RealNews

Computer antivirus strategies in crisis

The speed with which US law enforcers last week tracked down Jeffrey Lee Parson, one of the alleged culprits behind the destructive computer virus MSBlaster, was heralded as a great victory in the battle against computer crime. But an investigation into antivirus software shows that there is no cause for celebration. Antivirus specialists are fighting a losing battle against malicious code like viruses and worms, it concludes. The research, undertaken at Hewlett-Packard’s labs in Bristol, UK, is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of antiviral software. It shows that the way we fight viruses is fundamentally flawed, because viruses spread faster than antivirus patches can be distributed. By the time the antivirus software catches up, the damage has already been done, says Hewlett-Packard researcher Matthew Williamson. Most antivirus software works by identifying unique characteristics or patterns in the computer code that makes up a virus. Once identified, this “signature” is distributed to everyone who has bought antivirus software, allowing the software to block or eradicate the malicious code. But this strategy means you have to know what the virus looks like before you can do anything about it, Williamson points out. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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