Old-school anti-virus is no longer the best protection

by | Sep/28/2011

Anti-virus sounds like a great feature, right? But anti-virus can be ineffective in fighting newer threats.

For years, anti-virus tools attempted to detect viruses by looking for known “signatures.” Think of the “signatures” as a thumbprint of a virus. The anti-virus tools look for those thumbprints and the anti-virus vendors constantly update “signature” files in an effort to keep up with the thumbprints of all new viruses.

These days, some viruses can “morph” at regular intervals—keeping their same dangerous functionality and avoiding the signature matching. An analogy would be someone being able to change their thumbprint one or more times each day.

Over the years anti-virus has evolved to include new ways to stop viruses. One way is to watch for dangerous behavior. The problem here is for the anti-virus tool to be able to discern if the dangerous behavior is being performed by a legitimate process or a virus.

Anti-virus vendors are constantly playing the “cat and mouse” game of keeping up with new virus strategies. This is one more reason to always stay current with the latest anti-virus offerings available.

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