Friday, August 12, 2011

Antivirus software is dead

Antivirus software is dead.

Oh, the good old days w/ Norton.
And it had such a sweet, short life.  For a decade or more, there was no argument that a your basic AV software package like Norton Antivirus or Mcafee Antivirus was all you needed to fight off a relatively small (under 250,000) group of viruses.

What we have now, though, is an unimaginable, unbelievably huge mess. The number of known, documented "regular" computer viruses topped one million in 2008. Now, a short 3 years later, most simple antivirus products are aware of over thirteen million virus signatures.

Here's a very depressing quote from Trend Micro's 2009 "Threat Roundup" Executive summary: vendors collected 1,738 unique threat samples in 1988.   [...]Ten years later, the number of unique malware samples had risen to 177,615. [Now,] on average, over 2,000 new, unique malware threats hit the Internet every hour. It now takes less than a week to produce the entire malware output of 2005.

(Yes, it's a few years old, but it's a good read, if this subject matter is interesting to you. Read the full report here. )

Okay, so did you catch that?   Let's put it this way:
1988 - 1,738 threats
1998 - 177,615 threats
2008 - 1,000,000 + threats

An exponential growth in viruses isn't the biggest problem, though.   The bigger problem is that there are so many other electronic threats online.  There are countless resources online dedicated to just trying to help you understand all the other things trying to harm you and your computer. (Here's a good glossary of threat terms from Trend Micro -  

Here's a quick summary of what we at Turn Key Solutions run across day in, day out, and what our customers are struggling against:

1. Viruses.   The occasional computer still gets viruses, even with antivirus software.
2. Malware.    Basically, this is software that makes your computer perform less than it could, or in ways you'd rather not.  (Anyone remember Incredimail???)
3. Phishing.   You wouldn't believe how many people STILL go for the emails that state they need to "click here to reset your Capital One password."   Here's a good wikipedia article on what phishing is. 
4. Time wasters.    This is a HUGE category, from social media sites, to personal email, to just checking on the news.
5. Predators & actual people wanting to hurt you, your family, and your business.  
     A. Your kids aren't the only ones that are threatened, but let's start there - Focus on the Family's safety resources is a good place to read more.
     B. Your businesses' data is valuable to someone.  It's not just the likes of Sony, TJMaxx and other fortune 500's that are threatened by hackers.    Your SMALL BUSINESS is at risk, too.    There have been several businesses here in my home town of Baton Rouge, LA that have had to stop taking credit cards lately because they either failed to secure their networks and were hacked, or were cut off preemptively. 

SO, if you've got antivirus software on your computers, congratulations. If it was updated yesterday or today, it may not be completely worthless against the bigger threats.

So what in the world do you do?   What's a small business owner supposed to do to protect their interests, stay PCI compliant, and not have ridiculous I.T. expenses?

Coming up next, we'll outline a series of relatively inexpensive, simple things that small and big business alike can do to fight these threats.   

Come back & read more about what you can do.  (Here's a sneek peek: For starters, any one vendor that tells you they have the whole solution solved IS LYING.)

Henry D. Overton

President & Co-founder
Turn Key Solutions, LLC

We make technology work for you!

1 comment:

  1. Really good article, Henry. Thought-provoking!