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Communications of the ACM


Hidden Malware Ratchets Up Cybersecurity Risks

pop-up alert stating 'That's totally not a virus, Don't tell your sysadmin'

Credit: Local_Doctor / Shutterstock

The ability to peer into computing devices and spot malware has become nothing less than critical. Every day, in every corner of the world, cybersecurity software from an array of vendors scans systems in search of tiny pieces of code that could do damage—and, in a worst-case scenario, destroy an entire business.

Most of these programs work in a fairly predictable way. They look for code signatures—think of it as the DNA of malware—and when they find a match, they attempt to isolate or delete the malware. In most cases, the approach works, and the software keeps smartphones, personal computers, and networks reasonably secure.


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