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The evolution of anti-virus solutions continues – Antivirus is not dead!

Anti-virus has evolved for the last 25 years and will continue to do so for the next 25 years

“Anti-virus is dead” – again. AV has been dying for the last decades. 15 years ago Dr. Alan Solomon, a highly respected security expert and founder of a pioneering anti-virus software company, made the same statement. AV also deceased when the first behavior-based products entered the market. Whenever there are new threats, the failure of AV products is pointed out and their critical illness is claimed. But – surprise, surprise – AV is still there!

Actually, this is exactly what Alan Solomon wanted to point out: AV is and always will be in an evolving state. He showed that the future of anti-virus programs would evolve, from pure signature-based detection to different kinds of technologies like heuristics and behavioral detection and even to more advanced protection methods. And now, with targeted attacks (aka APTs) and nation-state spying as new players in the threat landscape, AV is making another step in its evolution.

AV solutions are an important layer in the defense for enterprises

So what is it about this time? A couple of days ago, it was Brian Dye, Senior Vice President of Information Security at Symantec, who has claimed that anti-virus is dead, during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately though, the headline “AV is dead” has the potential to be misinterpreted by a wide audience, if it is put in another context.
The statement was part of a description of Symantec’s product strategy for business customers. It is nothing new that AV-solutions are a baseline protection against common threats. They are established and therefore only play a minor role when it comes to outlining the strategic aspects of upcoming security solutions for dedicated attacks. And in the complex environment of a company network, a wide range of special protections are at charge. But Dye’s statement never meant to say that AV products are useless. He just said that it needs more than an AV product to protect a company’s IT infrastructure. And this is undoubtedly true. (more…)

IoT: The Internet of Things… ehm… Trouble?!

A balancing act between usability and security

It is 20 years ago that I first included a slide in my presentation about sending spam via a refrigerator. At the time, most people found that ridiculous. Yet last year, it became a reality. Refrigerators have now become ‘smart’ and can do a whole lot more than just keep things cool.

The Internet of Things (IoT) gives everything an IP address so that everything can communicate with more or less anything and anyone else. The benefits and possibilities are almost infinite. But aren’t these technological developments evolving rapidly, maybe too rapidly? Smart TVs, gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones and cars can eavesdrop on us. Cameras in your laptop, smartphone and smart TV can watch us when we don’t want them to. Samsung is amending its user agreements to reassure people about the voice control on its smart TVs. BMW is rolling out a software update for the ConnectedDrive system in 2.2 million cars to prevent hackers easily being able to open the doors of the cars. These are the first signs that possibly too much has been started without reflection.

(more…)

25 years with or within the Antivirus and Security Industry

Last week (9 December 2014) it was exactly 25 years ago one of my former managers gave me a diskette which appeared to be having the AIDS information trojan. At that time I was one of the first in the world to get a detection for it and who could reverse the situation from a trojanised machine back to healthy one. It changed my life completely. 2 years later I was one of the founders of EICAR. After that my whole life was dedicated to malware and security and I finally became what I always wanted to be: a Security Evangelist, actually a Cybersecurity Expert with deep knowledge of security and excellent skills to communicate technical stuff to non-technical people. If you want to refresh your memory about the AIDS Trojan you can watch my first TV interview (Dutch – VTM) from 9 December 1989 and find out that I changed a little bit.

I love what I’m doing. It’s my life and I’m one of the few which are not doing it only for the money. During those 25 years I’ve met a lot of interesting, brilliant minded and enthusiast people. The AV industry itself is also quite special and I still like to work with or inside this industry even after 30 years IT experience (not counting my university and school years). However some people involved are not always what they pretend to be and just do their job. It’s just a job for them.
It’s not a job for me, it’s much more, It’s my life.

And take it from me, there is a big difference if you’re driven by a mentality or principle to help the general public, companies and organizations in the continuous battle against cybercrime today.

I am ready for the next 25 years .. well that’s maybe a little bit exagerated.   ;-)

PS: If you find less blogs from me these days over here just visit the blog page of G DATA or follow my Twitterfeed @EddyWillems or watch the media in your country.