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Resources | Common clichés in the antivirus world

There is no 'magic bullet' in computer security...
Listen to this advice (MP3) Experts usually receive good media exposure when antivirus software fails to protect users from a virus. Sometimes, though, they receive bad publicity. If a congressman puts experts on the hotseat, for example, the experts will say "there is no 'magic bullet' in computer security."

Oddly, though, the world's computing desire hasn't faltered after 18 years and 80,000+ viruses. We went right back to normal after Columbus Day, after Michelangelo, after Hare, after Melissa, after Chernobyl, after ExploreZip, after MiniZip, after BubbleBoy, after Y2K viruses, after ILoveYou, after NewLove, after KillerRésumé, after Kournikova, after NakedWife, after HomePage, after Code Red, after Code Red II, after Nimda, after Goner, after Slammer, after Blaster, after MyDoom, after Netsky, and after Sasser.

This leads us to ask two questions. First, how did we survive this long if there's no magic bullet? Second -- and more important -- why do so many antivirus vendors' advertisements say they can solve all of our virus problems?

Virus writers are always one step ahead of the antivirus experts...
Listen to this advice (MP3) Experts claim the average teenage virus writer is "always one step ahead" of the entire global antivirus brain trust. Yet the overwhelming majority of virus writers qualify as poor-to-mediocre "wannabees." They rely almost exclusively on someone else's work -- usually the work of another poor-to-mediocre wannabee. Rather than break new ground, virus writers typically make trivial changes to someone else's virus and call it their own. "Outright plagiarism" does not keep virus writers one step ahead of antivirus experts.
The number of new viruses is increasing at an alarming rate...
Listen to this advice (MP3) Reporters often ask virus experts to talk about the number of new viruses seen each year. They whip out "sobering" charts & graphs showing a "horrendous" increase of new viruses over the last decade. These charts predict "exponential" future growth with bleak prospects. "We've got x thousand viruses already," the experts moan, "and the number of new viruses is increasing an alarming rate."
This virus should serve as a wake-up call...
Listen to this advice (MP3) Experts and high-ranking political officials love to use the "wake-up call" cliché when they talk about a high-profile computer security incident. Of course, when the media circus dies down, users hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.
This virus could have been sooo much worse...
Listen to this advice (MP3) Experts get a lot of media exposure whenever antivirus software fails to stop the spread of a new virus. These experts will often wipe their brow on TV and say "it's amazing this virus was only as deadly as it was. Why, it could have been sooo much worse..."

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