With advancements in technology Internet security threats have increased manifold as cyber criminals have managed to invade systems with innovative malware agents. They use sophisticated and deceptive cyber-attack technologies that are not recognized by traditional antivirus methods.
To spot such attacks and prevent them in the future next-generation malware protection methods must be employed. These employ big data analytics to dissect and analyze unusual system behavior in extreme detail and in real-time.
Let’s look at how new antivirus methods would lead to better protection from viruses, malware or spyware.
Traditional Malware Defense
The old virus protection vendors base their analysis on samples of malware or viruses that have been detected or discovered. They prepare signatures to be applied to enable the antivirus software to recognize the threat next time it’s seen. These signatures are maintained in a database on that antivirus (AV) platform and would be in the form of behavioral characteristics, binary hashes or regular expressions.
Traditional virus protection software (equipped with a detection engine and intercept driver) often resides on computer systems where the driver tests various objects and reports to the engine when unusual behavior was found. The engine then compares it with the relevant signatures maintained in the signature database (maintained by the technical malware / virus analysts of a particular AV vendor).
So the software’s effectiveness depends largely on how updated the database is. With new methods of attack being devised these days it is likely that no matches would be found in a database that depends on existing samples of virus or malware.
Similarly, other typical virus detection methods like online virus or spyware scanners are also ineffective as they run only on-demand. Professional cyber criminals take full advantage of such loopholes in the limited time they get to attack systems between two virus scan runs.
Next-Generation Antivirus and Big Data Analytics
To remove the inefficiencies of previous AV methods, the new generation of techniques must automate analysis of malware rather than relying only on previous samples captured from other client machines. These solutions are based on a multi-tier and distributed cloud environment. This means that the antivirus detection engines would no longer be client-specific, and instead be placed on the cloud, thereby preventing manipulation of any particular client’s virus protection software.
The ability of multiple detection engines to work simultaneously despite being connected to different client computers would improve the speed at which data is received for analysis. Continuous study of behavioral patterns and visualization of event data makes it possible for security analysts to spot patterns just before the attack actually happens.
To conduct the data-visualization process huge volumes of data are required, which is made available because the cloud network is connected in real-time. Thus, big data analytics helps identify and block cyber threats before the attack has a chance to infect or compromise a system.
What do you think about next-generation antivirus software? Do you think big data will revolutionize the way antivirus operates today? Share your comments below.