Many computer users rely on antivirus software from McAfee and Symantec to protect their computers from malware, worms, and viruses. Since the creation of viruses outpaces the protection abilities of the software, antivirus protection lags behind and may not be as secure as you think. [Gary Warner] provides some examples of current malware making the rounds that continue to be unaddressed by anti-virus vendors, including the recent “CNN Alerts: Breaking News” spam, which morphed into MSNBC alert spoofs. Our advice? Keep your antivirus software updated, but don’t believe that it will catch everything for you. Only open files from sources you know and trust.
The DShield project is hoping to change how we protect our networks from malware with predictive blacklisting. Using a method similar to Google’s PageRank, DShield collects logs from network administrators to help develop a score based on maliciousness. They combine this score with information about where the malware has already hit to determine an overall threat level.
Similar to antivirus programs, the system still relies on networks being attacked to rate the threat level. They have shown though, that the predictive method is consistently more effective than manual blacklisting. The system has been available for free for the past year. Those utilizing the system have been reporting positive results. They do note that there are a few people whose network infrastructure doesn’t match up with the predictions very well. If you would like to participate, go to their site and sign up.