Today’s most advanced antivirus scanners rely on a valuable tool in order to eliminate viruses from the PC: a virtualized operating environment.
Virtualized operating systems trick the virus into thinking it’s running on a full computer. Essentually, the virtualized OS is an operating system within an operating system. The virtualized OS is closed off from the rest of the OS in order to prevent the virus from escaping
Think of it like a science lab with a bulletproof glass cage at the center. Above the glass cage is a trap door to the full operating system. Viruses stumble through that trap door and become trapped in the cage. Scientists – aka the antivirus software – sit around monitoring the glass cage to see what viruses can be caught.
Unfortunately, it looks like more and more viruses are refusing to fall into the trap door that leads to the glass cage. And that’s a serious problem for antivirus software.
Why viruses aren’t falling for virtualized operating systems
Today’s viruses are able to avoid antivirus detection by avoiding the trap door set out by the virtualized operating system. Viruses have always tried to do this. However, they’ve usually been unsuccessful at it. The trap door was always cleverly hidden.
But virus creators have found a way to detect that trap door long before the virus falls inside. That method involves monitoring the mouse movement of the individual. Specifically, the virus launches the first stage of the attack and then waits for any mouse movement.
If there are more than three clicks, then the virus stops its activity because it assumes a virtual OS has been opened. If there is limited mouse movement, the virus proceeds with the second stage of the attack.
PCWorld.com did a detailed writeup on how viruses use mouse movement to avoid being caught by antivirus software. You can read that writeup here.
What you can do to save your PC
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