A False Sense of Security: How Antivirus Can Fail

antivirus malware protection

It’s pretty easy to think of computer viruses and malware as someone else’s problem. You hear about big attacks in the news, about the thousands of people who have had their information stolen and the businesses who have suffered mind-numbing losses in revenue.

This isn’t something you have to worry about though, right? You know what a phishing link looks like, you avoid suspicious websites and you don’t open strange emails.

Unfortunately, taking all the precautions in the world on your own isn’t enough, especially if you lack proper antivirus and malware protection. The odds of avoiding any form of malicious code is just too high – and those odds are only continuing to increase.

The Difference Between Viruses and Malware

To begin with, let’s define the differences between viruses and malware. A virus is a specific type of malware designed to replicate and spread across computer systems, while malware is a broad term used to describe lots of different malicious code. This includes everything from viruses to ransomware, Trojans, spyware and more.

It’s important to define these terms because there can be great confusion over what certain antivirus and anti-malware detection solutions actually protect you from. If you just download something off the internet, then it can be especially unclear. Does antivirus protect against anything else? Does anti-malware protect against everything technically classified as malware?

Understanding these terms and what protection is offered is absolutely crucial, especially with the threat of cyberattacks only projected to increase in coming years.

Non-Stop Growth

The AV-TEST Institute keeps track of the growth and proliferation of malware created and used on a day-to-day basis. The chart below listing total malware used in the past five years paints a stark picture on what businesses can expect with cybersecurity attack trends in the foreseeable future.

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Your eyes aren’t deceiving you; in just five years, the amount of total malware increased by five times.

For more context, a report released by McAfee detailed that in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, their customers received over 157 million attempts to entice them to visit risky links a day, and 353 million infected files were exposed to their customers’ networks.

This growth rate also shows no signs of slowing down. If you think it’s bad now, it’s only going to get worse.

Multiple Defensive Fronts

To combat this increasing threat, it’s essential you have the correct defenses in places.

The important thing to note about any antivirus or malware software – including McAfee – is that even the best programs have holes. We’ve found that signature-based detection solutions (like Symantec and McAfee) are typically 40% to 60% effective. This is because they need to know the type of malware or virus they are supposed to be on the lookout for. The virus and/or malware’s signature has to be added to their database, from which they can push out to their solution. Attackers are constantly writing new malicious code; therefore, a signature-based system is ineffective at detecting newly developed malware.

At BAI Security, we recognize that to fully protect your business from the threats malware and viruses present, you have to have multiple barriers and safety nets set up around your business.

Our Antivirus/Malware Best Practices Evaluation is included in our IT Security Assessment service and helps to ensure what you currently have in place is what you really need. We closely evaluate the design, technologies and configurations used in these systems to ensure they meet the requirements to combat today’s modern breach threats. This evaluation also checks to make sure that the top-rated desktop and server antiviruses have been installed and takes a multi-layer approach, which includes perimeter scanning of email and web traffic.

To supplement this, we also offer our Threat Radar solution, which is a real time malware detection solution that is behavioral based instead of signature based, so it is looking at and comparing hundreds of behavioral actions combined with sophisticated

monitoring of the live memory, disk files and network traffic to identify any malicious malware that may have made it past your defenses. If any malware makes it past your traditional antivirus system, Threat Radar will detect it in real time and send an alert so you can take action and head-off a data breach.

Your business – your information – is too important not to take all the necessary precautions. Malware isn’t going anywhere, so protect yourself. You don’t want to look back one day and wonder what else you could have done. Be on the forefront of cybersecurity protection and stop malware in its tracks.

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