  5. Magister


    I'm working at a place where the corporate decision was to use McAfee - and added to that, they are using an intrusion prevention software (on each host). The amount of time that is wasted every day because of the poor system performance amounts to about 30 hours just for the one site just on startup every morning.

    I stopped using it at my last place 5 years ago - and it's not got any better in the mean time, if anything it seem to be worse. Truly awful product.

    1. PeterM42
      Thumb Down

      Re: Pain

      Which is why it is known as McCRAPAfee.

  6. MissingSecurity

    I assume this has to do with...

    Intel's "great" idea to bake "security" on a chip. According to the Intel chick from our latest junkit, the next wave of Intel chips will come complete with all the greatness that is McAfee backed right on to the chip. It will in her words "revolutionize" how we think of security.

    1. Katie Saucey
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I assume this has to do with...

      McAfee baked on the chip? Soo it's got 1024 cores and clocks 10 THz?

    2. Anonymous IV

      Re: I assume this has to do with...

      "Revolutionise how we think of security?"

      It will make people think of AMD.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would...

    ... rather have a virus than install McCrappy or Nortbomb.

    It would be easier to resolve and remove.

  8. Tom from the States

    Free AV abounds and a Windows 7 firewall suffices.

    Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG, and Anti-Vir are all capable replacements.

  9. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Good grief I have just scrolled most of the way through a Windows userfest

    Why oh why do people do that?

  10. PeterM42

    Intel paid how much?...........

    ..........$7.7bn for McCRAPAfee!!!! - I could have saved them the money in my role as IT Business Consultant and advised them not to pay more than a Fiver (and I am not talking Billions or Millions!).

    And, yes agreed fellow commentards, AVG anti-virus IS the dog's b*****ks.

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