Is Antivirus Software Dependable?

By Jose Ortiz

Antivirus software fails at detecting new malware threats

How dependable is your antivirus software?

Study shows antivirus software fails at detecting new malware threats. Does this alarm you? It does me.


The problem lies with how long it takes antivirus software scanners to detect new malware infections on your computer.


Could the reason be that traditional antivirus software technology is slow to update their signature database in response to new malware threats?


The researchers at Lastline Labs tested new malware they found, from May 2013 to May 2014, against the 47 antivirus software vendors featured in Virus Total.


Virus Total is a free online web service that analyzes files and URLs for viruses, worms, Trojans and other kinds of malicious software. Hundreds of thousands pieces of malware were used for this study during this time period.


The results from the study conducted by Lastline Labs are surprising. Their research points out that the majority of the newly detected malware went undetected by nearly half of the antivirus software vendors.


More shocking was that even after two months, one third of the antivirus software scanners still could not detect many of the malware samples. I sure would love to know which AV scanners fell into this group.


What is even scarier is malware that Lastline Labs categorized as “least likely to be detected” – that is malware in the 1 percentile – truly went undetected by the majority of antivirus software scanners for months, or went undetected at all.


This type of advanced malware, the 1 percentile, is usually created and exploited by cybercriminals who target large organizations and businesses.


Based on this one year study, Lastline Labs concluded the following:
• Only 51% of antivirus scanners detected new malware samples on day one.
• Malware samples that escaped detection by the AV scanners on the first day took two days, on average, for at least one AV scanner to detect it.
• The detection rates went up to 61% after two weeks, indicating a normal lag time for antivirus scanners.
• During the yearlong study, not one AV scanner had a perfect day in which it caught every new malware sample.
• Ten percent of the scanners still did not detect malware samples at the end of one year. (That’s not good!)


Complementing Antivirus Software for Greater Protection

While this study shows that the current AV technologies is not enough to detect new and emerging  malware threats, it is still advisable to have antivirus software installed on computers.


It’s relatively simple to put together a highly effective suite of scanners to complement your choice of antivirus software.


I would like to share with you what I do to keep my computers safe from malware. Mind you this will not work on all system’s specs because AV scanners use up a lot of system resources.


The plan is to complement your choice of antivirus software, paid or free, with an anti-spyware and anti-malware program.  Antivirus software alone is not enough.


For example, I use Norton Internet Security for my normal AV scanner. I have complemented Norton with the free version of Superantispyware and Malwarebytes.


At the end of each day I run a quick scan of Superantispyware and if necessary a custom scan of my C: drive with Malwarebytes. At the end of the week I run a full scan with all three.


This is the program I encourage my customers to adopt after I have cleaned their systems from a severe infection.

In addition to this I have EMET installed on my system and tracking protection running on Internet Explorer.


If you are using Internet Explorer don’t forget to check managed add-ons under the Tools tab.


A lot of adware likes to hide here. I use Adwcleaner to get rid of pesky adware.


Finally, observe best practices for surfing the Internet and keep your system updated. Malware prevention starts with you.


I hope this article has been helpful. If it has, please like or share it so others can benefit from it.


PCMechanic Computer Repair in Davenport, FL provides virus removal service which includes adware removal.


Click the Service Request button below to get in touch with me.





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