No Software Is 100% Fault Free And That Includes Antivirus Programs

You might not be aware of this but even the software that we consider the safest on the computer system still has faults. We are taught that when it comes to certain software that we should be at the very least aware of the problems that it might have. For example, when you go to a web page and play a Flash game then you should be aware that it could have vulnerabilities inside of it. Or if you go to a web page and it is running a heavy amount of JavaScript then you should be aware that it could load something onto your computer. But when it comes to the software that we run on our computer such as antivirus we are conditioned to accept that it just works and that there is nothing wrong with it.

While most antivirus software packages are very reliable it is still software and could still have problems. There is no such thing as one hundred percent safe software and antivirus software is not an exception. There are updates done all of the time because there are faults found in the actual software and you should be aware of this. Just because it is a wall that was built to protect your computer does not mean that it does not have holes in it.

Penetration by black hat hackers

One of the ways that black hat hackers are able to get into your system and cause damage is by finding ways around your antivirus software package. They know that most systems today are protected by default but they still have a business to run so they must find ways around the protection. Just because you see that you have a roadblock in front of you when it comes to accomplishing your goals does not mean that you stop and give up. No, you find your way around that roadblock and continue on your mission. Black hat hackers are the same way. They are not going to stop until they find a way around the problem.

Problems that have been found

Just recently a computer security programmer from Google, Tavis Ormandy, did a talk on some of the vulnerabilities found in many of our favorite antivirus software packages. And it is true, there are many. He felt that they are not as secure as they could be and a lot of that was because of politics. One of the software products that he paid close attention to in his talk was one that is called Sophos. He thought that Sophos did not do all that it promised to do and he thought that some of the features were truly misrepresented. Sophos countered with a professional reply in order to clarify the situation.

Some of the problems that he found with the software was a heavy reliance on CRC32 and sequence not used anymore. Also he said that the Buffer Overflow Protect System was outdated on newer Windows systems and could be improved.

While he did take Sophos to task, the talk was more of a criticism of the entire industry. Most people do not do that. They are just so happy that the software exists and that a vendor might offer it for free so they do not even think about criticizing. They know that the bad guys are out there and they are a lot worse than the few problems in your antivirus software. But no business should be beyond reproach. With criticism, you are pointing out the flaws that exist. That is the only way that a problem can get better. If the antivirus software that you are using is giving you false positives then you know that it is having problems and you should report that to the vendor. If the software does not pick up an attack that happened on your computer then you should report that as well. The only way that they know that there is a problem is if you tell them. Without feedback from the end user the product becomes stale and misses a lot of problems that it could be solving.

When you are running antivirus software then you want to make sure that you have the best product possible. You are always being told that you are the problem when it comes to this type of software. You are told that if you do not update it enough or if you do not scan the correct files then it is your fault that you have become infected. But sometimes it is not your fault. Sometimes the problem that happens with the antivirus software is the fault of the vendor and it needs to be reported. Only by reporting the problem will the vendor be able to solve it.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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