During the past two decades malware has evolved significantly and has continuously raised the bar in terms of sophistication and pervasiveness. First generation threats, such as computer viruses, became a mainstream issue with the widespread proliferation of email. Viruses and computer worms were very noisy and spreading widely while attempting to bring down systems. Users have been relying on malware defense mechanisms built on top of a constantly updated list of signatures to combat such first generation threats. The challenge is to keep the list of malicious code up to date.
While this traditional model worked in the early days, we have reached its limits due to the associated time lag and sharp increase in the number and variants of malware. This change in threat landscape requires rethinking of our defense mechanisms. The shift from thinking of “how to prevent the bad guys” to “how to enable the good guys” builds the foundation of this important evolution.
Financial motives will continue to drive this evolution, and there is still much ahead. The imminent convergence of data and voice will be the next frontier for criminals and malware. The same principles apply, and the transition from blocking bad to enabling good will provide the security, privacy, and availability we take for granted today.