The major problem with integrity checking is that not enough companies offer comprehensive integrity checking software. However, for viruses that damage system files e. This section will briefly examine the techniques that virus writers use to get around the software and how effective they are in doing so. Fast infecting viruses work similarly to stealth viruses - they rely on being invisible to the virus scanner to infect computers. A sample is automatically uploaded to an analysis center when the system detects virus-like activity. A scanner will search all files in memory, in the boot sector the sector on disk that specifies where boot information is, and on disk for code snippets that will uniquely identify a file as a virus. This is seen in polymorphic viruses. Helsinki University of Technology. Unfortunately, virus activity is detected using heuristics, which, as mentioned above, are not totally accurate. However, the virus still needs to infect its first file, and most scanners will block the virus before it can latch onto the virus scanner. With the Internet daily growing larger, it is unlikely that anti-virus software will be able to protect all of the users connected; however, with proper care and attention, people should be able to deal with all but the most unusual viruses.
If not, the file can at least be quarantined so that the viral code will not be executed. The difficulty here is that generic virus detection is inadequate for current and new viruses, and so anti-virus software must be constantly updated with new lists of viruses. Finally, while anti-virus software may become extremely good at sensing virus activity, there are always new security holes to exploit in operating system and networking software that would give viruses another entry point that bypasses the anti-virus software. These centers analyze the virus, and extract a unique string from the virus that will identify it. Nevertheless, the possibility exists that a polymorphic virus will be developed that can evade virus scanners; such a virus would be extremely difficult to contain. Virus scanners repair files by deleting the virus code from the file, which in most cases restores the file to its pre-infected state. How to detect virus-like behavior? Finally, this process is simply rather cumbersome - in today's computers, many important files are changed by as little as booting up and shutting down, so integrity checkers need to be coupled with scanners for maximum efficacy in detecting viruses. This greatly speeds up the time it takes to clean a virus off of a computer, thus greatly decreasing the ability the virus has to infect other computers. This section will briefly examine the techniques that virus writers use to get around the software and how effective they are in doing so. Many software packages have this as an option, although most people usually disable it. Fast infecting viruses work similarly to stealth viruses - they rely on being invisible to the virus scanner to infect computers. Network Associates has a similar process in its VirusScan software. If the virus matches a known virus, then a vaccine is downloaded to the infected computer and the software cleans it out. Many viruses will perform some suspicious action, like relocating themselves in memory and installing themselves as resident programs. Interception software detects virus-like behavior and warns the user about it. Many copies of anti-virus software are unable to detect even old viruses, because end users frequently forget or simply don't update their virus scanner's virus databases until it's too late. On-access scanning has become more aggressive recently, with virus scans occurring even if files are selected, but not loaded. Simpler integrity checkers won't be able to differentiate between damage done via corruption and damage done via a virus, thus giving the user unclear information as to what's going on. Anti-virus software makers develop a set of rules to distinguish viruses from non-viruses. In addition, the potential for false alarms and not detecting a known virus is greater with heuristic checkers than with scanners. On-access scanning scans files when they are loaded into memory prior to execution. On-access scanners aren't free of troubles, either - some consume too many resources, so many users are tempted to disable them if they're on a slower machine. A sample is automatically uploaded to an analysis center when the system detects virus-like activity. This is an extensive process, and few virus checkers today utilize it. Smarter viruses then try to install themselves underneath the anti-virus software, leading to a battle over the interrupt handlers and system problems as no one is allowed access to the interrupt handlers.
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