Types of advanced malware protection
Traditional antivirus (AV) software relies heavily upon detecting the signature, or binary pattern, of a virus to identify and prevent damage from malware. But most malware authors stay a step ahead of such software by writing oligomorphic, polymorphic, and more recently metamorphic viruses, which use obfuscation techniques such as encrypting parts of themselves or otherwise modify themselves so as to not match virus signatures in the antivirus database.
Endpoint security that employs advanced malware protection blocks known malware exploits accurately and efficiently without being solely dependent on signatures. Conversely, legacy AV solutions can be blind to malware in zip and other formats, as well as fileless malware, and fail to catch advanced threats.
Around 2013, the security industry's focus began to shift toward signature-less approaches to antivirus protection. Traditional antivirus solutions may struggle to accurately detect low-prevalence threats. But endpoint security that employs continuous monitoring of all file activity results in faster detection of new threats.
New antivirus capabilities were developed to detect and mitigate zero-day attacks and other, more sophisticated malware. Some of these next-generation capabilities include:
- Behavior-based malware detection, which builds a full context around every process execution path in real time
- Machine learning models, which identify patterns that match known malware characteristics and other various forms of artificial intelligence
More effective response methods are now found in advanced malware protection solutions, such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) and—more recently—extended detection and response (XDR) tools. Unlike traditional endpoint security, advanced malware protection solutions also provide retrospective security that rapidly contains the threat at the first sign of malicious behavior.
Legacy antivirus deployments often require complex configuration and management. Advanced malware protection solutions provide prevention, detection, and response all in one solution and are generally highly automated. Their built-in, open platforms enable much simpler and more efficient workflows.