Many computer users, especially those who started using their machines a couple of decades ago, have a very careful approach to anti-virus programmes using the most sophisticated of them and keeping an eye on all the possible updates. Undeniably, this is a very sensible way of treating your computer, however, there are some dangers from which are going beyond the scope of protection of even the best anti-virus programmes.
Of course, you should be aware of the nature of these dangers. that is why we have dedicated an entire article to this crucial topic.
What does an average anti-virus programme offer to its clients?
First of all, lets’ look at the basic functions of the majority of anti-virus programmes.
Actually, you can expect your anti-virus tool to perform regular scans of your system during which some viruses and malware can be detected. At the same time, such programmes are also offering real-time protection which means they will not only be able to detect the viruses which have already infected your computer but also the ones which are trying to get into your system right now. Depending on the phase of activity of these viruses, the anti-virus programme will be able either to delete them or to stop them from invading the system.
Don’t count on your anti-virus programme in the cases of these threats
Good anti-virus programmes will be able to perform all of these tasks, however, there are several serious issues you should not expect them to do.
Insiders threatening the system
One of the potential threat to your network especially in the working environment is some of the co-workers who has malicious intents for some reasons. Needless to say, such people can harm the entire organisation and anti-viruses will not be able to do a lot in this case.
The most common insider threats is fraud which is based on misusing the personal or organisational data in order to generate some financial benefits. Other popular insider threats are IP theft and espionage which is aiming to gain some secret information in order to put the person into some advantageous position. Such data can be of various types including intellectual properties or trade secrets. On top of that, some attackers also want to perform sabotage damaging the system in a specific way.
Such attacks can be performed of different people. While some of them are doing it for some third-party either for their own profits, as a result being blackmailed or for any other reason, malicious insiders choose this type of behaviour on their own not being coerced or tricked by anyone else. Such people can be especially dangerous.
Finally, you should also remember about careless employees who can cause damage to the organisation by not being cautious enough while opening files in the Internet.
Infected personal devices
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the modern working environment is overfilled not only by the organisational devices but also by the gadgets owned by employees. Many companies allow their workers to use their personal laptops, tablets or smartphones at work and some are even encouraging the employees to do it enforcing the BYOD system which stands for Bring Your Own Device.
As you can imagine each of these gadgets can be potentially threatening to the system of the organisation. The same is true when it comes to your guests visiting your home. Anyone of them using your network or plugging their devices into your computer can infect the system.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
Advanced Persistent Threats, just as the name suggests, are rather complex to be detected easily even by the best anti-malware tools. The major problem with this type of attacks is that the malware causing damage to the system is introduced a long time before it actually starts its activity. It can be weeks before the attack or even months which makes the malicious code invisible for the majority of anti-virus programmes. Basically, once such malware is inside the system, it is waiting to be launched remotely by its controller.
Of course, this type of attacks are a serious threat to an organisation. Moreover, a professional group of hackers can attack even entire governments of countries in such a way.
One of the most popular types of such malware is RAT or Remote Access Trojan. As far as you might know, Trojan itself pretends to be a normal safe file while it is containing harmful code. Combined with the remote controlling system, it becomes a powerful APT tool.
Malicious software unknown to the anti-virus
Needless to say, one of the most popular problems with anti-virus programmes is not being able to detect malware or neutralise it simply because it has never come across anything similar. The problem is that the viruses and other malware are being created by hackers all the time and the number of new malicious programmes are counted in tens of millions each year. Furthermore, their numbers are constantly growing.
Certainly, the harder the developers of anti-malware programmes are trying to protect their clients, the more creative hackers have to be to perform their attacks. That is why it is absolutely real that even the most upgraded and updated anti-malware programme is still not aware of all the possible cyber threats, let alone being able to address all of them.