Malware is one of the most frustrating security threats which exist today. In the past, when malware consisted mainly of viruses, the installation of antivirus software was usually enough to protect us from these types of threats. However, malware has moved on so much since then that antivirus software is no longer able to provide us with the kind of protection we now need, and there are a number of reasons why this is the case.
Today there is so much malware, with new ones being released everyday, that there is not a single antivirus vendor who is able to keep their software up-to-date with the very latest malware definitions that exist. This means that it is possible that a virus could get onto a system with an updated antivirus software and still not be recognised. This is a massive problem for preventing malware getting onto the system in the first place.
Malware has also evolved in order to avoid being detected by antivirus software. Some of the newer types of malware change their signatures (one of the main ways in which their presence is detected) in order to avoid being identified by antivirus software. This means that even when known malware types are being looked for in a scan, their ability to mutate will mean that will not be recognised. And the problem is that this is just a single example of avoiding detection, and there are likely to be many more clever techniques that will be utilised in the future.
There is also the added problem that some malware, such as ransomware, will execute its intended action as soon as it is able to execute itself on a system. Ransomware will attempt to encrypt a victim’s entire drive, and then demand a payment in order to decrypt the data. This means that waiting for an antivirus software to update its definitions to find malware in cases like this can be too late. Ransomware’s operating procedure has proven to be so successful that it has seen a huge increase in the past few years, and is likely to continue to grow for some time.
These issues show just how much the world of malware has changed, and why relying on antivirus software to protect us is becoming a thing of the past. The most important way in which we can respond to this issue is by learning how to prevent malware getting onto our systems in the first place, with one of the main ways of doing this being to learn how to browse the internet in a safer manner. To sum up, malware prevention really is better than malware cure.