The Community Banker - Fall 2017

The Comm unity Banker 20 Should You Be Anti Anti-Virus? B A N K B Y T E S By Ty Purcell, Security and Compliance Consultant, Conetrix ecently I took my five year old daughter to the doctor for a general wellness check-up and her dreaded kindergarten immuniza- tions. They were the standard immunizations children receive at various points in life. When the nurse was finished, she mentioned that we both needed to get the flu vaccine in a couple of months. I began to think about the flu vaccine. Each fall we hear about it from media, doctors, and pharmacies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states that the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine is designed to protect against the three or four influenza viruses research indicates are most likely to spread and cause illness among people during the upcoming flu season. Some years the flu vaccine is very effective since the prediction of flu viruses that would be circulating was right. However, other years the vaccine is not effective at all, resulting in flu outbreaks across the country. I have had multiple customers ask recently if antivi- rus software is necessary. This is a difficult question that must be carefully answered. Antivirus software originated in the late 1980’s. Since then, the antivi- rus industry has exploded both in size and amount of revenue generated. The number of malicious programs detected has also exploded with many an- tivirus vendors estimating that over 100 million new malicious programs were discovered in 2016. How Antivirus Works Typical antivirus software contains many programs that make up a “suite” of functionality such as host intrusion detection/prevention, web and email filter- ing and host-based firewalls. This article focuses on the basic function of antivirus software; analyzing executable files to determine if they are malicious. There are several ways to determine if an executable file is up to no good. Over the last twenty years the predominant method has been to compare the file to a dictionary of known “definitions” of malicious executables to see if it matches a definition or comes close to one. R ?