Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?

Do you know that antivirus software cannot detect and remove new computer viruses until the makers of the antivirus software get a hold of the new viruses and generate signatures for them? A virus signature is used by an antivirus software to identify a virus or a family of viruses. It is similar to scientists finding a cure for a biological virus. Some persons believe that because they have an antivirus software installed on their computers they are fully protected from viruses.

Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?

If a new computer virus, unknown to your anti-virus software, starts spreading on the internet and you are unlucky enough to infect your computer with this new virus, your antivirus software will not be able to identify and protect you against it. This new virus can infect millions of computers around the world and cause billions of dollars of damages before it is detected by any of the antivirus software makers. So, it is important for the antivirus software makers to monitor the internet closely and frequently to detect any new threats as quickly as possible.

After a virus is found, a signature is created and tested, which is then used to identify the virus or any family of that virus. The antivirus software makers will then make the new virus signature available for download for your antivirus software via the internet. Once your antivirus software downloads this new signature it will be able to detect and remove that new virus. This is why it is important that your antivirus software updates itself frequently via the internet.

The virus detection method that I have mentioned above is called the “Dictionary Approach” and is the most popular and effective way of detecting known computer viruses. There is another method called “Heuristic Analysis” which can be used to detect new unknown computer viruses but is not 100% accurate. It may generate false alarms or false positives because its detection is based on behavioral patterns, various decision rules or weighing methods, therefore, it will not detect all new unknown viruses.

Having an antivirus software installed on your computer doesn’t mean that you should browse the internet recklessly. You should still exercise caution when downloading files from the internet and opening email attachments. Ensure that you are downloading files from trusted sources, browsing trusted websites and opening only expected email attachments.

Antivirus software is still very important because they protect you from the thousands of viruses and malicious programs that have already been discovered. But, do not think that you are 100% safe with one installed on your computer.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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December 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM by
Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?
an anonymous user from: Arvika, Varmland County, Sweden

Your post about antivirus is not entirely correct. Herustic and behavioral analysis of zero-day treaths is indeed a key element in ALL antivirus vendors today, though not all score top points in AV tests. One who does is Bitdefender, who btw on your own site have an advertisement banner with the following content when clicking on it:

"Zero-day or unknown malware routinely eludes traditional AV/antimalware defenses. These cyber-attacks disrupt businesses, costing them time and money or compromising sensitive data.

By their very nature, AV signatures cannot stop unknown threats. New and established security vendors claim their ‘next-generation’ solutions use signature-less detection based on revolutionary technologies like machine learning to catch zero-days. Despite the alluring stories and buzzwords, the efficiency of these solutions is anecdotal and rarely backed by trustworthy independent sources.

Unlike alternative solutions, Bitdefender consistently proves the efficiency of its signature-less technologies in the most important independent tests, blocking 99% of zero-day threats in the AV-Comparatives heuristic/behavioral trials. Besides achieving the best detection rates against zero-day threats, Bitdefender also routinely scores the lowest number of false positives.

Bitdefender’s new anti-exploit protection is designed to tackle evasive exploits, to help reduce the APT attack surface and minimize the risk of being targeted. The technology works by zooming in on potentially vulnerable software and running a structural analysis during key execution points. If an anomaly is detected, admins can choose to automatically block the execution or to simply be notified. With this additional feature, advanced attacks are stopped before the payload actually reaches the infrastructure, thus greatly increasing the costs of attacks for targeted threat actors"

With such antivirus vendor a second on-demand AV like Malewarebytes a very good firewall browser ad-ons as Bitdefender TrafficLight and Virus Total online scan tool, you are very well protected to surf the web.


April 6, 2013 at 9:18 PM by
Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?
an anonymous user from: Kingston, Jamaica

You are right. I do browse the internet recklessly sometimes because I know I have a good antivirus. I didn't know that they couldn't detect new viruses without creating a signature. Thanks for the information.


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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Did You Know Antivirus Software Cannot Detect and Remove New Viruses?