Malware is becoming more powerful
- Fariha Khan
- February 23, 2017
According to Panda Software in 2005, a new strain of malware was found every 12 minutes while cybersecurity firm McAfee reported in 2016that it came across 4 every second. It is notable that those were only the strains they discovered. For malware (viruses, worms, and Trojans) hasn’t only proliferated, in fact, it has evolved to evade detection in a better way.
Today, there is a tsunami of sophisticated malware, companies that deal in antivirus software such as McAfee has struggled to manage it all. In 2014, a senior vice president at Symantec said in pubic that he thought that antivirus software was “dead.” During that period, he estimated that the technology just caught about 45 percent of cyberattacks.
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Antivirus software is struggling to handle and keep things safe as the primary strategy on which it depends that is signature detection is based on the obsolete assumption that the malware you came across yesterday will appear to be the same today. When a cybersecurity firm sees a new kind of malware, it will examine and create a detection signature for that particular strain. Antivirus software makes use of these signatures in order to scan files for known threats. This strategy worked well when viruses were mostly made by unprofessional hackers. However, things are not the same now. In 2003, we saw the first real for-profit malware and from then onwards the increase of organized cybercrime has brought forth a series of advances that enable malware to change its look fast.
One of the notable innovations is a process called “crypting,” that enables a developer to transform the look of a piece of malicious code with the help of encryption tools and test it against antivirus software until it is untraceable. Likewise, developers can also use polymorphic code to turn malware into a chameleon, which can change its look every time it runs. According to a report, 82 percent of malware vanishes after an hour, and 70 percent of malware just exists once. It implies that only a small percentage of antivirus detection signatures catch active threats. While some firms have introduced new strategies to fight these adaptations, they haven’t been sufficient to completely keep up with fast-moving dangers.
Regardless of its diminishing value, an astonishing number of users still make use of antivirus software as their first, or only, way of protection. According to Google study that compared digital practices of security experts and nonexperts, 42 percent of nonexperts stated that antivirus software was among the most vital steps they took in order to protect themselves online. The response topped the list of actions taken by those who are not expert. However, it didn’t even crack the top 5 among those who were a part of the cybersecurity field.
This gap of knowledge gap is worrying considering modern malware attacks can be shocking. ransomware is a type of attack that has grown to a considerable extent in recent times. It encrypts one’s files and holds them for ransom. According to IBM, there were 4,000 ransomware attacks per day just in 2016. As we store more and more personal data on our PCs and laptops, the cost of infection only mounts.