Two key reasons why anti-malware has overtaken anti-virus

Two key reasons why anti-malware has overtaken anti-virus

Matt Blowes November 29, 2017 Managed Services, Security, Sentrian One

In the face of new and growing threats from ransomware, anti-virus software is proving insufficient. Ransomware and other fast-spreading threats have outpaced viruses to become some of the biggest threats to business security.

Anti-malware software provides a more comprehensive level of security. It's designed to protect against emerging threats as they develop. On the other hand, anti-virus software focuses on handling pre-existing threats.

1. Anti-virus isn't what it used to be

It's a reasonable assumption to think anti-virus protection is an all encompassing solution. It may have been possible to get away with this security approach in the past when viruses were more prominent. But over the last ten years the security dynamic has changed. 

Here's a quick breakdown:

  1. Malicious software, known as malware, is the broad term for damaging threats. Malware can be any number of dangers, including viruses, ransomware, keyloggers, etc. 
  2. Ransomware is arguably today's number one threat. It is a type of malware. It typically encrypts files and demands a Bitcoin payment to unlock them. A well-known strain of ransomware is cryptolocker.
  3. A virus is something that copies itself over and over again with the intent of damaging or destroying your PC. These are a traditional threat but are not necessarily a 'real-time' threat compared to other types of malware. 

While the immediate threat of viruses has diminished somewhat, but that's only due to ransomware taking its place.

2. Malware can silently strike 

In some cases, Malware is able to get onto your computer even if you're cautious in day-to-day internet use. A common pathway for malware to find your computer is through an exploit. An exploit is a bug or gap in a program's code that allows a malicious software maker to install software on your computer.

This means you could go to a normally safe website, but still be infected by malware due to an exploit. It could be hiding in the advertising on the web page, or even in the web page content itself.

Your anti-virus program may promote that it's protecting you in real-time, but it's only protecting you from virus threats. Malware protection needs to cover a broader range of threats. 

Anti-malware software can perform well in the face of today's threats, but a single tool is not a complete security solution. That's why we recommend a layered approached using a mix of protection and scanning software, with anti-malware as a priority.

Contact your Sentrian Client Services Manager to learn more about the security software your business is currently using and other options available.