[LINK] European computer virus stats

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Wed Feb 9 09:42:19 AEDT 2011

On 09/02/2011, at 9:17 AM, Ivan Trundle wrote:
> 'Almost one third of internet users in the European Union caught a PC virus despite the majority having security software installed, statistics show.'
> This implies to me that anti-virus software is a joke, or mostly irrelevant. Or am I missing something int he statistics?

If we assume for the moment that the writer is using "PC virus" to include all kinds of malware, including trojans, then the number is probably about right. Traditional signature-based anti-virus simply can't be updated fast enough to keep pace with all malware, and of course it can't defend against people clicking on "OK" to install some random piece of software they stumbled across.

That doesn't make such traditional anti-virus irrelevant, since there are still threats that it defends against. It simply means that it isn't enough by itself. That's why the major security vendors are all talking about real-time analysis of activity, and stressing that their new products monitor in real time what people are accessing via the web -- which is a far more important attack vector these days that email-borne viruses.

Of course such real time monitoring, which involves reporting URLs visited and sometimes even actual content downloaded back to a security vendor's mothership, triggers the privacy-invasion alerts. However this kind of traffic analysis is proving to be more effective, apparently.

I daresay I'll be writing more about all this during and after next week's RSA Conference in San Francisco...


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