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Antivirus industry slammed by DTI report

Companies still get viruses despite having antivirus software - so what is going wrong?
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Companies still get viruses despite having antivirus software - so what is going wrong?

The UK government has released research that will make unpleasant reading for some in the antivirus industry.

A survey from the Department of Trade and Industry revealed that 68 per cent of large companies were infected by viruses during 2003, despite the fact that 99 per cent were using antivirus products.

Chris Potter, security analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers, who co-wrote the survey said: "Antivirus software alone is just not enough anymore."

This is not the first time that signature-based virus protection has been criticised. It is seen by many as being far too reactive, meaning there will always be victims before there are solutions and fixes.

And in the wake of 'Warhol' worms - those that have '15 minutes' of destructive fame - such reactivity is easily exposed.

Potter added: "While almost every UK business has antivirus software in place, the incidence of attack is rising. With new viruses like MyDoom and Netsky sweeping the world within hours of their release, software is only as good as its last update."

Mark Sunner, CTO of MessageLabs, said: "The most effective solution is a proactive and continuously updated managed service that stops known and unknown spam and virus threats at the internet level, before they ever reach corporate networks and end users."

While some companies surveyed reported little or no damage resulting from an infection, some said an attack had often resulted in very costly remedial work and disruption that ran to more than one month.

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