Malware detection erratic as 2014 brings new threats: eThreatz testing

Malware authors continued to outpace malware-detecting companies in the first half of 2014, according to eThreatz Automated Malware testing that showed some malware scanning tools were missing up to 83 per cent of the threats with which they were presented.

Nearly all of the eight popular security platforms tested under the Enex TestLab eThreatz program – which runs eight major malware-detection packages against a random sample of 33 different malware threats – showed inconsistent results over the first six months of this year.

Microsoft turned in the lowest results, detecting just 17 per cent of the malware thrown at it in February – a month in which rival eSet turned in the first-half record of 95 per cent detection.

Other rivals were also struggling in February, however: McAfee hit a first-half low of 54 per cent, as did Sophos (40 per cent), Trend Micro (39 per cent), Kaspersky (36 per cent), and Symantec (34 per cent).

That month, Panda turned in its second-highest rating, detecting 77 per cent of malware – a figure it only bettered in April, when it detected 80 per cent of seeded malware.

The surge in undetectable malware was correlated with a spike in malware activity, as reported by Cisco Systems' monthly Threat Metrics analysis.

That company noted a 10 per cent surge in malware encounter rates for Web surfers, to 1 in 341 requests – although February 8, 9 and 16 saw risks explode to 1:244, 1:261 and 1:269. Java-based malware jumped from 4 per cent of all malware to 9 per cent, with versions of Java older than v6 jumping from 13 per cent in January to 33 per cent of Java malware in February.

Cisco reported an increase in vertical-industry risk ratings during February, with media and publishing companies' risk jumping to 417 per cent of baseline and utilities (218 per cent) and insurance (153 per cent) also surging.

January testing of eight popular security platforms found a large spread between the most effective platform – eSet, which detected 90 per cent of threats set to it – and the least, which were those from Microsoft and Panda with just 55 per cent accuracy.

Large gaps between leaders and laggards were also observed in February (95 per cent vs 17 per cent), April (89 per cent vs 38 per cent), May (92 per cent vs 36 per cent), and June (94 per cent vs 37 per cent) – confirming massive differences in efficacy between the technologies.

The eSet security platform proved to be the most successful in detecting malware overall during the first half, detecting an average of 92 per cent while Microsoft was least successful, at 44 per cent.

It all reflects the challenges of what some are calling the scariest year yet for digital security – and the erratic performance of the leading security platforms continues to confirm that the battle against malware remains a moving feast.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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Tags eThreatz testingmalware

More about CiscoCiscoCSOEnex TestLabKasperskyMcAfee AustraliaMicrosoftPandaSophosSymantecTrend Micro Australia

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