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Zero Day Threats Transform Virus Danger

Ross O. Storey | Nov. 25, 2010
The current speed of new malware outbreaks is rendering many traditional anti-virus defences redundant, according to Hong-Kong based managed Internet security provider Network Box.

MIS Asia editor Ross O. Storey interviewed Network Box managing director, Michael Gazeley, recently. Gazeley shared with him the latest research and best practices employed in the continual combat on the information security front. Their discussion below.

Ross O. Storey: How has the digital threat environment changed in the past year and what should Asia enterprises now be doing differently to combat it?
Michael Gazeley:
If there was ever any doubt that we are locked in an arms race with the hackers, spammers, and virus writers out there; then this year put all doubts to rest.

In particular, the number of new viruses which have hit critical mass, and blitzed the Internet over the last 12 months, has been absolutely staggering.

The issue is not just the number of viruses which exist; around the five million mark right now; but it is the astounding number of new viruses which are being produced every day.

At Network Box, we have always had a battery of anti-malware engines to deal with viruses; all of which are updated using our award winning PUSH update technology. As soon as a new anti-malware signature or security patch becomes available, we push it out to every Network Box customer in the world in an average of just 45 seconds.  

But this year, the focus has very much been on the speed of threat signature production.

In order to cope with the sheer speed of new malware outbreaks, we launched a new ultra high speed response anti-malware engine. This new anti-malware engine, called the Z-Scan engine, is specifically designed to deal with Zero Day Threats.

Zero Day Threats, describe threats which try to exploit software vulnerabilities that are unknown, or undisclosed, to the target softwares developer. With literally zero notice, the software developer will have had no opportunity to release a security patch ahead of the attack.

The faster the speed of response from the security industry when such an attack does come in however, the less damage these attacks will be able to do collectively. Unfortunately, we often see mainstream anti-virus vendors taking between five and twelve hours, to get a signature out to their clients. This is just not good enough anymore, indeed it hasnt been good enough for a very long time.

With the Network Box Z-Scan engine, we have cut anti-virus signature production, and delivery, down to as little as three seconds in some instances. There is no other system I am aware of, which can offer this speed of protection.

I am very proud of all the hard work our development team put in to create this incredible technology. I know that Mark Webb-Johnson in particular, who is our Chief Technology Officer, burnt an awful lot of midnight oil on the Z-Scan project. But the results have been amazing.


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