Anti-Virus: EPIC FAIL

A few of years ago, by using a good anti-virus software, keeping it up to date, and avoiding “risky” behaviors online, I could confidently state to my clients that they would likely be virus-free.┬áBut in the last couple of years, I have perceived an increase in the number of malware infections. It has not mattered what brand of anti-malware software was being used. It seems none are completely effective all of the time. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just seemed like anti-malware software just wasn’t what it used to be.

Then I read this article, “Encryption and Anti-Virus are Failing,” and my suspicions were confirmed. A panel of experts at a security conference recently stated that current successful detection rates for popular anti-virus softwares are only between 70 and 90 percent. I remember when a detection rate below the high 90’s percentile was considered low! To me, detection rates like these are completely unacceptable. No wonder I’m seeing so many more malware cases. If anti-malware software leaves a 10 – 30% chance of letting an infection through, that’s a huge window of opportunity!

I’ve written before that the “elephant in the room” for Windows is its vulnerability to viruses and other malicious software. As much as Microsoft touts improved security in Windows 7, studies have shown that Windows 7 is just as susceptible to viruses as previous versions of Windows. If anti-virus software is only 70% effective, can you really call Windows secure at all? I’ve talked with a few people about this topic, stating that if this virus situation does not improve for Windows, at some point in the near future there will be a critical mass of users leaving Windows for operating systems that do not have a virus epidemic. News like this makes me think that this mass exodus may come a lot sooner than I first thought.

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