Is Current Antivirus Enough?

There is a general argument currently being broadcast that Anti-Virus software has ‘had its day’ because the pace of virus releases is outstripping the capabilities of Anti-Virus software Vendors to issue updates to counteract them.  It is getting to the point when you would need to update your Virus database minute by minute! (a recent study by Panda Security, based in Bilbao, Spain, detects an average of 37,000 new viruses, worms, Trojans and other security threats per day!)

Look, if you said to me that folk should stop wasting their money on stand-alone anti-virus applications then I may agree with you to some point. The one thing that is outmoded is the term ‘anti-virus’.

Precisely speaking, the main online threat isn’t called a virus, a more suitable term should be ‘malware’ and it is time we started to conform to this new term.

Online threats consist of viruses, adware, key-loggers and trojans, all residing under the common term of spyware.

I understand the term ‘anti-virus’ is a heavily marketed term and when you mention the term ‘anti-virus’ to PC illiterate and green users they know precisely what you are talking about, but when you talk about ‘malware’ they often give you that glassy stare, you know, the kind of stare that screams ‘What the hell are you speaking about?!’.

Most anti-virus applications now offer protection against malware and other spyware related threats as well, so it is really daft to keep calling them anti-virus applications, they are essentially anti-malware applications.,

The older definition based anti virus protection is pretty much over as the latest anti-malware solutions are moving towards behavior based detection, however it would be suicidal to scrap anti-virus solutions just because of the fast evolution of new threats.

Scrapping your anti-virus solution would be reckless and plain dumb, just like exclaiming we should stop patching the security issues in software and leave them un-patched because the threats exploiting these failings are developing way too fast.

Should we stop installing security systems in our homes because new, more advanced burglars are born each day? If you can protect your system against known threats why not do it?

It’s correct, spyware develops much faster than the anti-malware solutions, but known malicious software gets recycled on the internet time after time. Protecting yourself against a known variant means you cannot be attacked by it again and trust me it is not uncommon to be attacked by the same variant frequently. This means antivirus software still plays an urgent role in your defense against malicious software, it also implies that anti virus program engineers are still detecting new threats at a particularly high rate.

New variants may infect a lot of PCs before they get noted, but once the anti-virus sellers release an up to date signature file to all their users, they are at least constraining the dissemination of the spyware and forestalling uninfected users from getting infected.

Scrapping anti-virus solutions means systems are left insecure, and if infected they could, for instance, be making a contribution to the processing power of bot networks like ‘hurricane’ (a gaming network bot), without your knowledge or consent, if nothing else this could use up your available bandwidth and slow down your computer.

At least an infected system can be cleaned once a new variant has been detected, thus you are pro-actively taking a bot network down bit by bit and making it tougher for the malware to spread any further. Remember, an infected machine becomes a distributor for new variants of the malware. Murdering a known variant means you are forestalling it from mutating and spreading.

It is true, the debate that the value of anti-virus software is declining is hogwash.  Improve it, don’t just scrap it, giant companies should stop putting reckless ideas into the minds of ordinary users, they should stop the throw-away-your-anti-virus-program-and-buy-our-software kind of selling. The internet is dangerous enough as it is, so don’t go encouraging folk to throw away their anti-malware applications, not even in today’s arena of sophisticated malware attacks. Anti-malware applications are frequently the sole line of defence that is’s available to beginner net users.

Right now the best thing you can do is be sure to run industry leading Anti Virus Anti-Malware Software, preferably with full firewall capability, and encrypt your online activities through a respected anonymous proxy server.

 

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