Security News

On this page you will find links to selected IT-security related news articles from various sources, including news from conferences and some test results. Posts in this category might be written by externals and students. If you find some interesting news, please let us know!

The balance between performance (low speed-impact) and real-time detection

security

In the past, a common complaint about antivirus programs was that they had a major impact on system performance, i.e. made the PC run more slowly in everyday use. Nowadays, anti-virus products use different optimization techniques to reduce system impact and disruption of everyday tasks.

In this blog post we want to answer the question as to whether any of the performance-enhancing measures taken by anti-virus vendors might have an impact on products’ ability to detect malware under some circumstances. To this end, we checked whether anti-virus products consistently detect malware in specific scenarios.

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AV-Comparatives tests Anti-Virus Software protection against the Hermetic Wiper malware

Hermetic wiper malware

Austrian IT-security testing lab AV-Comparatives has tested protection against the recently-emerged Hermetic Wiper malware.  

The data-wiping malware has been used in international targeted attacks. Its aim is not to steal money or data, but simply to make victims’ computers unusable. To do this, it abuses the services of a legitimate company that makes disk partitioning software. This type of utility can create, modify and delete the data storage areas (partitions) of a computer’s system disk. Hermetic Wiper makes (unauthorised) use of this useful utility program to corrupt the system disk’s boot information, meaning that the computer cannot start up. The malware then overwrites the partitions on the disk, making the data on them unreadable, even if the disk is transferred to an uninfected computer.  

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Why you should never have multiple antivirus programs on your computer

security

Life is often about multiplicity. The more the merrier. Two heads are better than one. Strength in numbers. You get the idea. But when it comes to antivirus, it’s more a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.

We often hear from users who assumed that installing multiple antivirus solutions on their computer would improve their chances of detecting any malicious files before they do any damage. However, while it is a good idea to have multiple complimentary security products in place if you take your security seriously, this doesn’t extend to multiple full antivirus solutions. Having several antivirus products in place won’t do much to improve your machine’s security – in fact it’s likely to cause you some serious problems.

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Upcoming AV-Comparatives’ Certification Tests 2022

Anti-virus test

As in previous years, we will be running certification tests for the following products:

We also offer various enterprise security tests and penetration tests.

Security vendors interested in any of above tests are invited to contact us by the 31st of March 2022.

Mac vs Windows: is Apple really more secure? 

security

Mac or Windows? It feels like we’ve been debating over this for most part of the modern decade. Remember Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign in 2006, where a personified Mac and Windows PC argued about who was the best operating system? Both companies have long been waging such marketing campaigns against each other to influence users.

It’s mostly down to personal preference, and we won’t weigh in. But one thing that does need to be taken out of the debate is cyber security.

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Norton and Avira Ethereum Mining: Why Are AV Vendors Offering Crypto Services?

security

Avira and Norton are now offering customers the ability to mine cryptocurrency – for a fee.

Both AV vendors have introduced a new service which can mine Ethereum whenever a user’s computer is sitting idle. Customers will then be able to deposit any Ether their computer has mined into their own crypto wallet after giving NortonLifeLock, owner of both Avira and Norton, a 15% share of the proceeds. The crypto-mining services offered by both vendors are very similar, with the same rules applying to both Avira Crypto and Norton Crypto.

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AV-Comparatives Explains the Implications of Takeovers in the IT-Security Industry

security

In recent years, there have been many acquisitions of security software manufacturers. This article considers the implications of such takeovers, with regard to cybersecurity, consumer choice and other factors. AV-Comparatives notes that their test results can help uncover any technical changes resulting from AV-vendor acquisitions.

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AV-Comparatives welcome UK guidelines on auto-renewal by antivirus vendors

security

The UK Government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published guidelines for antivirus software vendors with regard to auto-renewal of subscriptions. These Compliance Principles advise security software vendors who sell to UK consumers how to avoid falling foul of British consumer protection laws. Austrian AV test lab AV-Comparatives supports the principles behind the CMA guidelines. 

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VirusBulletin VB2021 virtual conference is taking place on 7th and 8th October

AV-Comparatives is sponsoring this year’s VirusBulletin VB2021 online security conference. This is being held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event allows IT-security experts from around the world to exchange ideas on the globally relevant subject of cybersecurity. The conference is taking place on the 7th and 8th of October 2021, and registration is free: https://vblocalhost.com/registration/  

The program of live events includes presentations on threat actors in the Middle East and Africa, protection against kernel-mode rootkits, “insider” targeted attacks, threats affecting Hybrid Active Directory, malware targeting Internet Information Services, the use of Apple’s Endpoint Security framework, and malware that targets the Apple Silicon M1 processor. In addition, a number of other presentations can be streamed on demand during the conference. The full conference program can be found here: https://vblocalhost.com/programme/  

AV-Comparatives will be attending the conference, and virtual meetings with us can be arranged during the two days. Participants wishing to do so can contact us using the form on our website.