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Antiviruses are losing to virus attacks

12 April 2013

av-testA research by German scientists from the AV-Test information security institute revealed a drastic decrease of the efficiency of anti-virus tools. The research included the testing of 25 anti-virus tools for home use and 8 corporate products.

Anti-virus programs managed to block 92% of low-level attacks and clean 91% of infected systems, of which only 60% were able to operate normally.

Three out of 25 tested programs could not score high enough to get a security certificate: Microsoft Security Essentials, PC Tools and AhnLabs. Another corporate solution from Microsoft, Forefront, also didn’t score high enough in the tests.

A similar alternative research was conducted by a company called Imperva in late 2012 with similarly discouraging results: all anti-virus tools of the VirusTotal service successfully detected less than 5% of malware.

7.5-fold increase in viruses stealing personal data

29 March 2011

kaspersky labThe antivirus company Kaspersky Lab has announced that online fraudsters are showing  much greater interest in personal data.

In 2010 more than 1000 000 viruses, aimed at stealing this data, were added to Kaspersky Lab’s virus database. This is double the number for 2009 and compared to 2006, 7.5 times greater.

Most of these viruses are trojans which spy on an infected computer (Trojan-Spy, 135% increase for the year). Slightly behind these are viruses which steal log-ins and passwords (Trojan-PSW 94% growth) and those which try to steal banking system keys (Trojan-Banker 22% growth).

Millions of computers are attacked every day by malicious software. Many of them become infected and fall into the control of criminals. These computers, without their owners authorisation, are used by criminals to send spam and launch DDoS attacks, while data from these computers (including personal and confidential) can be used in any way and by anyone.

Trend Micro displeased with Microsoft’s MS Security Essentials in Windows Update

10 November 2010

MSE in Windows UpdateTrend Micro, a developer of commercial antivirus software, criticized Microsoft for its recent inclusion of the free MS Security Essentials antivirus tool into Windows Update, the standard update service in Windows operating systems.

A representative of Trend Micro stated that this update affected the interests of the company and forced users to switch to Microsoft’s antivirus solution without offering them any alternatives.

Microsoft retorts the charge and believes that the accusation is unjustified for a number of reasons.

  • The update will only be made available to users with no anti-virus tools installed at all. This update runs a special check to identify them.
  • Users always have a choice — even critical OS updates can be skipped.
  • The update containing MS Security Essentials is marked as optional and will not be installed without the user’s permission.

Microsoft remains confident that this type of free antivirus tool distribution will help users that have no opportunity or time to look for and install alternative antivirus software.

This conflict appeared to be quite unexpected, considering that Microsoft is a client of Trend Micro — their antivirus solutions are used in some Microsoft’s services. It should be noted, however that it’s not the first time Trend Micro has expressed dissatisfaction with free antivirus products: in 2008, the company sued ClamAV developers for breaching patent rights for a method of checking files over FTP. This lawsuit initiated by Trend Micro was condemned by the Open Source and Free Software Foundation (FSF) communities.

Symantec Ubiquity — a new anti-malware tech

19 October 2010

Symantec has release Ubiquity — a brand new technology against evolving malware.

Traditional threat detection approaches (semantic analysis and matching against virus signatures) proved to be ineffective against self-changing polymorphic or less spread viruses. Such viruses present a considerable security threat: in 2009, Symantec had detected over 240 millions unique instances of malware, many of which were represented with only a single copy.

New technology is an attempt to solve two issues with modern algorithms at once:
inability to fight against kind of threats mentioned above, and low performance speed. The core of new solution is Global Intelligence Network (GIN), which stores data about all applications launched by Ubiquity technology users. Based on this data, the system creates software ratings — a white list for trusted software and a black list for suspicious software. By now, the system already has ratings for 1.5 billion files and this number increases by 22 million per week. Symantec claims that the solution outperforms any other antivirus scanners since it excludes files trusted according to GIN.

Symantec researches cloud computing services for over 2 years and Ubiquity technology is most likely to become a way to incorporate long developed Quorum technology into Norton 2011 and Hosted Endpoint protection products. Furthermore, it’s planned to extend applications of this technology by using it in Symantec Web Gateway and other Symantec corporate solutions.

It’s worth noting that similar cloud computing logic is used in Kaspersky Software since 2009. It’s called “Kaspersky Security Network” and it has proved to be effective.