Antivirus Software Struggles with Stealthy Malware

By: Absolute Team | 10/18/2012

Do you think antivirus software is keeping up with malware? If you do, you're probably mistaken. According to a discussion on TechRepublic, traditional antivirus software is not working well to combat some of the super-malware we're seeing these days.

Antivirus software is able to catch generic malware but it struggles against targeted attacks or so-called stealthy malware such as Stuxnet and Duqu, both designed specifically to attack industrial control systems. The recently discovered Flame malware has been hiding for 5 years and yet may be one of the largest stealthy malware attacks to date. Antivirus company F-Secure chimes in:

"The truth is, consumer-grade antivirus products can’t protect against targeted malware created by well-resourced nation-states with bulging budgets. They can protect you against run-of-the-mill malware: banking trojans, keystroke loggers, and e-mail worms. But targeted attacks like these go to great lengths to avoid antivirus products on purpose. And the zero-day exploits used in these attacks are unknown to antivirus companies by definition. As far as we can tell, before releasing their malicious codes to attack victims, the attackers tested them against all of the relevant antivirus products on the market to make sure that the malware wouldn’t be detected. They have unlimited time to perfect their attacks. It’s not a fair war between the attackers and the defenders when the attackers have access to our weapons."

The article is very thorough, going into the continued importance of antivirus applications. Overall, the message is not to consider yourself "protected" from all malware when using antivirus software; it's a message of security awareness.

Does your company struggle with malware? What has been your response?

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