The front line of computer security has long been anti-virus (AV) software and firewalls. But are these methods still the best first step in malware protection?
In January, Mike Vizard pondered the idea of rethinking firewall security strategies:
The simple fact of the matter is that most existing firewalls are routinely penetrated, usually via a port that the IT organization leaves open to support any number of Web applications. As more Web applications proliferate, the more acute the problem becomes.
Do we also need to rethink AV strategies as well? Panda Security reported last month that 50 percent of the computers scanned with its Panda ActiveScan were found to have malware, mostly Trojans. A second report from Eurostat, the statistics offices for the European Union (EU), found that even though 84 percent of the people in the EU survey have AV software installed on their computers, nearly one third were infected with a virus.
The results aren't too surprising, if you think about it. Various security companies have seen a significant rise in malware over the past year, and even the best AV software companies need time to come up with solutions. I wonder, too, if AV makes people lazy about what they download, especially when using third-party applications on social media, thinking the software will catch everything.
In the spirit of a little research, I decided to use ActiveScan to check my computer, which is protected with AV (and a firewall). In the past few weeks, I've noticed that my AV has alerted to me to more infected websites than usual. And the result? The scan found a few cookies, but no malware.