Why Didn't Your Anti Virus Software Stop Spam and Infections?

Posted by Sean Kline on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 @ 03:10 PM

So you read "My ISP Gives Me An Antivirus Software Product. Why Do I Need Another?", selected the right anti virus solution and now you are wondering why didn't your anti virus software stop spam and infections?  Why did a particular computer in your office get infected?

your anti virus

These are questions that we often receive and it requires some unpacking, so to speak.  Unless you have a built in anti spam feature with your anti virus software, it will not stop spam.  Even with a built in anti spam feature, most of the time, it will take continuous tweaking to get it right. 

Onto the problem of false negatives (i.e. anti virus software not catching a threat)...there are a couple of scenarios in which an an anti virus package will let an infection through:

Anti virus DAT Files Updated and Engine Outdated

The anti virus DAT files are those which contains specific information about virus threats. A threat will get through if the anti virus DAT files are updated, but the engine is outdated and has not been renewed.  When you purchase anti virus software, it comes with free upgrades as long as you stay license compliant.  Unfortunately, license renewals sometimes fall through the cracks.  This is why it is important to have an automated system to track license renewals (not only for security software) that manages this whether it is used internally or by your IT Managed Services provider.

New Viruses

The other problem that often arises is that hackers and those with malicious intent are constantly innovating ways to penetrate perimeter security defenses.  It is essential that servers and PCs poll for updates every couple of hours (or if not, at least every night).

A good solution for spam filtering is to use a hosted spam filtering company so that all of your incoming mail is scrubbed before delivery.

What are your most troublesome virus and spam issues?

Key Takeaways:

  • Unless you have a built in anti spam feature with your anti virus software, it will not stop spam
  • When you purchase anti virus software, it comes with free upgrades as long as you stay license compliant
  • Consider a hosted anti spam provider

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Topics: Anti-virus, Security

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