Microsoft has just snared a U.S. patent for proactive virus protection, which is how security software helps secure your PC when it encounters shape-shifting malware not already in its antivirus definition file. What I want to know is, what does this mean for all the other vendors -- like McAfee,Symantec, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro -- that have been selling proactive protection software for years? Do they now have to pay Microsoft protection; I mean, royalties?
Marinescu's patent: "The current anti-virus software protection paradigm is a reactionary system; i.e., the anti-virus software is updated to protect a computer from malware only after the malware is released. Unfortunately, this means that at least some computers will be infected before anti-virus software is updated. . .
A substantial portion if not almost all unknown malware that exploits computer vulnerabilities are rewrites of previously released malware. Indeed, encountering absolutely novel malware is relatively rare. However, due to the pattern matching system employed by current anti-virus systems, it is not difficult to rehash/rewrite known malware such that the malware will get past the protection provided by anti-virus software.
In light of the above-identified problems, it would be beneficial to computer users, both in terms of computer security and in terms of cost-effectiveness, to have anti-virus software that proactively protects a computer against rewritten, or reorganized, malware designed for operating systems that make API calls. The present invention is directed to providing such software."