Importance of Antivirus Software
Is it as invincible as many believe?
How Good is Antivirus Software
Is antivirus necessary for everyone? For most users, their antivirus software is like a defensive all protecting their network, both at home and in the office. Security experts are questioning this.
Hackers have become increasingly sophisticated and can get around and through many antivirus products. Some have actually used the antivirus software to hack into sensitive information. Many of us are using the internet believing we are completely protected and safe from hackers.
Stu Sjouwerman, an executive from KnowBe4 Inc. (a company that provides enterprise security training programs) compares antivirus software with a lock you have bought from the local hardware store – it is easy to pick and enable access to your home, but it does keep out people who cannot pick locks. See the best antivirus in 2016 and 2017.
Is Antivirus Necessary – Valuable as a Target
NSS Labs (a security-product testing firm) published a study in August, which found that 93% of US businesses who employed at least 500 people rely on security products to protect their technology. Another analyst, Jon Oltsik, from Enterprise Strategy Group ( a market research firm), says that between 65-70% of individual consumers run antivirus software while others rely on the security software that is already built into some operating systems.
Antivirus software can reduce the risk to email, social media, malware, and identity theft, but hackers continually find gaps in the protection, and many users neglect keeping their software updated, making it less effective. Antivirus software is particularly attractive to hackers and once inside they have access to the exact information the software is trying to protect.
In recent weeks the US Department of Homeland Security issued an order to federal government agencies to remove all antivirus software produced by the Moscow-based company, Kaspersky Lab. The agencies were given 90 days to do this. This is a result of widespread suspicion that Kaspersky Lab may have links to the Russian intelligence service. A White House cybersecurity coordinator, Rob Joyce, advised American individuals not to use Kaspersky Lab products either.
Kaspersky Lab responded by denying that they had any ties of affiliations with Russia, or any other government. The statement went on to say that it was distressing that a private company be considered guilty of this with no evidence, and these decisions are based on geopolitical issues.
Today’s Antivirus Software
At present antivirus software is effective at stopping common attacks – phishing emails, infected banner ads, etc. Even the most advanced products still only detect those viruses that are known. There are new strains of software, such as Petya, that are being created so quickly, antivirus companies are always trying to keep up. Hackers have additional advantages in that they can review websites that show which antivirus software products are able to protect from which viruses.
Hackers are well able to tweak their software sufficiently to allow malware through antivirus products.
As the next generation of security software advances there will be a different approach that will change the traditional software to artificial intelligence. Security products will be able to monitor user behavior, typing speed, and other factors, and these latest products will try to identify when the trusted user is being hacked. The algorithms of Artificial Intelligence in products will be able to stop some actions or highlight them as possible security breaches. For example, this type of security product would be able to tell if an employee tried to access sensitive information that they were not entitled to view.
Stay Up To Date – Keep Your Antivirus Up To Date
Users need to stay up to date and take additional measures to beat the hackers. One essential step is to keep your antivirus software up to date. Using multi-factor authentication, where along with your password there may be a text message with an additional code. Ad-blocking software can also help to avoid infected pop-ups, or banner ads.
Mischel Kwon from the security consultancy firm MKA Cyber Inc. says that it is a combination of software and how the user accesses the internet that may save you from malicious attacks.
Is Antivirus Necessary For Company Security
Companies may be more secure if they use multiple security products. Cisco Systems Inc. reported that in 2017 65% of the organizations surveyed were relying on at least six products for protection, and 28% were using more than eleven antivirus products. The chief security officer from Cisco, Edna Conway, also suggests these companies should be checking their third-party partners as well.
Attacks From Within
There have been cases where the software being used by companies has been used against them. The application security company, Bit9 Inc. was attacked in 2013. An operational oversight enabled the attackers to use the company’s credentials to direct malware at their clients.
Rick Holland from Digital Shadows Ltd. reports that sellers of security products are like other shops that develop applications, and if someone is looking at that code, they may well find vulnerabilities there.
RSA Security LLC reported that two years after the attack on Bit9 outsiders stole information from RSA’s SecurID in what was an attempt to get into Lockheed Martin Corp, who is a defense contractor for the US government. The breach was mitigated but it raised alarms through the security community.
Organizations need to balance risks along with protecting themselves from the more common threats, such as phishing.
Antivirus software may not be perfect as yet, but we need it. We cannot deny the importance of antivirus software.
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