Researchers at the University of Cambridge have suggested that it would be much better for the UK to use the cash it spends on AV software on more resources to policing the internet instead.
The 'Measuring the cost of cybercrime' study by an international team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge found that the UK spends $1 billion on attack prevention and clean-up, including $170 million on antivirus. However the government only spends $15 million to internet law enforcement to finger the collar of hackers.
British people lose ten times that amount to the cybercriminals so it seems a bit light, the group argues.
Lead author Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory wrote that some police forces believe the problem is too large to tackle.
But the reality is that there are just a small number of gangs which lie behind many incidents.
It would be far more effective to identify the gangs and lock them up than it would be to tell the public to fit an anti-phishing toolbar or purchase antivirus software, he report said.
Professor Anderson and his team will present their findings in four days at the Workshop on the Economics of Information Security in Berlin, Germany. But the preliminary comment can be found here.