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Twenty-Four Seven Security

Peter Schooff

Malware at Epidemic Levels

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As per Dark Reading, two new studies released last Tuesday indicate that malware has increased between 500 to 1,000 percent in 2007, which is virtually an epidemic. And I use virtually intentionally, as indications show that malware is starting to infect vitualization as well.

"The number of new strains of malware that appeared in 2007 increased tenfold with respect to the previous year," said PandaLabs, Panda Security's research arm, in a report issued yesterday. "Over the last year, PandaLabs has received an average of more than 3,000 new strains of malware every day. This represents a malware epidemic which -- although silent, with little media coverage and no widespread alerts -- is nevertheless dangerous."

The study indicates that signature-based defenses to combat malware are now ineffective. How so? Well, apparently 72 percent of networks with more than 100 workstations -- along with 23 percent of home PCs -- are infected with malware, and are infected despite having operative antivirus or other signature-based tools in place, PandaLabs said.

If this were the black plague instead of malware, well, humanity would pretty much have to start over on another planet (how about a planet that hands out free money).

Another group, AV-Test, an independent testing organization, also found evidence of a tsunami of malware, and found what they identified as 5.5 million different malware files in 2007, 5 times the total in 2006, where they counted 973,000 such files. Even worse, AV-Test found that the trend is accelerating, as the group has already identified 118,000 different malware files in the first two weeks of January.

Said AV-Test, "The figures clearly demonstrate that the signature-based approach of current anti-virus software is no longer appropriate."

I guess with nearly 1 billion people online, the great income disparity between the 1st and the 3rd world is going to be fought out via computer malware (besides all the home grown bad guys the US seems to produce).

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Peter Schooff's blog is a daily look at what's going on in the world of computer security with an emphasis on how it affects businesses.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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