As hackers, malware/spyware creators, and other maliciously-intended individuals learn how to get past security software programs, new algorithms are created in an effort to stay on top of the attacks. This constant security software evolution is meant to stay on top of viruses and end them before they spread. Constant studying is required to determine progression. But is this the incorrect approach to take?
Some researchers believe so. Security specialists are suggesting that preventing systems from being vulnerable to spyware, adware, malware, viruses, and intrusion attempts in the first place is the correct action to take. Some subscribe to this theory for ethical reasons, believing that systems or software sold with “security holes” is really defective, and unfinished.
Others believe that it’s an additional money grab on the part of the security software industry. Extremists even believe that it stems from an age-old conspiracy that suggests that software providers often leave holes open purposely so that they can charge consumers for software to fix it. This final conspiracy can be debunked with some critical thinking and realizing that there will be evolutions in threats, and therefore, holes will be exploited that were at one point un-exploitable.
The truth behind most security software evolution processes is much less exciting; in most cases, security software is a redundant concept. Occasionally, this software can predict the patterns of new viruses that are similar or related to old viruses, but the majority are not able to detect anything until they have already encountered, studied, and deconstructed the code. It is from this code that virus and infection signatures are developed.
Most companies believe that a simple antivirus will protect them from most intrusions. However, the costs of digital attacks continue to rise each year. More and more malicious software is created and is targeting businesses. The new wave in digital security is prevention over protection. Companies are shifting towards application management, user privilege management, and application white-listing as opposed to simply defending against viruses, trojans, malware, and malicious software.
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee