On New Year’s Eve, a New York Times story discussed how the billions of dollars that consumers and businesses spend every year on antivirus software “rarely, if ever, block freshly minted computer viruses … because the virus creators move too quickly.” The increase in the number of viruses as well as their sophistication has forced many companies to rethink how they handle their computer security. “The bad guys are always trying to be a step ahead,” Matthew D. Howard, a venture capitalist at Norwest Venture Partners who previously set up the security strategy at Cisco Systems, told the Times. “And it doesn’t take a lot to be a step ahead.”
As the Times noted, computer viruses are no longer just about creating mischief. After criminals discovered that malicious software could be profitable in the mid-2000s, the number of new viruses began to grow exponentially. The Times reported AV-Test, a German research institute that tests antivirus products, said the less than one million strains of malware in 2000 grew to 49 million new strains by 2010. While the antivirus industry also grew, experts told the Times that it has fallen behind. “By the time its products are able to block new viruses, it is often too late,” the Times reported. “The bad guys have already had their fun, siphoning out a company’s trade secrets, erasing data or emptying a consumer’s bank account.”
“The game has changed from the attacker’s standpoint,” Phil Hochmuth, a Web security analyst at the research firm International Data Corporation, told the Times. “The traditional signature-based method of detecting malware is not keeping up.”
The Times cited one study in which researchers analyzed 82 new computer viruses and put them up against more than 40 antivirus products made by top companies such as Microsoft, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab. The initial detection rate ended up being less than 5 percent. “The day companies unplug their antivirus software is still far off, but entrepreneurs and investors are betting that the old tools will become relics,” the Times reported.
Sophisticated malware can steal extremely valuable data from computers, and all businesses should make sure that they are protecting valuable confidential information. You can find more information about trade secrets litigation on our website. If you think that a competitor, former employee or other individual stole trade secrets from your company, Los Angeles business litigation attorney Robert Klein has more than a quarter-century of experience. Use the form on this page or contact our firm at (323) 653-3900 to have our Los Angeles trade secrets attorney review your case.
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