Keeping up with the latest in anti-virus and anti-malware news can be a challenge for even the most diligent IT professional. This Network World “Anti-virus/anti-malware cheat sheet” is designed to give you a leg up on the latest news, trends, analysis and opinion in this most critical of IT subject areas.
Even a bad AV technology can be valuable, because protection against, say, 30 percent of all threats is still a lot better than protection against 0 percent of all threats. However, besides the lousy protection, there's still plenty not to like about old-school AV technology.
At the RSA Conference in San Francisco, security vendors pitched their next-generation of security products, promising to protect customers from security threats in the cloud and on mobile devices. But what went largely unsaid was that the industry has failed to protect paying customers from some of today's most pernicious threats.
The big news at the show had to do with the takedown of the Mairposa botnet -- a massive network of hacked computers that has infected half of the Fortune 100 companies. So-called advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks, such as the one that compromised Google systems in early December, were another hot topic.
A lot of experts will warn you that running two such antivirus programs could cause problems. And they're right, provided the two programs are both resident. Resident programs remain running in the background, and resident antivirus programs check every file that comes into your PC or that you open. Having two programs constantly doing this is asking for trouble, or at least for a very slow PC.
Fake security software "SpywareGuard" and "AntiVirus" are said to be the top two scareware programs out of about 250 fake security programs detected, according to a Symantec report.
Google Hot Search topics are turning out to be a useful tool for security researchers at SonicWall who are trying to find URLs for malicious Web sites as well as signatures to help block the malware they contain. Under a month-old trial project that may become part of the routine malware search, the malicious code research team regularly finds infected sites among the top 100 returned by Google's real-time search engine for those Hot Search topics, says Nick Bilogorskiy, the manager of the team.
For the first time security researchers have spotted a type of malicious software that overwrites update functions for other applications, which could pose additional long-term risks for users. The malware, which infects Windows computers, masks itself as an updater for Adobe Systems' products and other software such as Java.
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The VirusTotal.com Web site offers a free but invaluable security service. It will scan any Web download, e-mail attachment or other file you send it with 40-odd different antivirus scanners to let you know whether it's safe for your computer. The free VirusTotal Uploader utility makes sending a file to the site a breeze by adding a new right-click option for any file.
Many malicious URLs are now invisible to URL filters and antivirus software alike, a web security company has found after conducting its own tests.
Web security company M86 Security pitted three leading but unnamed antivirus products against 15,000 malicious URLs and found that only 39 percent were successfully blocked. When they ran a second set of malicious URLs against a leading URL list the news was even worse. Only 444, or around 3 percent, were correctly identified.
Kaspersky Pure, as the company has named it, looks like an 'expert user' product that offers the simple convenience of a wide range of security-related tools in one integrated suite. The core of the product is identical in its antivirus and antispam capabilities to the company's Anti-Virus and Internet Security products, but it is the added 'do everything' extras that mark it out as different.
Protect your PC with the following four downloads and services, all free. We've also chosen four great no-cost antivirus apps.
Although some like to say "antivirus is dead" because of the explosion in malware that makes signature-based desktop protection harder than ever, start-up Immunet wants to bring new life to antivirus scanning through cloud computing. Founded by CEO Oliver Friedrichs, former director of emerging technologies at Symantec, Immunet is developing what Friedrichs calls "the next-generation antivirus product" that's based on a cloud-styled antivirus platform that will work with a fairly lightweight desktop agent to block and destroy malware. "Our goal is to re-invent the antivirus space."
Who's got the biggest cloud in the tech universe? Google? Pretty big, but no. Amazon? Lots and lots of servers, but not even close. Microsoft? They're just getting started.
When Microsoft announced the death of OneCare, I had a pretty good suspicion that wasn't the last we'd heard from Microsoft about anti-virus software. Microsoft doesn't just suddenly for no reason drop out of markets. Rather they stay at it until three or four versions down the road when they finally get it right.
Amit Yoran, security consultant and former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division, says that tools like antivirus software are effective for 25% to 40% of cyber threats. "It's necessary but inadequate," according to Yoran. A more effective approach to cyber security is to layer multiple complementary tools and solutions.
BitDefender Antivirus ($30 for a one-year, three-PC license) holds its own at dealing with malware, but its interface isn't especially user-friendly. Overall the program earned fourth place in our roundup of stand-alone antivirus programs.
Netgear's new security appliance takes on small-to-midsize business stalwarts such as Fortinet and Barracuda by including antispam, antimalware, and Web content filtering in a single unit that offers easy deployment and budget-preserving pricing.
A range of vendors chose RSA Conference 2010 to unveil their latest products. Here’s a slideshow featuring two dozen of the most interesting ones.
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This story, "Anti-virus/anti-malware cheat sheet" was originally published by Network World.