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One PC security research firm is in trouble today after it suggested that antivirus software that doesn’t find new virus threats within 6 days will never find that virus.
The report was issued by a host-based intrusion prevention firm (i.e. hacking defense company) called Carbon Black. The report claimed that today’s top antivirus software only has a small window for detecting and removing virus threats. That window appears to be six days, and if malware isn’t found within that period, then it likely won’t ever be found by that software.
So what does that six day window actually mean? The study suggested that when one antivirus firm discovers a virus and patches its software, other antivirus firms should be able to update their software in six days or else they will never find it. The study examined antivirus software over a thirty-day period, and it found that companies that hadn’t fixed virus exploits within six days of another antivirus firm discovering the virus were unlikely to have fixed the virus even 30 days later.
Eerily enough, Carbon Black also predicted that “there are threats that are never detected by any product.” In other words, viruses could infect computers, do their dirty work, then disappear without users or PC security firms ever having detected them. This was the case with complex viruses like Flame, which were able to lie undetected for years on PCs without attracting attention.
The most frightening part of the report is that these viruses are more dangerous than they have ever been in the past. If an undetected virus manages to infect your computer, it can monitor all of the information sent over the computer’s connection, but that’s not even the most frightening part – the virus can also turn on the user’s webcam and microphone and record what’s going on in your home office.
So, in a worst case scenario, an undetected virus could be on your computer right now, and it could be monitoring which websites you visit while recording you – from your webcam – sitting at your PC.
If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
The problems with this PC security report
The report is facing some criticism from those in the PC security community. Experts claim that the methodology of the study was awkward, and that many antivirus companies deliberately omit certain threats because they’re not actually that dangerous. In a detailed blog post criticising the report, David Harley claimed that the viruses used in the study were actually not a threat to PC security, which is why many of today’s top antivirus software failed to label them as threats.
Another interesting conclusion by the Carbon Black report is that multiple antivirus programs provide better protection than just a single antivirus program. Instead of waiting for six days, a month, or longer, for your antivirus software to update its defense to a particular virus, you can use a competing antivirus software to eliminate the threat immediately.
Conclusion – how to protect your PC from these virus threats
Wherever you stand on the issue, the fact is that there are many viruses which can remain undetected by even the best PC antivirus software in the industry. This has been demonstrated by Flame, Stuxnet, and countless other viruses over the years – many of which have lied dormant on infected computers for years without being detected.
To safeguard your computer against these viruses, try cleaning it on a regular basis with PC Cleaner Pro. Or, if you’re worried your antivirus software lagging behind the competition, try downloading another program to see if it catches threats that your original antivirus software does not. You can use two antivirus programs in tandem to protect your computer even further.