BitDefender, an award-winning provider of antivirus software and data security solutions, and North America´s leading antivirus vendor and security expert, today presented their predictions on the top virus issues for 2006. These 2006 antivirus predictions are based on a recent report by BitDefender´s team of anti-virus experts, which identified issues including potential bugs in Microsoft´s OneCare, mobile viruses and the rise of criminal virus writers as top concerns for the year ahead.
BitDefender, which offers the industry´s fastest and world´s most effective line of antivirus and email security defense, has set new standards for timely threat detection and for simple installation, use and updates and delivers effective threat management for over 41 million home and corporate users in more than 100 countries.
BitDefender´s predictions come at a critical time for the security industry, which is preparing to gather for the upcoming RSA Conference (February 13-17) – one of the year´s major forums on information security. In addition, in the first few weeks of 2006, there have already been attacks from two significant viruses – WMF and Blackworm / Kama Sutra – emphasizing the need for early detection and effective countermeasures. Through one of the world´s most technically advanced virus labs and in-depth understanding of the hacker and malware writing community, BitDefender is in the unique position of being able to provide insight into the virus and malware trends.
In 2006, BitDefender sees the following events and trends driving virus threats and antivirus technology:
— Potential bugs in Microsoft´s OneCare security software – With the emergence of Microsoft OneCare in 2006, and the growing number of attacks focused on software security breaches, virus writers will have yet another avenue of attack at their disposal, perhaps one as critical as Internet Explorer is now. BitDefender expects OneCare to be installed on many computers by 2007 – perhaps as many as 10% of the existing Windows installations. A single serious bug in OneCare could trigger a repeat of security problems such as the recent WMF and Witty worm incidents – but on a much larger, catastrophic scale, if users rely solely on it for protection.
— Shift from hackers to criminals – The IT community has been until very recently safe in the knowledge that security companies around the world only have to contend with isolated hackers who do not cooperate formally, out of fear of capture or an unwillingness to share the “fame” that comes with releasing a virus. However, arrests last year in Turkey and the rise in sophisticated money making schemes have not been an isolated incident, but rather a sign of organized crime setting up or hiring teams of “experts”, virus writers, con artists, phishers and spammers. This type of criminally developed malware will make up the vast majority of attacks in 2006.
— Continued increase in malware – In 2005, BitDefender saw a threefold increase in the number of pieces of malware released in the wild over 2004. In the last three months of 2005 alone, BitDefender Labs isolated and classified more than 20,000 pieces of new malware. Most of those 20,000 were not, as one may expect, e-mail viruses, but rather bots and trojans – many deployed as part of more complex attacks, involving targeted spam campaigns, phishing and compromised web servers. The variety of new malware types and attack vectors will only continue to grow in the following years.
— The end of the email virus – The recent Blackworm / Kama Sutra virus not withstanding, bots, trojans and similar malware will continue to quickly replace e-mail virus as the top threat. BitDefender expects that by 2007, the e-mail virus will be almost a thing of the past, to be replaced with the IM virus, trojans and bots.
— Increase in mobile security threats – BitDefender expects an increase in threats to the mobile market as mobile devices become more ubiquitous and with the continued integration of these devices with PCs and the Internet.
— Increase in rootkit malware – The recent developments around the Sony-BMG case spotlight the dramatic increase and potential for damage caused by security flaws in rootkits. BitDefender expects a marked increase in rootkit attacks in 2006.
— Heuristics emerges as the most important malware protection technology – New heuristic automated threat detection technologies, such as the BitDefender´s HiVE engine, will emerge as the best defense against viruses and security threats. BitDefender´s HiVE has already made significant gains in this battle, as seen in reduced reaction time to all major new threats and 100 percent capability in identifying and protecting against viruses in the wild. The two major viruses in January 2006 WMF and Kama Sutra – were both designed well enough to be able to get past antivirus systems that relied on out-of-date digital signature detection methods, but were detected by BitDefender using the industry´s most advanced heuristics capabilities.
— Human factor to become vital to virus detection – Characterizing entirely new types of malware and finding solutions to those threats cannot be handled by technology alone. Manual monitoring of the Internet and in-depth knowledge of the technology and motivations of the hackers and criminal organizations that create malware will become a pre-requisite for finding and reacting to 100 percent of the threats on the Internet. BitDefender is meeting this need by expanding BitDefender Labs with new locations and new analysts and developers.
“BitDefender is committed to offer our customers the absolute best and most innovative security solutions on the market today,” said Bogdan Dumitru, BitDefender CTO. “Speed, reliability, ease-of-use and the knowledge that a security vendor has in-depth knowledge of all security threats and detection methods are the cornerstones of an effective antivirus solution. BitDefender´s solutions have been proven to offer all of these, and we continue to lead the security market in both North America and Europe.”