Saturday, November 19, 2005

New Breeds Promise A Dark Future

Although some researchers indicate that new virus activity is beginning to slow for the first time in years, they also report that the viruses that do manage to break into the wild are more dangerous than ever.
Blended Threats, which combine aspects of viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, are appearing with more frequency. Although blended threats are not new (for example, Nimda appeared in 2001), they are becoming more popular among virus writers who appreciate their complexity and elusiveness.
Polymorphic Viruses, which change their code each time they replicate to thwart anti-virus detection, are also materializing more often. Like blended threats, polymorphic viruses have a long history and show no sign of slowing down. Alarmingly, sophisticated threats such as these often do significantly more damage than viruses we saw four or five years ago.
The enormous surge in virus outbreaks since Elk Cloner reared its innocuous head long ago spawned a hefty anti-virus industry that continues to valiantly battle malicious code. Unfortunately, recent history has shown us that viruses, worms, and Trojan horses—and even combinations of the three— inevitably stay one step ahead of detection attempts.

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