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The future of virus detection

Richard Ford
Information Security Technical Report. Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.19-26
ISSN 1363-4127
June 2004

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When the average computer user can tell you the name of the latest major Internet worm, it becomes clear that we are not winning the war against Malicious Mobile Code. With the billions of dollars spent annually by the antivirus community and operating system manufactures on new and innovative countermeasures to stop viruses and worms, one is tempted to ask is the war even winnable? Is the issue simply one of careless users taking unnecessary risks, or is there something fundamentally broken in the way in which we attempt to defend against the onslaught of new viruses?

In this article, these issues will be examined by looking not at the current threat profile, but at the different ways in which we defend our systems and their weaknesses. By examining the problem from this direction, it is possible to build up a list of requirements for solutions of the future - essentially, what functionality tomorrow's anti-virus software will need to have to keep us one step ahead of the next generation of viruses and worms.

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