By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Antivirus companies used to be the most controversial companies out there. Everyone used them and bought them, yet almost every other person also complained about how such software slows down their computer or if they even need such software. Everyone knew antivirus software existed for a much-debated reason.
How times have changed.
In 2011, some new trends emerged which shook the entire antivirus industry. Malware became more popular with the advent of mobile systems. And it was being debated a bit as to whether the Antivirus companies were ready to combat malware. By mid-2012, news of more and more malware bypassing almost all the antivirus software came and went on a daily basis.
Today, it’s quite clear that only a very few companies like Symantec, McAfee, BitDefender and some smaller entities are able to monitor and track Malware on an acceptable pace. And by acceptable, we mean passing rates.
Even the much touted Microsoft Security Essentials bundle failed the world-renowned AV-Test’s certification twice in a row. We have tons of companies claiming to be solutions to the new breed of malware. It’s not clear at all as to which solution actually works, given the fact that every day some new form or variant of malware and virus gets released into the wild.
The only thing clearly winning so far is the malware itself. Now everyone is worried that antivirus companies are not smart enough to keep people safe from all the online malware affecting and infecting us daily.
It’s a fact now that Antivirus companies are working harder, and in almost all cases, struggling to keep up with the Malware developments. The biggest differences can be seen in Symantec and McAfee, where their homepages are currently focusing more on words like “protection” and “malware” and less on “antivirus.”
Viruses are evil, though Malware is the new king of danger. McAfee itself predicts that in 2013 and beyond, the one and only thing to worry about in the near future will be mobile malware.
In fact, McAfee has gone to great lengths to say that mobile malware will be more dangerous than the entire Anonymous group. While Anonymous group targeted companies and resources with usually a political or non-political agenda, malware doesn’t discriminate.
Malware is going after everyone on every platform without any agenda. It just wants to spread and cause damage.
Everyone is infected. Including your Apple.
The once untouchable Apple is now also one of the preys. More malware and security exploits have started hitting all Apple software in the last 12 months than in all the previous years of Apple’s existence combined. The recent Java 7 Plug-in in OS X left a huge security hole open, allowing any hacker to inject malware and other code onto any system remotely.
Apple used to be the standard in bragging about not being infected with viruses, unlike Windows. Gone are the days when Apple fanboys could tell Microsoft fanboys about enjoying not being infected. Both groups are now victims to the same malware, and the same issues. This is one of the biggest proving points that once more people start accessing any kind of system or software, the higher probability there is that there are issues in that system and software.
Apple’s legendary and much-hated DRM system itself has been bypassed: now anyone can install any untested or unlisted iPhone or iPad app on their system without without jailbreaking their device. This is great news for people wanting more freedom, but this also means that there are now new ways for malware apps to trickle in without raising any flags. What’s more: there’s already a fake Malware OS X installer out in the wild. That’s something no one ever imagined could happen.
Microsoft was once commended on always releasing regular Tuesday updates via its super easy to use online Windows Update. Now, after so many years of updates, every Windows update proves and shows that the software maker is behind in many things, and that the malware and security issues in Windows may never end.
What’s the future?
Almost no one is safe these days. Your browser, computer, mobile phone and even mobile apps are now all prone to viruses and malware. At the current rate, Malware is only increasing. There doesn’t seem to be any slowdown to the threats. What is also happening in your favor, however, is that there are more services and tools out there now to help you combat and shield yourself from such threats.
The only solution now is to be aware and to keep yourself updated. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and even all your favorite mobile apps release updates to their software to address these security issues on an almost weekly basis now. Make sure you apply such updates on a timely basis (meaning daily).
Remember: don’t panic, simply keep up to date with what’s happening, and keep yourself updated. Our own Hotspot Shield also protects you from malware, in addition to many other features. Try us out and protect yourself for free on your Windows, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, and all your Android phones and tablets.