After the worst month in history for Internet infections, here's some good news. If you use one of the most popular antivirus programs and keep it updated, nearly 100 percent of the known computer bugs can be detected and squashed.

The bad news is that it won't matter. Some infections will spread so fast that users won't be able to update their virus definitions in time to avoid calamity, experts say.

Even so, security companies are constantly improving their antivirus programs. Many analysts predict that it won't be long before consumers spend more on security than they do on computer hardware.

Malware - malicious software or files created to do harm - and new worms built in the models of Blaster and Slammer are attacking with increasing speed.

These lightning-quick "flash threats" are reason for worry. Of the systems that the Slammer worm hit earlier this year, 90 percent were struck within 10 minutes of its release.

And the frenetic traffic they can generate can cripple communications. At its height in August, the Sobig-F worm was responsible for as much as 73 percent of all e-mail flying across the Net, some estimates say.

"Such threats require entirely new proactive systems to stop them, as no entirely reactive infrastructure will ever be fast enough to protect against threats spreading at these speeds," John Schwarz, president of Symantec Corp., told a congressional subcommittee last month. The next major Internet infection, he said, may take only seconds to install itself in every available unprotected computer.

That's fatalistic talk from a guy whose company makes Norton Antivirus, one of the top sellers in an expanding industry.

source: buffalonews

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