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    Malware threats have undergone many, many stages of evolution over the years. First it was DOS viruses, then macro viruses, then mass-mailers, then botnets, then Web threats… the only constants seem to be that these are growing both in number and in danger.

    TrendLabs has seen this continued growth of malware. The effects on users is clear: in the first six months of 2008, the Trend Micro World Virus Tracking Center (WTC) recorded that 253.4 million systems were infected with malware. The comparable volume for 2009 is almost double at 491.2 million.

    While not a welcome development, this wasn’t unexpected either. The official 2009 Trend Micro forecast pointed out that malware threats had been growing for years, and 2009 was going to see more of the same.

    It’s not just limited to Trend Micro, either. has released their findings for the first half of the year recently, and the charts present a rather worrying picture:

    Click for larger view
    Figure 1: Total AV-Test Unique Samples

    Click for larger view
    Figure 2: New AV-Test Unique Samples

    With more than a million new samples being seen every month, it’s likely that the overall number of unique samples will grow beyond 30 million. That should clearly illustrate the scale of the malware threat.

    As the threat continues to grow, so will the system resources needed to protect users from it. How else can users cope up with this threat growth? In my years of experience managing malware signatures, I believe that the only way to go is in the cloud because that’s how we can effectively take the conventional anti-malware protection approach and place malware definitions in the cloud to reduce the impact of repeated, increasing pattern delivery on a customer’s network. Likewise, other benefits made evident by this move are:

    1. Each client is a part of a real-time global protection network.
    2. When the network detects an Internet security threat on behalf of any one participant in the network, all participants are automatically and immediately protected.
    3. All devices that connect to the Internet are protected. This protection complements your existing antivirus security solution.
    4. There’s correlation among the global protection network.

    As a result, users are protected from threats more quickly.

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