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OPLIN 4cast #385: More than antivirus

Posted in 4cast

biohazard symbolSymantec, the company that launched the popular Norton Antivirus product in 1991, grabbed IT headlines last week when several company officials declared that antivirus is “dead.” While cynics point out that this could just be a clever way for Symantec to market their other products, as with any good marketing campaign there is an element of truth here. There is practically unanimous agreement in the cyber-protection industry that a simple antivirus product is insufficient protection these days, and a multifaceted approach to computer security is necessary.

  • Symantec partners to fend off zero-day attacks (Network World/Ellen Messmer)  “Symantec is the global leader in endpoint anti-malware software, but [director of product marketing Piero] DePaoli doesn’t mince words when he says the era of relying on signature-based antivirus is gone for good. ‘Core A/V is dead. It is dead,’ DePaoli says without reservation. A lot of the threats coming in today are unknown, such as zero-day exploits. Symantec’s endpoint security products years ago evolved to the point where today about half of threats it identifies and blocks aren’t related to signature-based A/V at all but are caught through other means such as behavioral or reputational analysis.”
  • Outmaneuvered at their own game, antivirus makers struggle to adapt (New York Times/Nicole Perlroth)  “In 2000, there were fewer than a million new strains of malware, most of them the work of amateurs. By 2010, there were 49 million new strains, according to AV-Test, a German research institute that tests antivirus products. The antivirus industry has grown as well, but experts say it is falling behind. By the time its products are able to block new viruses, it is often too late.”
  • Symantec says antivirus losing fight against cyberattacks, plotting new strategy (Tech Times/Vamien McKalin)  “After all, an Anti-virus software can only manage to capture around 45 percent of all security risks. That’s a real issue and goes to show how much hackers are ahead in this game of cat and mouse. Another reason for the change of action is because several malwares only live on your computer for an hour.”
  • Kaspersky weighs in on antivirus death debate (Channelnomics/Doug Woodburn)  “Symantec claimed that AV now catches just 45 percent of cyberattacks, but [Kaspersky senior security researcher Costin] Raiu said it was senseless to assess the issue in these terms. Traditional AV has been replaced by a more sophisticated bundle of technologies combining heuristics, sandbox analyzers, cloud reputation and white-listing technologies, Raiu added. ‘Every major player today has already adapted to these trends. Actually, those who didn’t adapt simply disappeared,’ he said.”

Money fact:
The Wall Street Journal points out that Symantec needs to be doing something different, because the company is reporting declining revenues and has fired two CEOs in the past two years.