Signature-based scanners fail to pick up malware

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Signature-based scanners are failing to pick up more than half of malware, according to ScanSafe's quarterly Global Threat Report.

The report claimed that 58 per cent of web malware blocks were zero day threats. With an average rate of zero day malware blocks at 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, companies that use signature-based scanning alone could have been heavily exposed to malware during this period.


Mary Landesman, senior security researcher at ScanSafe, said: “Zero day malware is increasing and with signature-based scanners not picking up an average of 20 per cent of malware, it is now crucial to use real-time scanning to ensure that your employees, network and most importantly, your data is not at risk.


“With malware increasing in both volume and sophistication and no foreseeable slow down in sight, it is more important than ever that companies have a comprehensive web security solution in place.” 


The report also claimed that there was an outbreak of bank-related data theft Trojans, known as Zeus botnets, in the first quarter. The Zeus botnet was used in a hack of the job site and was previously implicated in a US$6 million commercial account heist on 20 European banks and is believed to be controlled by Russian cybercriminals.


Landesman said: “Zeus is a prime example of how cybercriminals are developing more sophisticated tactics to steal valuable data and will continue to do so. Previous to the Q1 '09 outbreak, the Zeus botnet was thought to have infected about 100,000 computers. Given the Zeus activity in 2009, it is likely that the number of Zeus bot-infected computers has increased proportionately.”

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