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New malware sneaks by most antivirus protection

Antivirus software is 0-for-82 against new malware, but is it a waste of money?

A recent study by University of Tel Aviv for Imperva comes to that conclusion, at least with regard to new viruses. The research team tested 82 new malware files against 40 antivirus products and found that the antivirus programs detected exactly none of them, TechWorld reports.

Even after giving the antivirus software additional chances at one-week intervals, the best of the antivirus products still took at least three weeks to detect the viruses, according to the report. And of the batch tested, Imperva said that two free programs, Avast and Emisoft, performed the best, along with McAfee antivirus.

Antivirus software has come in for criticism in recent years, with a Cambridge University study suggesting that organizations spend too much on antivirus and should instead concentrate on catching cyber criminals. Others have advocated methods such as whitelisting and intrusion detection as better for protecting networks.

But antivirus software, which typically is used to detect malware with known signatures, could still have a place in an administrator’s cyber defense arsenal. The Imperva study, for instance, involved testing new malware that the antivirus programs tested apparently were not aware of. But recent research also has found that old vulnerabilities are still the most popular among hackers.

Posted by Kevin McCaney on Nov 28, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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