RealNews

Know your enemy: Past threats

Old viruses shouldn’t be thought of as dead and gone but merely lying dormant. Keeping up with the latest patches and virus threats is difficult enough but security experts claim older viruses can still cause problems even if they aren’t hitting the headlines anymore. Although so-called “legacy viruses” are slowly dying off, some old malicious code is still lying in wait to strike. Alex Shipp, senior antivirus technologist at MessageLabs, says viruses often live on for months and years after they are initially detected. Statistics from MessageLabs on the day this piece was written show that Klez.H-mm, a worm first seen in April last year, is still doing the rounds and rates as the fifth most active in the preceding 24 hours. Shipp explains although most businesses will have patched their systems against old malicious code, home users are not so diligent — providing the perfect breeding ground for legacy threats. “Older viruses are still out there and every so often they get into company networks again. It only takes one machine to be unpatched,” he says. Larry Bridwell from ICSA says these inactive viruses are analogous to fish thought to have disappeared from the seas. No one thinks much of them until “some fisherman in Madagascar pulls one out on a line.” Full Story

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