Traditional anti-virus tools now obsolete

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Integrated technologies the way forward, says McAfee.

Traditional anti-virus tools have become an outdated way of responding to today's threats, according to security giant McAfee.

McAfee built its security empire on signature-based anti-virus products. However, Chris Kenworthy, senior vice president for enterprise at the firm, told delegates at the ISSE security conference in Madrid that the evolving nature of current threats should force firms to look at alternative ways to secure their systems.

He advised security professionals to invest in multiple integrated technologies to cope with different types of malware, including zero-day exploits, rootkits and Trojans.

But more important than the technology is an enterprise security policy, according to Kenworthy.

"We vendors want to sell you lots of products, but really it's the policy that will drive good security practice in an organisation. If you don't have the policies the technology will be ill-deployed," he said.

Others in the industry agreed with Kenworthy's appraisal of anti-virus products. Neil Cook, European head of technical solutions at security vendor Cloudmark, argued that traditional anti-virus is "practically obsolete" in many respects.

"Anti-virus has been working the same way for 20 years. The anti-virus companies are in a classic situation: it's hard for them to innovate because there's too much money invested in keeping things the way they are," he said.
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