1. Diversity of threats
Today there are many types of threats that we find spreading and affecting users. Although the term «antivirus» was coined in the collective subconscious, these types of tools have evolved from detecting only computer viruses to becoming complete security solutions, providing many other functionalities such as firewalls, anti-spam and anti-phishing filters or memory scanning, among others, which provide comprehensive protection to the system and allow you to browse safely in the current context of threats.
2. Variety in the way it spreads
Without a doubt, the use of Social Engineering is one of the main mechanisms used by attackers to spread their threats, and many times user interaction is required for them to execute a file, open a document or download something to their mobile device. From there, the infection begins.
However, this is not the only thing that attackers use, as there are techniques that do not require a user to interact with the threat for it to install. For example, injecting an iframe into a vulnerable website can lead to an attacker installing something on the user’s device without them noticing what is happening. But a security solution will detect this malicious behavio.
3. Growth in the number of detections
A few years ago, when I started working at ESET, we talked about the fact that on average around 200,000 different samples were processed every day; by the end of 2016 this number was close to 300,000. This is without forgetting that ESET alone releases updates of several thousand signatures for malware targeting Windows every few days.
If we add to this the fact that everything we see in ESET is not the only thing that can happen in the cyber-crime ecosystem, these numbers may be even higher.
4. Vulnerable technologies provide room for different threats
Computer threats not only exploit bugs and vulnerabilities in particular versions of an operating system, they also do so in applications, which opens the possibility of infection regardless of the version of the operating system used. In addition, the variety of languages used by attackers extends their possibilities of affecting systems: from compiled languages to scripting are used to attack various platforms.
5. Affected platforms
Without a doubt, the majority of malicious code is focused on affecting Windows operating systems, but it is becoming increasingly common to find threats to other systems such as Mac OS X or Linux, even though many still believe in their invulnerability. There is even malware for mobile systems such as Android or iOS, so it is time to understand that there are no platforms that are risk-free.
6. Concentration of threats
It is a fact that a security solution will not stop all the attacks that a user may fall victim to, but it will serve to prevent infection in the vast majority of cases. Considering the increase in the amount of malicious code circulating, it is important not to leave protection to chance.
7. Use of the device
The use given to the device is fundamental to prevent an infection. When it is shared, the chances of becoming the victim of a cyber-criminal are increased;
Beyond the discussion of who you should lend your phone to or not, someone gaining control for a moment could execute something malicious by mistake or ignorance. And if we’re talking about unknown people, the possibility increases and includes the potential intention to do harm.
It is true that having a security solution is not enough. Ensuring that we are safe goes beyond just having an antivirus installed: Knowing the threats and how they spread, as well as making appropriate use of technology, mainly by keeping operating systems and applications updated, helps provide real protection against all types of threats.
Some people say that having an antivirus installed extends the possibility of an attacker attacking a system, because they could take advantage of the vulnerabilities of these tools. And to a certain extent they are right: installing a new application on the system extends the attack surface. But, in this particular case, there are many more threats it helps prevent than those it could cause. Moreover, if we are talking about a product backed by a reliable security company with a track record in the market (that’s right, I was also thinking about ESET) these problems are solved very quickly, preventing an attacker from taking advantage.