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The Zero Day Question

Zero day malware is malware that is released, for which no direct signatures exist at that moment of release, and for which security software companies have to rush to get a sample, get a signature and then get the signature update out to their product.

The risk vector on this is obviously the weak point in signature-based antivirus and anti-spyware products.

You’ll read a lot about this, and you’ll also read A LOT about how antivirus software is not really a solution any more. You’ll mostly read this from companies purporting to offer zero day solutions.

The main problem is, none 0f these “zero day solutions” tends to actually work as well as one would hope – hell, if a fully secure solution were found, then the rest of us would be out of business! And so, it is advised you take such talk with a large pinch of salt.

The holy grail of security software is to have a solution that does not require signatures or updating and would just work. Always.

We are, however, nowhere near getting to such a solution, and it really isn’t through lack of trying.

Some people accuse the antivirus industry of not wanting such a solution, but we would suggest that, if you think about that for a second, that doesn’t ring true or make sense.

For instance: were we to make such a solution, we would, simply, be able to rule the market for end-point and server security solutions, and it would be a license to “print money”, further, our costs of ongoing business would be substantially reduced, as we would not longer need to worry about updates. It would indeed be a perfect solution for all.

The trouble with things like this are: it would be too good to be true. And things never are.

In the meantime, of course the industry continues to look for great zero-day solutions, and we continue to improve heuristics and other detection methodology; we also go on updating signatures and getting them out to you as soon as possible. We do this because, it is unlikely that, any time soon, there will be a better solution that signature based antivirus. If there is, we can’t wait to find it and release it to you!

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About Justin Bellinger

Justin is an experienced software professional, having worked in software and software security for nearly 20 years. Justin is VP of Security Products at SPAMfighter.
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