2015 Recap: What happened in the Internet security scene and at Emsisoft

2015 Recap: What happened in the Internet security scene and at Emsisoft

A letter from our CEO, Christian Mairoll:

When I started out collecting facts for this 2015 Recap, I had a look at last year’s edition. A frightening experience, like a deja-vu suddenly hit me: All major threats described in the 2014 Recap are still valid and very current for this year too, just the numbers have slightly shifted.

2015 – at the malware protection front:

  • Threats and attacks increased in numbers as usual, but there are some general trends becoming more and more visible. Malware separates in two big groups:zomb_f2The first one is the “we want to convert your computer into a zombie and sell its computing power”-group. You typically won’t see any particularly different behavior from your computer when it gets infected. The malware sits quietly and well hidden in the core of your operating system and waits patiently for commands from its master. Common commands are e.g. orchestrated DDoS attacks together with tens of thousands of other infected computers to bring down a specific website or service; or using the hardware/computing power to send spam emails or mine Bitcoins. But here’s the good news: Several independent antivirus testing labs again confirmed that Emsisoft strengthened its place in the top league of providing efficient protection from all these threats.zomb_ransomThe second group of actors in today’s threat landscape is the “we will encrypt your data and sell you back the encryption password for a ransom”-group. Crypto ransomware authors became smarter, making less coding mistakes than before. Our lab was able to create decrypters for many common ransomware families last year, but the passwords of the latest families became near impossible to crack, as they are stored on (hacked) webservers that are usually not accessible for our research team. Though, on the positive side, our protection capabilities against crypto ransomware improved significantly throughout the year and we’ve made a name for being experts when it comes to ransomware. See how it’s done right: Emsisoft’s behavior blocker vs. 20 common crypto ransomware families.
  • Viruses are now officially to be considered dead – until further notice. Our research in the most spread malware categories earlier this year revealed that only 0.2% of the total infections happen to be from viruses. A much bigger group of 14% Trojans/Backdoors/Bots/Rootkits is only topped by the 79% Potentially Unwanted Programs. These programs, often referred to as PUPs or PUAs, are not malware from a legal point of view, but are usually misleading and tricking users into bad purchases or slow down the computer with plenty of extra ads.150314_antipup_typesofinfections
    Emsisoft earned a reputation of being one of only a few anti-malware protection software providers who keep honest and ethical business principles high. Our research article “Has the antivirus industry gone mad?” caused a great stir when we revealed that 7 out of 8 tested antivirus products come with unwanted bundles in 2015.

2015 – at Emsisoft

  • Growth and money isn’t why we do what we do. From the start – 12 years ago – Emsisoft grew organically without any external funding and has by now reached a team size of 30. From being the underdog in the industry that nobody knows, we managed to become a respected small sized member of the industry who performs consistently well in independent tests such as conducted by AV-Comparatives and VirusBulletin’s VB100.

    Emsisoft team members and local representatives 2015

    The 100% virtual structure of the company helps us to serve customers across all time zones. We are a truly international and multi-cultural team, working together as we would if we were in the same office. Instead of creating another short-living tech stock we aim for building from the ground up a solid long-term company that provides the best customer support possible.

  • Major releases this year were plentiful. In May, Emsisoft Anti-Malware 10 and Emsisoft Internet Security 10 were released. They both came with serious scanning speed improvements. Version 10 series also shows that we’re serious about protecting your data and your privacy. We have created a new settings panel that provides access to various software options that may have an impact on your privacy. With Emsisoft Emergency Kit 10 we released the fastest portable dual-engine malware cleaning toolset on the market. It’s the ideal second opinion scanner and free of charge for private use.release_logo_10thumb_v11beta Just a few weeks ago, we have announced the availability of Emsisoft Anti-Malware & Emsisoft Internet Security 11. They mark a leap in protection technology and are not only the first native x64 editions of our software but also come with heavily improved behavior detection of ransomware and other current threats.
  • Windows 10 was big in the news in 2015. Microsoft broke with their old habits and changed the Windows platform to a product-as-a-service model, which means the system doesn’t get outdated anymore. Just like with Emsisoft, you will always receive the latest software version via online updates, which is great for security. All the included cloud connections come at a price though: Privacy. Earlier this year we have analyzed the potential impacts of Windows 10 on your privacy.

Outlook on 2016:

  • It may sound a bit boring, but next year we plan to do what we always did: Improve the protection level, make the product smarter and less intrusive, improve speed and reduce resource usage. We expect that exploits and ransomware will most likely continue to be the top threats, requring special attention.
  • Another item high on our priority list is participating in even more independent tests to get as much feedback as possible on how to further improve our technology.
  • We also plan to increase our efforts in building protection software for small- and medium-sized businesses and establish a world-wide network of local representatives so we get closer to you.

Rest assured, we don’t intend to rest on our success but continue to do whatever is necessary to keep hackers out of your computer!

 

Have a great and malware-free 2016!

 

  • Keep up the good work :)

  • Chiron

    Impressive, I’ll admit to it. Pity that I won’t be able to profit from your work any longer, as I’ll still keep riding the old XP horse and as such won’t have any use for an insurance on those new, short-living jet-propelled cars :-(

    • Chiron

      All right, it’s done: in a few days my associates and I shall remove Emsisoft from our systems and install Webroot instead.
      It was no easy decision, but the only alternative we were left with was to drop a familiar and functional Windows XP we had worked on for years to get it properly tamed and trimmed, for some new little known and allegedly quite privacy-invasive OS. An alternative we definitely couldn’t afford.
      I feel way sadder than I had expected though: following to this decision I’ll be just buying a service, not be part of something I feel at ease with. The new malware protector will just scan our computers, not write utterly interesting (if now and then contradictory) articles about the latest security issues, nor give me an opportunity to say my piece if and when I feel like it, nor offer appreciated advice.
      But such is life. A malware software doesn’t need a face, doesn’t have be a friend, it’s more like an insurance you pay for but hope you’ll never really need. So who cares about its name as long as you’re reasonably persuaded that if the need arises they will comply.
      Nevertheless I keep feeling damn sad. I’m not sure whether for myself, or for Emsisoft, or for the illusions I had allowed myself to cuddle as I first run into them :-(

  • keks

    you best.очень сильно люблю ваш продукт и очень рад что вы радуете новыми возможностями в сфере безопасности. было бы не плохо если бы вы добавили плагины в браузеры о репутации сайтов.и это был бы большой шаг для привлечения ещё большей аудитории новых пользователей.

    • Роман

      Зачем? Все работает на уровне драйвера. А плагин в браузер это лишняя нагрузка.

  • Glenn Dunbar

    SEE? OTHER PEOPLE STILL USE XP!!! ARE THEY UNETHICAL? WE HAVE OTHER METHODS OF PROTECTING OUR OS’s I USE &, 8.1, ANS XP. WITHOUT YOUR HELP.

    • Sokrates

      Take it easy Glenn, no need to shout. Yes, little surprisingly a lot of us still use XP for it is the last acceptable (won’t say ‘good’) OS provided by Microsoft, preceded and followed by a set of clumsy flops like Vista, Win7, Win8 and now Win10.
      While I understand why MS must keep selling to survive, I can’t see why they prefer wasting loads of money on advertising that sort of gaudy crap rather than on developing a decent product that would sell much easier.
      However we (the stubborn XP-ers) haven’t yet abandoned the hope that some day MS understands that much and gives finally birth to something as acceptable as XP, on 64 bit, discrete, efficient and, last but certainly not least, *supported*.
      While we wait we shall be looking for another way to protect our OS as at Emsisoft they are adamant on ceasing to support XP April this year.
      Chiron (here above) seems to have found a product of his liking – by the way, Chiron, it’s “ANTI-malware software”, the “malware software” comes free without any need to look for it ;-).
      Myself I’m still sniffing around, after all I have three full months to choose the noose I’ll be putting my neck in. Any suggestion?

  • Alisuda Rahmani

    seher gute meine freunden aus Oesterreich