Risk
8/17/2010
03:24 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Anti-Virus Suite Protection? Not Much

It's no secret that anti-virus software doesn't do much to protect you against new and rapidly moving viruses, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that these suites don't do much good defending you against exploit code, either. A fresh evaluation from NSS Labs reveals just how vulnerable you really are.

It's no secret that anti-virus software doesn't do much to protect you against new and rapidly moving viruses, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that these suites don't do much good defending you against exploit code, either. A fresh evaluation from NSS Labs reveals just how vulnerable you really are.One of the reasons I've always taken interest in NSS Labs reports is because they are independently conducted and not funded by the security firms tested. In this report, NSS Labs tested the leading corporate anti-virus and end-point anti-virus applications on their ability to protect the host from exploit attacks. Exploit code is software that leverages application vulnerabilities to gain access. Many attacks today are in fact exploit-based attacks that are delivered in e-mail and malicious or compromised web sites and target web browsers, plug-ins, and client-side applications. These are the kinds of attacks that made the now famous Operation Aurora attack on Google and many other U.S. companies possible, and were heavily reported on earlier this year.

To conduct this test, NSS Labs took 123 common and already public exploits (many have been public for awhile, some years even) and tested them against a selection of the leading anti-virus vendors: AVG, Norman, ESET, Panda, F-Secure, Sophos, Kaspersky, Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro.

The results are dismal and, according to NSS Labs, reveal that about 75 percent of organizations are not adequately protected.

How unprotected?

Well, the average protection score was 76 percent against the original exploit and 58 percent for a similar or alternative exploit. Note these exploits were not obfuscated in any way, according to NSS Labs. So many attacks in the real-world would even be more successful.

In baseball, a 76% average would be outstanding. When protecting your data: not so much.

But when one looks beneath the averages the results are even worse. Only one vendor, the highest ranked, stopped all exploits thrown at it. The lowest ranked vendor didn't even manage to stop 70 percent of the exploits thrown at it.

Symantec, according to the report, only managed to stop 71 percent of the exploits thrown at it.

These just aren't acceptable results. So not only are software vendors not investing enough to develop applications that will keep your data safe, but neither are most of the vendors that purport to protect you.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0972
Published: 2014-08-01
The kgsl graphics driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not properly prevent write access to IOMMU context registers, which allows local users to select a custom page table, and consequently write ...

CVE-2014-2627
Published: 2014-08-01
Unspecified vulnerability in HP NonStop NetBatch G06.14 through G06.32.01, H06 through H06.28, and J06 through J06.17.01 allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges for NetBatch job execution via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3009
Published: 2014-08-01
The GDS component in IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management - Collaborative Edition 10.0 through 11.0 and InfoSphere Master Data Management Server for Product Information Management 9.0 and 9.1 does not properly handle FRAME elements, which makes it easier for remote authenticated users to conduct ph...

CVE-2014-3302
Published: 2014-08-01
user.php in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server 1.5(.1.131) and earlier does not properly implement the token timer for authenticated encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCuj81708.

CVE-2014-3534
Published: 2014-08-01
arch/s390/kernel/ptrace.c in the Linux kernel before 3.15.8 on the s390 platform does not properly restrict address-space control operations in PTRACE_POKEUSR_AREA requests, which allows local users to obtain read and write access to kernel memory locations, and consequently gain privileges, via a c...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio