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Anti-Malware more important than ever

Kristian Bognaes

Kristian A. Bognaes, Director, Norman Safeground Development Center

– Lately, there has been some press coverage on how anti-malware software is supposedly becoming less important. This had me a bit puzzled, and I decided to look into the background for these claims a bit more closely.

It seems clear to me that the malware threat is on the rise when I look at computer malware prevalence data. It has been rising steadily since I first started working with computer security a couple of decades ago. According to the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (1) for second half of 2013, the numbers of ‘malware encounters’ remains high while the number of infections is significantly lower. The difference between the two numbers is to a large degree the result of security software that prevents infections. In much of Europe, between 10% and 20% of systems reporting to Microsoft encounter infection attempts. In some countries, more than 40% of systems encounter malware. More than 1% of all reporting systems had actual infections cleaned during the same period.

Computer security is complex, and as security journalist Brian Krebs said in his blog recently: ‘Security is all about layers’.  Endpoint security is one layer that continues to prove how important it is for both single users and businesses. In addition, endpoint security is not only antivirus – it is also updating and patching, firewall functionality, web- and e-mail protection, and more. Network protection that is geared towards ‘advanced persistent threats’ (APT) may becoming more important for corporate environments, but this does not make traditional endpoint protection superfluous. The security of each endpoint in a company or at home will still depend on solid endpoint security software.  It is all about risk management and reducing the possibility of malware compromising your endpoints by tightening the hatches where you can. Looking at the risk statistics, we continue to see a rapid increase in different types of traditional malware. It seems obvious to me that it is crucial to have endpoint protection that detect and prevent as many ‘in-the-wild’ infectors as possible.

Computer security is a product of many factors: user education, safe practices, updated environments, good backup routines, and endpoint protection software. If the user is able to take advantage of hosted, distributed malware prevention systems, this is just another layer that will reduce the number of attack vectors on a given system. In other words – anti-malware software is as important as ever.

(1)    http://www.microsoft.com/security/sir/default.aspx

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