Why doesn't 1 AV do it all?

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Bascotie

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Sep 20, 2009
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I've often pondered why a company cannot make 1 Anti-virus product that removes 'everything'. I often tell my customers that it may be because:

1) A virus removal program with the definitions for EVERYTHING might significantly slow down the computer (but not sure about this)

and

2) There may just not be the manpower required to protect against every type of malware out there.

If anyone knows the real answer, I'd love to know! Thanks!
 

blues_harp28

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Many hundreds of pieces of Malware are created each day.
The anti-virus companies work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just to keep up.
But they have to see the Malware - to be able to write new definition files to block it.
They are playing catch up all the time.

What one program may miss - another AV program will find [hopefully]
 

Bascotie

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My next question is.. why do certain AV companies protect against certain viruses (big viruses, not just small ones) when others dont?
 
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I think it depends on what viruses they manage to get their hands on. They have to first capture the virus, then analyse it, then develop a signature for it.
 

Snagglegaster

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Bascotie, essentially you are just asking "why isn't any product perfect?" and I think there's no point in belaboring the obvious answer. Since people don't write perfect software, that means that there are significant differences in performance between different programs.

However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of information sharing between AV vendors. The Anti-Virus Product Developers Consortium is nearly 20 years old now. One of the things the organization does is function as a clearing house for members to share malware information. In fact, the consortium requires a member company that discovers a new virus to make the information available to the consortium within 24 hours. Of course, when that information is included in a given product, and how effective said product is at detection, removal, and prevention is a whole different ballgame. That just gets back to "no perfect products".

Also, one of the problems with deciding whether or some bit of malware is detected by a program or not, is simply a matter of nomenclature. This means that multiple AV vendors may each have their own name for the same or similar bugs. Virtually every AV company has some standard in-house method of naming bugs, and nobody is compelled to use identical names. Sometimes, you find something like the Zeus Trojan that has widespread commonality in naming, and sometimes, the same bug has a dozen different names.
 
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