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May 2002

Using 'synergistic' antivirus to combat multi-vector viruses and worms

Many IT security managers have a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that their primary security controls are fallible. "Primary" controls, in this context, refer to security mechanisms or technologies that mitigate a particular threat most of the time-in fact, more than 90 percent of the time -- but never all of the time. Antivirus scanners are a good example of the fallibility of primary controls. AV scanners stop in excess of 90 percent of malicious code threats. But despite the huge day-in, day-out success of AV products, failures still happen -- often in spectacular fashion. According to the Seventh Annual ICSA Labs' Virus Prevalence Survey every year organizations spend more and more money attempting to mitigate the risk of viruses and worms. Yet each year the impact of viruses -- measured as frequency or cost of virus encounters, incidents and disasters -- continues to worsen. There are two main reasons why our defenses continue to lag behind the virus and worm problem: the problem is evolving faster than our ...

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