Skip to main content

Anti-virus Statistics - Motivations

In a study completed and published by Avira ( The results of the survey showed that for 34 percent (3,207 respondents) a long-established, trustworthy brand was key. Almost as many users, 33 percent (3,077 respondents), based their decision on the virus detection rates achieved in independent tests.

Detection rates - lets call this effectiveness of the control - as this is the key metric used to measure effectiveness. This is a skewed metric as for the large majority of evaluations (ICSALabs, VB100, etc) use the "in-the-wild" or ITW list of viruses to perform the evaluations. There is no evaluation of these product's ability to respond or even detect newly released virus and malware.

In all honesty really what we are dealing with here is preventative vulnerability management not virus detection and correction, and in my opinion there are four types of preventative protections required for the average consumer (some are currently reality - others not):

1. The consumers buying products based on their security. This does not exist in any meaningful way for the general community. Lets get someone to independently evaluate the software makers on this and publish it for consumers to make choices based on their performance.

2. A service used to update software code quickly. There should also be an independent evaluation of a code's susceptibility to vulnerabilities and speed in which these are patched by the vendor. This should apply to all software not just operating systems and browsers. Again there could be independent evaluations of the companies policies, practices and past performance related to this.

3. A perfect ITW detection engine - 100% - there is no reason a product should be less than this for KNOWN viral code. Really this should be combined with #4.

4. A product to detect and respond to new threats - ones without signatures - which is a significantly larger threat as they are generally being developed with more financial motivation. Apple's and Microsoft's authorization of unsigned code is a good first step but this should be done at the CPU level to detect suspicious behavior by software and apply a policy to it. Do consumers actually read a warning about unsigned code? or do they just click "continue". AMD - Intel - Other chip makers? Is this possible at a low level? and how do we trust these companies themselves.

Anyone else have thoughts on other ways of preventing the impacts of vulnerabilties?


Popular posts from this blog

Local Classified Penny Auction Scam

While there are a lot of new posts regarding the new ways to exploit people using novel techniques and 0day exploits, there continues to be a rash of tried and true methods of coercion.  I want to just walk through a simple example and reflect on how effective these methods continue to be. Many people turn toward online classified sites to buy and sell items online.  This example starts with which even I've used on occasion to find used electronics and other items.  Doing a search on the site for a " Samsung Galaxy Note 2 " returns a posting from today with someone selling one for an unreasonably priced unit. $125 for a $500 phone?, but what if it's for real?  No harm in just asking some simple questions.  Email sent with some obvious questions regarding the condition and location. About an hour passes before I get a response from what appears to be a legit seller. Notice no answer to the questions I asked, but a friendly pointer at where th

Touch ID - Distributed Fingerprint Lookup

All the press regarding the new Touch ID fingerprint biometric on Apple's new iPhone has brought some insight into how to misuse this service.  Most of the critics have focused on circumventing the device to gain access or Apple deciding to share the data with the Government. One interesting perspective that I haven't seen covered yet is if the system could be used as a distributed matching system for existing fingerprint image systems.  In an over simplified view of the process, a law enforcement agency can take an acquired fingerprint and search for patterns in the database of collected prints and spit out possible matches. Although Apple states that an API won't be available for apps, it is conceivable that such an interface might exist, and provide the ability to take an acquired print (either from the iPhone hardware or from software) and check it for validity against the stored print. There are some limits to this, as there is likely only going to be one prin

Announcing new team member - Benoit Desforges

I'm very pleased to announce that we've added another significant resource to our team.  Our new advisor Benoît Desforges brings international experience and a fresh perspective on information risk management. Prior to joining, Benoît worked for KPMG's advisory group, he holds several professional designations including CISSP, CISA, GCIH, and GAWN.  When he's not teaching advanced networking courses for a local university, Benoît enjoys travel and time with his family. Benoît will be providing our clients with security advice and building out a number of new and improved professional service offerings.  He'll also be regular contributor to our blog.  Congratulations Benoît!