Skip to main content

Anti-Virus vs Anti-Virus

By 09.09.16May 10th, 2019No Comments

Is it possible that the anti-virus you are running at your business is obsolete?

That’s the question many companies are working though as hackers develop massive amounts of new malware and other viruses to steal data for exposure and profit. We are living in a time when cyber warfare is being waged around the globe. Most business people think of cyber breaches as something that happens to others. Governments and large multi-national companies are targeted by foreign entities in an attempt to steal data to advance their objectives. The truth is that cyber attackers are opportunists and criminals that develop malware and other viruses for profit.

Hackers, like common street criminals look for weak points in security. They exploit vulnerabilities. If a criminal is in your neighborhood, they will seek out the house that appears empty or dark. They will find the one that has trees and bushes for cover. If there are ten houses on a street and four of them have alarms, they will focus on the other six. They are the houses that are vulnerable!

This is the same mentality that cyber criminals employ. Find the weakest link and attack. This is why the number of attacks on small and medium sized businesses are dramatically increasing. Many larger corporations and governments have access to more expensive and more sophisticated protection. Mid-size and smaller companies without the resources to buy the best protection available are relying on anti-virus solutions that have been around for years.

There are two main types of anti-virus available on the market today: “signature based” systems and “artificial intelligence or machine learning systems.” The standard anti-virus programs that most of us use are “signature based.” Most of us are familiar with these programs: Norton, Symantec, McAfee, etc. Simply put, “signature based” AV compares “signatures” or “hashes” of files on a system to a list of known malicious files. Think of it as if you were creating a list. Your list contains all the viruses and malware you have ever seen. When a virus or malware enters your system your “signature based” anti-virus checks the list to see if it has seen it before. If it has it stops the files execution. You are protected.

What happens if it is a new, never before seen virus or malware? Chances are you are infected. It got by your anti-virus and infected your system. Hackers understand this and have learned to create new attacks called “Zero Day” threats.  These are either entirely new strains or mutated existing strains.  Zero-day attacks are severe threats.  The only way your traditional AV will detect and stop this virus is when the AV company gets this file, analyzes it and then adds it to the definition list.  This typically takes most AV companies between 3-5 days.  So realistically you are unprotected from newer viruses for as much as 5 days.

Traditional anti-virus (probably the one you are using for your business) are “signature based,” and more susceptible to attacks from new strains of viruses and malware attacks like zero-day attacks.

Enter the new kid on the block. Finally, the anti-virus protection that many of the large credit card and Fortune 500 companies have been using are now available to the rest of the market at an affordable price.sophos_icon

Sophos, the next generation anti-virus is an artificial intelligence based system that detects and prevents malware from executing on your endpoints in real time.

Sophos takes a mathematical approach to malware identification utilizing machine learning techniques instead of reactive signatures. This new A.I. based system renders new malware, viruses, bots and unknown future variants useless. At the core of Sophos’s unprecedented malware identification capability is a revolutionary machine learning research platform that harnesses the power of algorithmic science and artificial intelligence. It analyzes and classifies hundreds of thousands of characteristics per file, breaking them down to discern whether an object is “good” or “bad” in real time.

The most vulnerable locations for a virus to enter is at your endpoints.  Sophos protects your endpoints against advanced malware and zero-day threats with the world’s first anti-virus built on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Simply put, Sophos stops the virus before it runs on the system.  Sophos uses machine learning to stop the virus from running on the endpoint (desktop, laptop or server). The Sophos system looks for anomalies and makes predictive decisions based on learned patterns and behaviors. If you have ever been on vacation and used your credit card to buy things outside your normal buying pattern, you have probably received a call to ask you if you authorized a purchase. This is an example of artificial intelligence and machine learning understanding your buying patterns over time and then comparing to new patterns to decide if your card is at risk. Sophos uses this technology to predict patterns of incoming data. If the data looks suspicious or an anomaly occurs it stops the file from executing and quarantines the file immediately.

In our new world of mutated malware and zero-day threats, reactive or “signature based” systems will only stop about 30% of incoming attacks. Sophos artificial intelligence based solutions offer predictive protection that stop 98 to 99% of attacks.

The one constant in I.T. is change. It’s time to consider a change in your anti-virus protection. For more information about Sophos and the predictive protection of artificial intelligence based anti-virus solutions, please contact us today.

Want to see a demo of Sophos vs your current AV to see how much more effective it is at protecting your systems?  Give us a call at 919.582.6212 or fill out our contact us form.

By Rick Miller…..

Leave a Reply